Tantrum Theatre Performance Installation



Loom Bobbins, Cones, yarn, staple guns, paper, timber and knitting machines.


This project involved a short artist in residency with an inner city youth theatre group. Tantrum Theatre, started in Newcastle under the artistic direction of Lachlan Pilpot, who took over and rejuvenated the long established Two to Five Theatre. Over a period of one month Flanagan worked with the performers to develop a short experimental performance installation for the inaugural launch of the company under its new name. Because the majority of participants were school age, three intensive workshops were held on Saturdays.

Flanagan introduced material objects and conceptual elements and the group experimented with them using physical theatre techniques, brainstorming and improvisation. There was a constant dialogue between artist and actors and in this way the installation came into being. What evolved was an intensely emotional piece of theatre dealing with youth issues of personal identity and peer group pressure.

Metaphorically jumpers became a second skin, and through the duration of the performance the jumpers began to slowly unravel. The performers were connected to spools of yarn and to each other. Two well-oiled knitting machines worked tirelessly by two of the characters, set an industrial scene and created a rhythm – the machinery marked time, which underscored all the other movement in the piece. Throughout the performance the knitting machines produced textiles, the jumpers unravelled and the floor deteriorated. The performance began on a white stage that gradually disintegrated as the performers wore away at the paper floor covering, which was torn away through the duration of the piece.

Project Partners:

Tantrum Theatre, Newcastle Australia, The University of Newcastle, Australia.


Black Box Theatre, Newcastle Community Arts Centre, Newcastle West, Australia. Publications: (2005) Tantrum Theatre. Lowdown – Youth Performing Arts in Australia, Vol. 27. P. 33.


Lochlan Pilpot and all the performers of Tantrum Theatre

Heather Taylor