Provocative and intelligent, visceral and strange:
a breeding ground for wild things, for dogs and gods.

Whelping Box is a place to test the body, the performer, and the spectator. It is a place of permission, of what we allow of each other. A breeding ground for wild things, for dogs and gods.

Two performers chain themselves to stakes, to test their limits and strip themselves of civility. With ritual, endurance, dancing and fighting they construct a self-made mythology.

Like athletes or shamans, they are your guides, guinea pigs and preachers. They feed on your energy in a series of tasks that form a darkly humorous attempt to transcend the confines of normality.

The audience enters into a giant 10m x 10m whelping box and is seated around the inside, facing in, where nothing escapes the eye.  Glorified acts of machismo, strange rituals and power games are performed with extreme physicality at close proximity, displaying our most primal desires.

An absurd spectacle, carried off with absolute conviction.

“One of the best I’ve ever seen… Mad/brilliant enough to distract from current news… Unforgettable.”

(John Bailey, The Age reviewer via Twitter)

“A long-awaited reminder of how visceral, provocative and intelligent contemporary performance can be… Whelping Box breathtakingly delineates the pleasures, pain and contradictions of play, initiation, bonding, competition, risk and self-mythologising. Within a carefully choreographed framework, Wilson and Prest repeatedly push themselves to the limit, testing their bodies in sustained acts of endurance, living out the very condition they have committed to celebrate and critique.”

(Keith Gallasch, Realtime 112 – full review here)

“The process of creating Whelping Box has led us down dirt tracks, rivers and through the bush. We have absorbed true crime reportage, metal, techno, Norse mythology, dog training manuals, and the artwork that people airbrush on cars and posters. Our focus in making Whelping Box has been on atmospheres, actions, tasks and images. Led by what we want to experience in the performance, we have composed an experience for the audience that aims to work on a visceral and sensorial level.”

Creative Team

Co-Creators  Branch Nebula (Lee Wilson, Mirabelle Wouters), Matt Prest and Clare Britton
Sound Artist Jack Prest

Australian Performing Arts Market showcase, 19 February 2014

Production Notes

Whelping Box can be performed in a wide range of spaces, from black box/studio theatres, to halls and warehouse/industrial spaces, of a minimum size approximately 15m x 15m.  The performance area is enclosed by a square of rostra, 10m x 10m in the premiere season, with the seating immediately inside that square, facing into the middle of the space. (See pack with tech specs)

It tours with a company of 5 and is able to open on the first night if the rostra can be pre-set prior to the company’s arrival.

Download PDF Info Pack with Tech Specs

History

Whelping Box premiered at Performance Space, Sydney, on 23 October 2012. Toured to Arts House, Melbourne, 4-8 September 2013.

Acknowledgements

The premiere of Whelping Box was supported by Performance Space, and by the Australia Council, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body. Its development was assisted by Critical Path and HotHouse Theatre’s A Month in the Country residential program, a project delivered in partnership with Albury City. Branch Nebula is supported by Managing and Producing Services (MAPS) for Artists NSW, a joint initiative of the Australia Council and Arts NSW, managed by Performing Lines.