Urban Theatre Projects



Utp (previously Urban Theatre Projects) history is built on the unceded lands of the First Nations people.

Since 1979 Utp has produced over one hundred and ten works, based on a process of dialogue between contemporary performance practice and diverse communities. Throughout Utp’s history it has remained at the forefront of arts practice creating important and ground-breaking performance work. Utp has received many awards over its history, including a Sidney Myer Award for outstanding contribution to theatre.

Utp has driven an investigation of new forms, new collaborations and new contexts, consistently challenging and reinvigorating the art form. In early years, as a way of reaching new audiences, a collective of young performance-makers made work on the streets, later shifting focus to working life, placing artists in working sites such as mining communities for, Coal Town (1984) and factories for, Behind the Seams (1988). In the early 90s the company moved to Western Sydney where communities became the performers as well as an essential part of the devising process, such as Café Hakawati (1991), a collaboration with Arabic-speaking communities at the time of the first Gulf War. In the mid 90s Utp began creating site-specific intimate spectacles, intersecting community cultural development and contemporary performance practice.

Under the artistic direction of Fiona Winning and John Baylis, landmark works included Hip Hopera (1995), Trackwork (1997), Speed St (1999) and Asylum (2001).

Under Alicia Talbot’s artistic direction (2001–2012), a new brand of work propelled the company into an exciting phase of growth,extending its profile and reputation nationally and internationally, including four large-scale works as part of Sydney Festival: Back Home (2006), The Last Highway (2008), The Fence (2010) and Buried City (2012).

From 2013 to 2019, Artistic Director Rosie Dennis significantly increased the company’s program, expanding to digital platforms, producing the company’s first film Bre & Back and shifting to a curatorial model while maintaining an artist-led culture and branding with her distinctive exuberance and sensitivity. Rosie delivered shows such as BANKSTOWN: LIVE (2015), My Radio Heart (2016), One Day for Peace (2016), Blak Box (2018), Talk Show (2018) and RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW. (2018).

Dr Jessica Olivieri is the current Artistic Director, bringing with her a strong connection to Western Sydney artists and communities, anartistic practice, an academic background, and a multidisciplinary approach grounded in performance. Jessica will continue the RIGHTHERE. RIGHT NOW. festival model, as well as working with Daniel Browning to continue to grow Blak Box and other First Nationsprograms. Jessica is passionate about building Utp’s legacy as a company that is inclusive of the multitude of voices that make upcontemporary Australia.

Download and Print

The Storyteller Enter the Marketplace: the first decade (and a half) of Urban Theatre Projects By Paul Brownthestorytellerenters

A Stranger Whispers in Your Ear: DDT/Utp, 1991-2003 By Harley Stummastrangerwhispers

The middle years: Death Defying Theatre transformed By Ian Maxwell themiddleyears

Our works

2020: Dream Sequence, M'ap Boulé

2019: Four Winds (Blak Box), Momentum (Blak Box)

2018: Right Here. Right Now., Hum Echo Chorus (Blak Box), Bayanihan Hopping Spirit House, Songs From Northam Avenue, Talk Show – Hypothetical

2017: Home Country, The Tribe Touring, Songs From Northam Avenue, Bayanihan Hopping Spirit House

2016: Simple Infinity, RIGHT HERE.RIGHT NOW., One Day For Peace, _Space Residency, My Radio Heart, Coffee, Tea & Cigarettes

2015BANKSTOWN:LIVEBankstown Bayanihan Hopping Spirit HouseVanFamily PortraitsThe Bankstown Dancing ProjectThe TribeThe Last WordSongs From Northam AvenueLullaby MovementBre & BackOne Day For Peace

2014My Radio HeartOn the Verge of BloomDemocratic GardenClose EncountersB-Side

2013Michael Essien… I Want To Play As YouLife As We Know ItInclusionsCatalogue of Dreams_Space ResidencyB-SidePractice & Participate

2012Buried CityIntersections

2011Stories of Love & HateAma & ChanPosts in the Paddock

 2010The FenceThe Folding Wife (tour)The Football Diaries (tour)

 2009The Football DiariesThe Fence (Development)

2008The Last HighwayStories of Love & Hate

2007The Folding WifeBack Home (remount & tour)

2006Back HomeFast Cars & Tractor Engines (remount & tour)

2005Short ‘n Sharp 4Fast Cars & Tractor Engines

2004Short ‘n Sharp IIIKaraoke DreamsPlaza Real

2003MechanixShort ‘n Sharp [email protected]

2002Girt by SeaThe Longest NightThe Longest Night (tour)Short & Sharp


2000MarinheiroManufacturing DissentThe PalaisThe Cement Garage (tour)

1999The QueryTabernacleDesert RapSubtopia

1998The Other SideChay Vong VongSpeed Street

1997Crop CirclesTrackWork

1996Noroc!DangerGoing Home

1995Yungaburra RoadHip Hopera

1994Eye of the Law SITE: Homebush Bay StoryBlood Orange (tour)

1993Blood Orange (adaptation)One in a Million

1992Mal De OjoRap it Up (remount)Selling GrandmaBlood Orange

1991Café HakawatiRap it UpChildren’s Week

1990Repercussions Death Defying Life Show

1989DDT-a-go-goJumping StumpsBehind the Seams (remount)

1988Biting Tongues (remount)Blistering Backtracks (remount)Behind the SeamsCircus Villawood

1987Biting TonguesBlistering BacktracksCoal Town (remount)

1986Riff Raffle (remount)What a Load of Old RubbishThe Really Interesting Gypsies

1985Coal Town (film)

1984Riff RaffleCoal TownThe Really Interesting Gypsies

1983Living NewspaperThe Really Interesting Gypsies

1982Dr Floyds Fly By Night Medicine ShowThe Really Interesting GypsiesDiscipline and Punish

1981Creation of Death Defying TheatreRecruitment of company and rehearsals of Dr Floyds Fly By Night Medicine Show

1980The Really Interesting Gypsies

1978Cartwheel Theatre formed