Madame: the Story of Joseph Farrugia

An innovative South Australian collaboration leads to a unique new theatre work.

Madame: the Story of Joseph Farrugia


The contribution of the small to medium arts organisations and independent artists is significant and important, but their ongoing existence is fragile. Artists and arts companies are no different from any business– they grow and thrive best when they have a level of certainty about their future.

AMPAG supports an adequately funded arts ecology that is vibrant and accessible and that's why we called for an increase in Australia Council funding in our pre-budget submission and continue that call in our election priorities.

Over the last year the big question has been what will be the impact of Federal government funding changes? - short term disruptions yes- but what is the long term outlook? With longer term funding decisions only now emerging, uncertainty and serious concerns around the impact on Australia's arts sector artistic vibrancy and the sustainability of respected arts organisations and the 'arts ecology' run high.

One way to understand the ecology is to explore the specifics –so together with our colleagues at Theatre Network NSW and Theatre Network Australia and the generous contribution of our interviewees we've developed a number of theatre collaboration case studies- with case studies across other artforms to follow.

This week we begin withMadame:The Story of Joseph Farrugia and offer insight into how and why this collaboration worked, as well as their outlook on the future.This new theatre work was the result of a three way collaboration between Torque Show, Vitalstatistix and the State Theatre Company of South Australia.

This trailblazing collaboration was described by Stage Whispers as “…ground-breaking yet simple, it’s documentary mixed with dance, it is memorable theatre, it’s…difficult to describe…just go see it.” Three very different approaches to creative development have come together to create a piece of theatre that is truly innovative, and would not have existed without each of the parties unique input.

Torque Show Founder and Director Ross Ganf said,"Vitalstatistix fundamentally understand and are the champion of Australian contemporary performance in South Australia"

Emma Webb, Vitalstatistix Creative Producer added, “The long-term development of the work (three stages of creative development plus Ross’s previous work, from 2009) alongside this tripartite relationship between a very talented independent group of makers, a small-to-medium contemporary arts organisation and the state’s major theatre company, enabled the realisation of an ambitious, researched and genre-busting performance work."

Rob Brookman, Executive Director/Producer with the State Theatre Company of South Australia was delighted with the collaboration. He said, “We were keen to build connections with the small to medium theatre sector in Adelaide and find ways to support interesting and progressive work. When the season finally went on in the dinky deco splendour of Burnside Town Hall in April 2015—close to three years after the first conversation between us—it was rapturously received and sold out! It achieved everything we could have asked for and some!”

The full transcript of interviews with Ross Ganf, Emma Webb and Rob Brookman is attached below.



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