The Smallest Stage
Dates: February 2022: Bunbury Regional Arts Centre; Perth State Theatre Centre
Company: BREC, Perth Festival
Role: Director, Dramaturg, Co-Creator
Nominated for 5 PAWA Awards 2023:
Best Mainstage Production *WINNER*
Outstanding Contemporary or Experimental Performance
Outstanding Direction of a Mainstage Production | Nomination: Matt Edgerton
Outstanding New Work | Nomination: Kim Crotty
Outstanding Performer in a Lead Role | Nomination: Ben Mortley
The Smallest Stage is an autobiographical theatre work, recounting the period of Kim Crotty’s life in which he was sent down for growing cannabis in the UK. Whilst serving his two-year sentence in Dartmoor prison, he discovered that ordinary means of communication with his two sons, then 3 and 5 years old, were heartbreakingly ineffective and became desperate to maintain his relationship with them. Powerless in his real world, he created fictional worlds in order to overcome the divide that separated them. He wrote and illustrated 47 children’s stories for his sons, before being deported back to Australia and reunited with them. This work deals with issues of identity, masculinity, family history and stories and what it means to raise boys; all set to the backdrop of commercial cannabis production and incarceration, interspersed with the funny and colourful stories Kim wrote for his boys.
The work in development is leaning heavily on audio-guided performance, enlisting pairs of child-and-parent volunteers to help create the performance with us each night. Other forms likely to feature in the work include animation, live stream video, object theatre and puppetry.
Ben Mortley (pictured) will be the narrator and storyteller in the work.
A superb collaborative effort, The Smallest Stage is a real triumph of form emerging from content, a powerful example of the originality that can emerge from a group of artists given time, money and support to work towards one purpose.
The Smallest Stage is a show that describes the infinite, unstoppable love of a parent and the importance of storytelling. Poignant, powerful and poetic, this show brings the audience (literally) into the story, and tears to my eyes.