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Interview with ATYP’s Artistic Director Fraser Corfield


A truly international production this NSW exclusive has been created by artists from three of the world’s continents.

In 2016, artists from six leading international theatre companies, ATYP, Pilot Theatre (UK), Teatro O Bando (Portugal), Teatro Stabile d’Innovazione (Italy), Dynamo Theatre (Canada) and Presentation House Theatre (Canada), arrived in Sydney. Together they devised a captivating new work that premiered at ATYP in January, transferred to Vancouver, Canada, later that year and was selected to showcase at The 19th ASSITEJ World Congress and International Theatre Festival for Children and Young People in South Africa in 2017.

This multi-lingual show for older children and their families has charmed audiences worldwide and is set to do so again when it arrives at Riverside Theatres following a season at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Funny, surprising and deeply moving, Patrice Balbina’s Chance Encounter With the End of the World takes you on an extraordinary journey, seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old girl.

Artistic Director of ATYP, Fraser Corfield, shares some more about this unique collaboration.

What’s the show about?

Set in a fictitious world, Patrice Balbina’s Chance Encounter With the End of the World charts the very real emotional journey of millions of young people forced to leave their home in search of a better life. Faced with the challenge of leaving everything you know and having to choose only those objects and clothes that can fit into a single suitcase, this production asks the question: What would you take with you? What are the elements of your own country, your own life that are most important to you? And how would you cope having to adapt to something completely new?

Who is the play about?  

The play looks for the common elements that connect all people, the things that touch us regardless of age, experience, language or culture. The migrant story is an international story. The flow of people throughout the world has made nations what they are today and continues to affect all of us. In countries like Australia and Canada the entire population is either migrants, descended from migrants or have had their ancestral world changed by migration.

What’s the main theme of the show?

If we were forced to identify a central theme that has driven the development of this story we would say it is resilience. The decision to leave your home and travel across the world to build a life somewhere new is a frightening prospect for people of any age. Whether that journey is carefully planned and supported or a mad dash into the unknown it will always be a test of courage and faith. It takes a great deal to find a sense of belonging in a new land. Always it takes years, sometimes it takes generations. If Patrice Balbina is going to find a new life in a distant land she will need to find the resilience within herself to keep going.

patrice balbina’s chance encounter with the end of the world plays at Riverside Theatres 11 – 13 April 2018.

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