Riverside Theatres presents
A Playlab Theatre Production
By Merlynn Tong
‘I saw my insides today. I found Tom, my first love, in my bones.’
When a woman finds scars left by her ex-boyfriend of many years etched into her bones, she is compelled to unpack her past and discover how he got under her skin.
This Sydney exclusive performance is based on the true story of two teenagers’ romance as it blossoms then warps in the heat of bustling Singapore, Blue Bones is a one-woman show told with incredible honesty by Merlynn Tong (White Pearl). Combining multiple characters, Kung Fu and arcade games; Blue Bones is a whirlwind of love and naivety, violence and courage, with the wreckage felt across the years.
Against the backdrop of Singapore with all its beauty, rigidity and insistent chaos, Blue Bones will enchant and disturb, and perhaps even wake the stories dormant in your bones.
6 Matilda Awards including Best Mainstage Production and Best Female Actor in a Leading Role.
This performance contains low level coarse language, a complete blackout, theatrical haze and explores themes of domestic violence, depression and suicide. Recommended for ages 16+
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Riverside Theatres requires anyone aged 16 years and over to be fully vaccinated unless lawfully exempt.
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Playwright and Performer
Merlynn Tong is an Actor and Playwright. Some of her playwriting credits include Golden Blood (Melbourne Theatre Company/ Griffin Theatre Company),Antigone (adaptation, Queensland Theatre), Good Grief (Queensland Theatre), The Big Mac (co-writer, development, Black Swan Theatre Company), Come to Where I am (Critical Stages Touring/ Paines Plough Theatre Company, UK), SITE (co-writer, development, Kate Wild, Ellen van Neerven & Sarah Winter), SKIN (Dear Australia, Playwriting Australia), Cocky Jerry Jah (co-librettist, development), Ma Ma Ma Mad (Wax Lyrical) and Blue Bones (Playlab Productions). Her one-woman-show Blue Bones, presented by Playlab Productions, that she also performed in, has won 6 Matilda Awards including the Lord Mayor Award for Best New Australian Work, Best Mainstage Production and Best Female Actor in a Leading Role. She is also the prize recipient of Screen Queensland’s Screen to Stage pitch, The First 10 Pages 2.0. Her works are published by Playlab.
Some of her recent performances include New Babylon ( Brown’s Mart Theatre), Enlightenment ( Elbow Room Theatre) White Pearl (Sydney Theatre Company & National Theatre of Parramatta), The Shot (Queensland Theatre, The Scene Project), Harrow 2 (ABC), Reef Break (ABC/M6), Top of the Lake: China Girl (BBC & Sundance Films, Jane Campion), What I’m Here For (Elbow Room & Flowstate), The Mathematics of Longing (La Boite Theatre), The Lost Lending Library (Punchdrunk & Imaginary Theatre), Hotelling(Bleached Arts), Bitch: Origin of the Female Species (Brisbane Festival), Blue Bones (Playlab Productions), Viral (Shock Therapy Productions), Straight White Men (La Boite Theatre), Ma Ma Ma Mad (Wax Lyrical), The Theory of Everything (Brisbane Festival), The Wizards from Oz (Taiwan, Taoyuan International Children’s Festival) and Hot Brown Honey (Judith Wright Centre).
Director and Dramaturg
Ian Lawson is a multi award-winning Queensland based Director and Dramaturg who has had a focus on new Australian work for over two decades. As Artistic Director/CEO of Playlab Theatre, Ian has transformed the organisation into a progressive new-writing theatre, developing and directing the critically acclaimed Blue Bones, The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek and Magpie. Ian has also worked for numerous other organisations including: Queensland Music Festival, Brisbane Festival, Queensland Theatre Company, PWA, University of Queensland, JUTE Theatre, Griffith University, Zen Zen Zo and Screen Queensland. Ian was the Associate Director at La Boite (2002 – 2008), where he managed the Creative and Professional Development programs and directed numerous productions including My Love Had a Black Speed Stripe, Urban Dingoes, The Pineapple Queen, The Danger Age and The Narcissist, which also had a season for the Sydney Theatre Company.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
My goal is to make exciting theatre. I love working with other creative people that have a shared aesthetic and philosophy. I step into various roles depending on what the project needs. Whether that be as a actor, director, stage manager, dancer, choreographer or just an idiot in a leotard pumping up the audience.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
At the end of the day it’s ‘a play’. Sometimes as artists we can take our work very seriously and get anxious and stressed. But at the end of the day it’s not brain surgery, we’re making art to inspire other people and the best art comes from the joy of play, even the most tragic stories.
Why do you do what you do?
Basically I do what I do because it makes me happy. And I’m good at it.
Neridah Waters is a choreographer, performer and theatre maker. She trained as an actor at UWS Nepean then in Japan with Tadashi Suzuki and Frank Theatre. She has toured extensively across Australia and internationally including work in Belgium, The Netherlands, Canada, England and the USA with projects including Lala Parlour’s Tarnished, The Common People Dance Project and boy girl wall and is a founding member of The Brides of Frank, Lala Parlour and The Escapists. Her performance work includes Sacre Bleu with Queensland Theatre Company and The Dance of Jeremiah, The Year Nick McGowan Came To Stay, Attack of the Attacking Attackers! and Johnno for La Boite, Tashi for Imaginary Theatre and Railway Wonderland for NORPA. As a choreographer Neridah’s work includes: The Venetian Twins, The Cherry Orchard, Away, The Glass Menagerie and Show for Queensland Theatre Company and Boomtown, Under This Sky and The Isaac Project for Queensland Music Festival.
Nathan Sibthorpe is a contemporary performance-maker and video designer based in Brisbane, Australia. He is best known as the director of Counterpilot – the award-winning collective of transmedia performance artists responsible for: Avoidable Perils(2020); Truthmachine (2019); Statum (2019); Crunch Time (2018) and Spectate (2017). Counterpilot works have been staged in major Australian festivals including Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin.
Nathan’s other credits as a performance-maker include: One Bottle Later (The Good Room & Brisbane Festival, 2020); I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You (The Good Room & Brisbane Festival, 2018); and Tyrone & Lesley in a Spot (Queensland Cabaret Festival, 2015). As an AV Designer, notable credits include: To Kill a Cassowary (JUTE, 2020); Blue Bones (Playlab, 2017); Wireless (JWCoCA, 2017); Viral (Shock Therapy Productions, 2016); and He Dreamed a Train (Brisbane Powerhouse, 2014).
Nathan has been nominated for nine Matilda Awards, receiving the awards for Best AV Design in 2017 (Blue Bones) and the Lord Mayor’s Award for Best New Australian Work in 2018 (Crunch Time). In 2017, Nathan was also the recipient of the Dr Don Batchelor Award for Drama Research at QUT.
Nathan was previously Queensland Theatre Company’s Geek-In-Residence in 2012-14; the Festival Director of Short+Sweet Queensland from 2013-16; and the Creative Director for Markwell Presents Cinematic Theatre Company from 2016-18. He is currently a produced artist represented by Metro Arts. Nathan sometimes teaches performance studies at QUT, where he holds a Masters Degree in contemporary performance.
For the past 40 years David Walters has worked as a professional Lighting Designer in Iceland and Australia. In 1986 David returned to Australia to take up a position as Resident Lighting Designer with the Queensland Theatre Company. Since 1990, as a freelance designer, he has worked extensively throughout Australia and designed for the Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Handspan, Playbox, La Boite, Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus, Nimrod, Company B, Expressions, Queensland Ballet, Australian Ballet, Opera Australia, Opera Queensland, The Powerhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, QUT, Zen Zen Zo, Dead Puppet Society, Topology, Insite Arts and Bell Shakespeare Company. His work has toured extensively both in Australia and overseas. Well known to Queensland audiences, David’s lighting has frequently been recognised in the Matilda awards and in 2018 he was honoured with an ABF Lifetime Achievement Award.
Guy Webster works across the mediums of theatre, dance, circus, sound art, installation and new media. During his early career as a dancer & choreographer Guy developed his practice as a composer and musician. His work has since featured in theatres, festivals and galleries throughout Australia, Japan, Europe, UK, USA and China and his live performances have shared the stage with the likes of Beth Orton, Ed Harcourt, Powderfinger, The Cruel Sea, Mad Professor and Sarah Blasko. Guy has created music and sound for many theatre & dance works with Qld Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, La Boite Theatre Company, Shake & Stir Theatre, The Brisbane Festival, Bleach Festival, Dance North, Backbone Youth Arts, State Library of Qld, Out of the Box Festival, Shock Therapy, Gogi Dance Collective, Circus Corridor, Jute Theatre Co, Lisa O’Neill, Goat Track Theatre, Stella Electrika, Wilde Applause & Red Shoes. Guy is also a founding member of new media performance and installation group, The Transmute Collective.
“Merlynn Tong, along with director Ian Lawson, has created a very special, outstanding theatrical work … original, idiosyncratic and ultimately uplifting. Indeed, this is an absorbing show that needs to be seen by as many young women (and men) as possible in reminder that whatever its shade, no bruise is okay.” – Meredith Walker, Blue Curtains Brisbane
“Merlynn’s performance is captivating and slides effortlessly from brutal, to joyous, upsetting, light and even funny … This is an incredibly powerful, disturbing story that is sure to get under your skin and leave you shaken.” – Jemma Lanyon, Aussie Theatre
“Huge congratulations to Merlynn Tong, Ian Lawson and the whole team at Playlab for a sensational opening of Blue Bones at the Powerhouse last night. I think it is one of the most important productions to hit town in recent times, for all sorts of reasons.” – Stephen Carleton
“Tong is brilliant and effortless as she tells her story…It is clear that Merlynn Tong is becoming a very talented icon in Brisbane’s Artistic community.” – ArtsHub
“Merlynn is a vital and unique performer – an emerging talent to watch.” – La Boite Theatre