project documentation

About the show

Commissioned by the 2018 Melbourne Fringe Festival, This is Grayson was nominated for four Green Room Awards and won two: Outstanding Performance for Young Audiences and Innovation in Site Responsive Performance.

This is Grayson is designed for children aged 7+ and their adults. It is an intimate, surreal and immersive performance for kids and adults to experience together. The show imagines a world where binaries are pulled apart and what you see becomes more magical, more intimate and more real.

Grayson is a little girl who lives between worlds. She wants to show what she sees and who she meets. She wants to take you on a tour through your city and show you the spots that you’ve stopped looking at. You’re given a baby (an odd doll in a baby carrier), you go for a bus ride with ten other audience members, all with babies and in the beginning you see a girl who is an alien, who is a child, who is 10,000 years old. As you travel through the streets, the show unravels with and around you, like a video game with 360 degree views. To the left of you someone water bombs the car, to the right a woman throws milk on the bus and all around emus dance. The show is about joy, and the streets it is situated in.

This is Grayson is inherently about childhood and the gaps around living that we don’t have a vocabulary for. It’s a show that gives children agency in the imagining. It’s a show that we feel tries to express some of the wonder and fear that we felt in our childhood and some of the grief we feel in our adulthood.

We think Grayson should live more lives and we think a tour to ASSITEJ Tokyo would expand the show and give it another chance to exist. Not every show needs to be taken outside of where it lives, but we believe Grayson does because it is a show about space and imagination. About believing in new worlds forged by dreams and we want that to have the chance to be shared across cultures and countries. 

the shape of the performance

While a live piano accordion plays, the audience is greeted.

In the foyer they have their booking confirmed before being led to a large room full of museum plinths with bassinets on them. Inside each bassinet is a latex baby doll. Each audience member is fitted with a baby carrier and introduced to their baby before being led to a separate waiting room.

Once all the audience has been fitted, they are led as a group to a waiting bus. On the bus a soundtrack plays and the audience are driven to unexpected locations where they witness short scenes narrated by an atmospheric score and sometimes live music.  

The performance ends with the audience arriving back at the foyer where they give their babies back and are applauded by all the characters they’ve seen on the street. 

some audio

This track plays through on the bus as the audience first see Grayson. She’s in the distance on a suburban football field, standing in a pool of light. We watch her sprint towards us. Stop. Almost wave and then crouch into a tight ball. She repeats this, getting closer and closer until she almost reaches the bus, but runs away.

Text by Davina Wright, composition and mixing by Glynn Uquhart, read by Meredith Rogers.

The bus pulls up to a large field. There are three amorphous shapes spread across it. This track plays as the shapes spin towards the audience, slowly taking shape. They’re circular, they’re rippling and camouflaged, they’re mirrors. Eventually, the circular mirrors come right up to the bus and the audience see themselves framed by the bus windows.

Text by Davina Wright, composition and mixing by Glynn Uquhart, read by Claudia Nugent.

Images by pier Carthew

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audience reaction

“Uncle daddy Jordi, that was the best thing ever!” Grace, 7

“This is Grayson is possibly the most unique piece of children’s theatre I’ve ever seen. It’s so wonderfully abstract, so strange and so nonsensical that in some way… it makes perfect sense.”

“I know I have to be professional about my views on these pieces, but it’s just SO FREAKING GOOD!!!”

Gully Thompson, 13, XS Program Resident Reviewer

“Woah, creepy.” Will, 10

“It’s not creepy, Will, it makes sense because we’re in Grayson’s world now.” Josh, 8

“I found it almost completely enchanting, peering through misting-up windows at truck depots, chainlink fences, mysterious offices, wondering who was the performer, who was not.”

“There were a couple of sublime moments when the everyday intersected with our strange journey through the in-between. Two patrons exiting a gym stood with their mouths open as performers in costume pressed themselves against the minibus windows.”

Alison Croggon, Witness Performance

social media

A collection of images shared by audience members on social media.

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about gold satino

Gold Satino is an award winning queer performance collective that has been pushing the boundaries and risking arrest since 2011. Our mission is to reimagine what theatre is and can be. We want work made for kids to be every bit as exciting and creatively dangerous as work for adults.

In 2015 we won the Innovation Award with Suburbia at that year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival. Our next show, Dion, won Best Production and the Live Works Live Art Award at the 2016 Melbourne Fringe and the John Chataway Innovation Award and a Weekly Award for Best Theatre at the 2018 Adelaide Fringe.

This is Grayson was commissioned by Melbourne Fringe Festival in 2018 and won the Green Room Awards for Innovation in Site Responsive Theatre and Best Work for Young Audiences. The show was also nominated for Best Production and Best Performance (Ensemble).

We make site specific, nonlinear, experimental, and immersive theatre. We devise original works that move audiences outside of traditional performance spaces and encourage spectators to explore suburban landscapes with fresh eyes—those places you walk past on you lunch break but don't notice anymore.

The suburbs are their own theatre, surreal, creepy, heart warming, cold, we just make you look. Gold Satino eats up bystanders and throws them into their shows. Someone putting their bins out in their slippers, a couple walking their dogs, a woman riding home.  

We want to occupy forgotten spaces with queer art and show audiences work that is bold in its intimacy and vulnerability.