Since 1982, Cleveland Street Theatre (formerly Railway Union Hall) has been home for independent contemporary art and performance. For over two decades, it provided affordable venue for Performance Space, which driven by imagination and politics, challenged conventional ideas of theatre across performance, visual, art, film and sound. After Performance Space moved into the post-industrial expanses of Carriageworks in 2007, Cleveland Street Theatre stood mostly quiet.
However, the venue is thriving again, thanks in part to Giant Dwarf, the Chaser’s latest venture. Launched with little fanfare in February 2014, Giant Dwarf has hosted popular storytelling and comedy nights like Story Club and Erotic Fanfiction, which to the delight of fans, have taken more permanent roots at Cleveland Street. As Giant Dwarf’s program manager, Nikita Agzarian says,
The vision of Giant Dwarf is to create an inspiring environment for new talent in the entertainment industry to develop skills and produce original and engaging content. This project is aimed to take what we are currently doing to the next level.
After trying out a few venues around Sydney, the Giant Dwarf team couldn’t let Cleveland Street go. It’s good news for audiences and artists looking to get some live performance notches on their belt.
“There are very few places in Sydney which are able to support and pay comedic artists. We wanted Giant Dwarf to be seen by comedians, performers and writers as a nurturing environment for them to perfect their craft, at a professional level. Simply doing this, we discovered how amazingly talented this city is, and the list of talent we engaged and the show ideas grew quickly and our program developed and diversified much faster than we anticipated,” commented Agzarian.
If you like the Chaser, go and see for yourself how their vision works on stage. Coming up at Giant Dwarf is popular improv soap opera The Bear Pack, a Junkee and GetUp panel on the realities of reporting on asylum seeker issues, and feisty physical comedy from Tessa Waters.
Giant Dwarf is part of the latest round of organisations to receive funding through the City’s cultural grants program. This funding program is now open to for-profit organisations as well as non-profit.