Arts / New play questions ‘creative’ cities

Creative City image

NEW theatre work “Never Trust a Creative City”, created and performed by Emma McManus and Maria White, premiered at Melbourne’s Festival of Live Art in March this year and it’s now in its spiritual home, Canberra.

Described by its creators as “a little bit TED talk, a little bit buddy comedy and a little bit dystopian science fiction”, it’s a 50-minute comedic journey through rising rents, social dislocation, arts-led urban renewal, pop-up galleries and what they call: “really dumb things on the internet”.

McManus and White hope the season at the Gorman Arts Centre will encourage Canberrans to think about the kind of place they want to live in and to consider how gentrification affects not only cities and urban environments but also bodies and behaviours.

McManus grew up in Canberra, left when she was 18 and came back at 28. She believes that combination of familiarity and distance is a good position to view how Canberra has changed.

“It’s an important moment in the city’s history in which to perform our show. It’s a good time to have a think about where we want it to go,” she says.

White says: “Canberra is a very comfortable place to live. We want the audience to sit with things that potentially make them feel uncomfortable and to question where that feeling came from.”

Never Trust a Creative City is presented as a part of Ainslie + Gorman Arts Centres’ 2018 Ralph Indie Program.

“Never Trust a Creative City”, at Ralph Wilson Theatre, Gorman Arts Centre, Braddon, until, May 20. Bookings to


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