Urban Theatre Projects [Blak Box]
  • Urban Theatre Vicki Van Hout recording her short work The Umbrella at Gadigal Radio 470x300
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  • Urban Theatre Travis Cardona recording his short work Dave at Gadigal Radio 470x300

Urban Theatre Projects
Blak Box Program

From its base in Sydney's south west, Urban Theatre Projects (UTP) finds new ways to tell contemporary Australian stories, re-imagining what theatre can be and who it can be for. UTP's artistic model involves 'matchmaking' artists with residents, scientists, businesses or industry leaders to create the spark of invention. In this process non-artists become an essential part of an artist-led creative process, with mutually beneficial outcomes.

UTP has a curatorial approach to making work, where a number of artists respond to a common theme that has a universal power to connect and/or topical currency: such as climate change or the concept of family. UTP works with diverse artists, across cultures and generations – writers, visual artists, filmmakers and musicians in addition to theatre-makers – to respond to the theme from their perspective, through installation, film, music or performance.

Why did we fund this project? The Nelson Meers Foundation is supporting UTP's Blak Box program initiative, which builds on the success of UTP's B-Side project, in which artists collaborate with one another and industry professionals to develop a short fictional essay/monologue, which is then recorded, post-produced and published on iTunes.

The Blak Box is a state of the art acoustic box for audiences of 30 at a time to experience the B Side works. It is a tour-ready performance environment, allowing the B Side works to reach a broader audience in a more intimate and personal way.


Blak Box is stripped back storytelling — up-close and personal in a surround sound environment.

Blak Box embraces the First Peoples concept of ‘deep listening’. In NSW, the word for deep listening is Ngara. In the Yorta Yorta language of the Murray River in Victoria it is Gulpa Ngawal. An Indigenous understanding of deep listening is based on stories, silences and the spaces that lie between.

Blak Box will play ‘home’ to commissioned works and stories by First Peoples artists as part of UTP’s B-Side program.


In 2017, UTP commissioned Vicki Van Hout and Travis Cardona, two writers from the B-Side program to develop full-length works, specifically written for Blak Box.


TRAVIS CARDONA is from Darwin NT. His family stretches from Malak Malak, Tiwi, Iwaidja to the Torres Strait Islands. Travis completed a Bachelor of Dramatic Art at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney 2009. He has worked in film, TV and theatre over the past 10 years. For B-Side long-form, Travis is developing a sound work based on the notion of shame.

VICKI VAN HOUT is a Wiradjuri woman born on the south coast of NSW. An independent choreographer, award winning performance-maker and teacher, she has worked across a range of performance mediums nationally and internationally. During her B-Side residency, Vicki created a short work titled The Umbrella that she is now developing further for Blak Box.