A homecoming for Gold Coast’s Shock Therapy Productions
Our friends, Shock Therapy are one of the long list of Gold Coast creatives that we’ve had the privilege of supporting. Ambitious beginnings brought Sam Foster and Hayden Jones to our doorstep in 2014 when they brought Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman to life, winning three Matilda Awards and beginning their hot streak of acclaimed works.
Within a year, Shock Therapy produced its first full length play, Viral. Created and produced entirely at HOTA, Viral formed a unique connection between us and Sam and Hayden. Inspired by true events and broader societal changes facing Gold Coasters and the wider community, the show was developed through a series of community consultation workshops aimed at gathering true accounts of acts of discrimination against a variety of marginalised groups.
The definition of a homegrown Gold Coast production, Viral found international acclaim and received a host of awards for Shock Therapy.
Supporting artists is at the heart of everything we do, and we’re delighted to welcome Viral back to HOTA again.
‘It’s always special for us when we can perform one of our shows in our home city. In the case of Viral, the initial seed for the idea came from an event that took place on the Gold Coast. We held a community forum on these issues at HOTA and then the show premiered there months later. Viral has since toured the state, been published, used as a text for school productions interstate, and the Norwegian production has been touring Norway for two years now. We are excited to bring this show back to the Gold Coast where it began.’ Hayden said.
Hayden continued: ‘HOTA has always been great with providing spaces and support for artists. This will be the fifth season Shock Therapy have done at HOTA since 2014, and we also directed one of the Youth Theatre Projects, so the relationship goes back a long way. These various projects have given Shock Therapy opportunities to develop certain shows, but even more importantly, it has given us opportunities to develop our skills as artists.’
Having already collected four Matilda Award nominations, including a win for Best Independent Production in 2016, Viral endures as a timely response to the challenges and opportunities a digitalised society creates. An opportunity for introspection, Shock Therapy Productions will be bringing Viral home to HOTA on March 23rd.