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Welcome to debase

Creating brilliant new comedies.

Working in Brisbane and Melbourne; touring nationally and internationally, debase has been producing new shows since 1998.

debase produces a wide range of work for a wide range of audiences; from children’s theatre, to comic drama, to cabaret. For debase, the relationship with our audience is paramount – this is reflected in the way we create and program work with and for specific audiences.

debase employs a highly physical and collaborative approach to developing new work which is strongly influenced by the teaching of Philippe Gaulier and his philosophy that successful performance begins with a sense of play. Working with a vision to enact social change through comic performance, we believe comedy empowers audiences to reflect and critique vital issues.

We are committed to telling Australian stories and challenging our audiences to question stereotypes, history and identity. As demonstrated through shows such as Chasing the Lollyman (Mark Sheppard's exploration of urban Indigenous identity), The Clown from Snowy River (the entire history of Australia told by clowns), Spoilt (an examination of contemporary self-obsession) and Fly-In Fly-Out (a young person's perspective on the mining boom). Debase has built a loyal following in Queensland and Victoria and our shows have tour widely.

debase productions is a not for profit company.

debase in 2014

  • Furze Family Variety Hour  Starring Leon Cain and Helen Cassidy and directed by Bridget Boyle, this is an old-school vaudeville extravaganza with a modern twist! Premiering at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts as part of the Brisbane Festival from 2-7 September 2014.
  • Hurry Up and Wait  is a unique blend of Buster Keaton and Samuel Beckett loaded with exquisite physical comedy. Featuring Liz Skitch and Clint Bolster, this show has delighted 3–8 year olds around the world. "This is a truly happy, fun and intelligent show." ★★★★★ – Broadway Baby, Edinburgh. Hurry up and Wait will be staged in the Family Program of the 2014 Brisbane Festival in the Telstra Spiegeltent.
  • Lily Can't Sleep A charming comedy for children created by comedy duo Liz Skitch and Bridget Boyle for the Out of the Box Festival and Queensland Theatre Company in 2006. Lily Can't Sleep returned for the 2013 Brisbane Festival; Artworx, Toowoomba, February 2014; and is touring in late 2014.
  • Spoilt  Direct from a critically acclaimed season at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Spoilt is written and performed by Liz Skitch and directed by Fiona Scott-Norman. Available for tour in 2015.

Read more about debase productions ...


Furze Family Variety Hour

2–7 September 2014, 8pm nightly
Shopfront, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

Co-produced with the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts
Presented by the 2014 Brisbane Festival

TICKETS: http://www.brisbanefestival.com.au/whats-on/the-furze-family-variety-hour
OR to find out more visit http://judithwrightcentre.com/event/the_furze_family_variety_hour

Meet the Furze Family Variety Artistes! Well, meet Ginger and Red. The others left. Or died. Or became accountants. Nevertheless the show must go on!

Together this brother-and-sister team pull out classic vaudeville routines, put on the old razzle-dazzle (and a lion costume they stole from Cirque de Soleil) and take the audience on a never-to-be-forgotten ride through their dysfunctional relationship.

Acclaimed performers Helen Cassidy and Leon Cain channel Lucille Ball and Jerry Lewis in this postmodern homage to the Golden Age of slapstick comedy. Featuring original music by David Megarrity (Tyrone Shoelaces) and Samuel Vincent, and directed by Bridget Boyle (The Clown from Snowy River, Hurry up and Wait).

Only one thing is certain: there will be pies in faces.

Featuring Helen Cassidy and Leon Cain
Directed by Bridget Boyle
Music by David Megarrity & Sam Vincent.
Sound design by David Megarrity
Design by Josh McIntosh
Lighting by Tim Cummings

Hurry Up and Wait

13–14 September
Telstra Spiegelent, 2014 Brisbane Festival

TICKETS: http://www.brisbanefestival.com.au/whats-on/hurry-up-and-wait

Hurry Up and Wait was originally co-produced with Queensland Theatre Company.

“This is a truly happy, fun and intelligent show.” ★★★★★
Broadway Baby, Edinburgh

A couple of clowns have rushed to town to see the grand circus parade. They find the best spot, right next to the big red clock, the parade will arrive at three o'clock on the dot!

They sit, they wait, they get bored, they get hungry … until their imaginations take over and waiting becomes a game. They dine on food that appears out of thin air, use simple items to create amazing new worlds and discover an entire universe inside a hat!

Hurry Up and Wait is a unique blend of Buster Keaton and Samuel Beckett loaded with exquisite physical comedy. This clown duo (Liz Skitch and Clint Bolster) take the audience to emotional highs and lows as their interminable wait unfolds.

Hurry Up and Wait has delighted children and families around Australia and has toured to Japan and Edinburgh.

Suitable for 3–10 year olds.

“It really is a true indication of the quality of a show when the audience, children and parents alike, are in constant fits of laughter.”Fringe Review, Edinburgh

“Two hugely talented performers”Broadway Baby, Edinburgh

“A magical show, sure to captivate audiences of all ages”Primary Times, Edinburgh

“It was the best show ever. I liked the part where Tally and Shorty had an ice-cream shower.”
– Vivian Lu, age 6, MacGregor State School, Brisbane

Fly-In Fly-Out

A funny and gritty play about growing up in a mining town, dealing with change and serving fried chicken ...

Touring in 2014.

Jenny lives in a small Queensland mining town: she’s almost finished Grade Ten and is struggling to balance school, her part-time jobs, her wayward sister, her relationships, and everyone’s expectations. When the charismatic Seb flies into town, Jenny’s balancing act is thrown into chaos and her world threatens to collapse around her.

Fly-In Fly-Out looks at how families and communities deal with upheaval and how we strive to adapt. The play examines universal themes through the prism of the mining boom and the influx of fly-in fly-out workers into a small community.

From the makers of the critically acclaimed Snagged and Ithaca Road, Fly-In Fly-Out has been developed in consultation with communities and young people throughout Central Queensland. The show is a must see for audiences of all ages and begins the conversation about what communities can do to develop resilience in the face of change.

Written by Robert Kronk with Howard Cassidy
Director: Howard Cassidy
Featuring: Peter Cossar, Toby Martin, Timothy Potter, Stephanie Tandy and Tammy Weller
Design: Josh McIntosh
Sound design/composition: Evan Dean
Lighting design: Jason Glenwright

Commissioned by the Education Community Alliance (ECA), produced by debase and supported by Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts and ArTour with financial assistance from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

Reviews

“Our students thoroughly enjoyed the performance.  In fact they were the most animated I’d ever seen them … the play wove many of the characteristics of our communities, and the social and economic issues we encounter, brilliantly into a script that was very appealing …”
– Kim Wood, Clermont State High School

“Fly-In Fly-Out is energetic and fast moving with a rapid tempo that ensures full attention. The characters are instantly lovable. The themes of family, first love, grief, pressure, work/home balance are easily relatable and pose questions for students and teachers to ponder well after the show … it set tongues wagging.”
– Natalie Nunan, Brisbane Bayside College

Spoilt

Spoilt image

“Simply ahhhh-mazing.”Heckler

The reviews are in for Spoilt at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival!

“Tour de force … move over Toni Collette! Step away Sally Field! (Sybil? Anyone?) Liz Skitch, step into the spotlight and take a bow.”Weekend Notes

“Skitch is a natural mimic, shedding accents and years as easily as she changes costume.” — The Age Entertainment

“Skitch brings her alibis to life hilariously, sending up five all-too-common personalities with aplomb.” — The Weekly Review

“Liz Skitch is a true master of impersonation and satire … if you're into multiple wig changes, crazy brides and deluxe doggy doo doo, then this show's for you.”The Music

“Each character is defined only by the choice of wig, shoes and a few accoutrements … and Skitch's impressive ability to change her entire physicality to match each character.” — Theatre People

“You cannot look away.” — Chris Boyde, The Australian

Supported by Knox Community Arts Centre and co-presented with 6PAC

Available to tour early in 2015. For more information contact Richard Mitchell at 6PAC: (03) 9729 7287, richard.mitchell@knox.gov.au or Robert Kronk at debase: (07) 3162 8812, admin@debase.com.au

What's Spoilt about?

“Spoilt delivers a very adept touch on all that is bizarre in a world we call normal, and an extremely entertaining yet painfully honest perception of life as we know it.”Heckler

Direct from a critically acclaimed season at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Spoilt is written and performed by Liz Skitch and directed by Fiona Scott-Norman. Comedian, satirist and expert mimic, Skitch flips the dark side of narcissism and self-improvement sunnyside up in this electric comedy masterpiece.

On an empty stage sit five mannequins, five wigs and five pairs of shoes. These characters are brought to life as Skitch transforms herself before the eyes of the audience. Worlds collide as the lives of a reality TV 'star', celebrity personal trainer, botoxed wedding celebrant, small-dog-loving venue manager and a bride-to-be all come together, climaxing in the most tragic and hilarious wedding reception ever staged!

A magical element of Spoilt lies in the audience interaction, which builds as the show reaches its climax at the wedding, where the entire audience are enrolled as guests.

Warning: this show may contain traces of Nutbush!

Please note Spoilt is for an adult audience and contains occasional course language and sexual themes.

Written and performed by Liz Skitch
Directed by Fiona Scott-Norman
Lighting design by Timmothy Cummings
Images by Ange Leggas, 3 Fates Media

Lily Can't Sleep

Premier production co-produced with Queensland Theatre Company and Queensland Performing Arts Centre for Out of the Box Festival for Children.

New day. New school. New house. New room. Everything’s changing for Lily. Night falls and she’s got a lot on her mind. No wonder she can't get to sleep. Her mum tells her to count sheep, but what good is that when one of them is running amok in her room? Enter Baarbara, an all-singing, all-dancing woolly entertainer who helps Lily dream up ways to put what’s worrying her to bed.

Mixing mega fun word play with fantastic physical comedy, this sweet and imaginative piece of theatre will take you on an adventure to a land where anything is possible. Playing with the ritual of ‘going to sleep’, Lily explores themes that both children and mums and dads will relate to, creating laugh out loud fun for the whole family!

Created for children 3–8 years old, Lily Can’t Sleep was originally commissioned by the Queensland Theatre Company and premiered at the Out of the Box Festival in 2006. Since then, Lily Can’t Sleep has toured regional Queensland, played at the Victorian Arts Centre and delighted audiences in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore with Act 3 International.

“This production had superb acting, a variety of dramatic styles and a cleverly written script, all of which kept my students thoroughly entertained. Highly recommended.” - Teacher, Cambooya State School

Written by Bridget Boyle and Liz Skitch with David Megarrity
Directed by Scott Witt
Set design by Jonathon Oxlade
Composer, Sound design by Brett Collery
Performed by Bridget Boyle and Liz Skitch (Premier Season); Liz Skitch and Georgina Symes (2007 Tour); Bridget Boyle and Neridah Waters (Brisbane Festival 2013)
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