Styckx Theatre Playground


A giant bamboo structure built as a performance event. An Aerial/Projection Performance event that builds playgrounds out of the knowledge of the Universe. A series of co-designed community performances -Time Space and Gravity AND A venue that holds the events of the hosting Festival.


Audience Perspective:

Witness a fantastical bamboo world grown from the evolving knowledge of the universe appears in your local open space.

Immerse yourself and play in, under and on the bamboo world through an extraordinary opportunity to codesign and be a part of 3 unique playground performance events.

Styckx Theatre Playground is home to a 3m bamboo horticulturalist who has tended it from the beginning of time and 4 space travelling playground engineers who attempt to colonise it with one of their mad designs. Based on the epic poem Styckx, physical theatre, animation and puppetry weave together within an enormous bamboo theatre to tell the story of an evolving friendship between Mr Styckx and Engineer Ex.

Also in the mix… Play time with a pinch of innocent endeavour, good intentions, blind ambition, dangerous ignorance, corrupting power, exploitation, destruction, havoc, chaos…  mwaagh aagh aagh aaaagh!!! (Evil Laugh) …goodness me…a must-see.

Presenter Perspective:

Y Space invite you to host the creation and presentation of Styckx Theatre Playground – A multi-tiered possibility of projects under the one title. 

  1.  Styckx Theatre – An audacious outdoor bamboo theatre venue, designed by international acclaimed artist, Simon Barley of Bambuco, commissioned/built by Y Space over 7-8 day period and hosted by the presenting Festival/Council. Simons’ unique “Theatre” is designed as a 20m wide, 16 m high and 40 m deep freestanding outdoor bamboo venue for workshops, film, performances and events.  It can be adapted to an indoor venue also.
  2. Styckx Playground – A spectacular series of community performance events developed within, on and around tmhis massive bamboo structure as Playground. Exploring Time Space and Gravity (elements of any good Playground design) these joyful and amazing performances are co-created through a deeply embedded and bespoke community skills development and co-devising process.  
  3. Styckx Performance – A completely unique aerial/physical theatre and projection performance of the epic Styckx Story told through physical theatre medium working with a 3 metre Mr Styckx puppet and 4 playground engineers and an enormous structure created entirely from bamboo. 

History: Styckx has gone through seven stages of development and needs one more stage of development before presentation.

Stage 1: In 2006 Y Space director, Jillian Pearce, commissioned the director of Bambuco, Simon Barley, to design a structure that Y Space could build and create a performance within. Simon created “Theatre” as a spectacular bamboo structure that measured 20m wide, 40 m deep and 16 m high outdoor structure and could tour as both show and venue.

Stage 2: “Theatre” first appeared in the 2006 Balmoral Arts Festival as a work in development called “Cyrk”. The budget covered the building and maintenance of the structure but not the theatre within it. The animation and theatre story was pieced together from previous shows and hung within the structure like an ill-fitting coat within a cupboard…

Stage 3: Arts House Melbourne, 2007 An adaption of the structure for the indoor space saw the development of methods of combining interactive animation, aerial performance, shadow, and puppetry that were of the materiality of Simons structure rather than using it merely as scaffolding. Content began to emerge from some of the images and Mr. Styckx was created.

Stage 4: Styckx Development at the Garage Arts Space, Natimuk, 2008. Development Funding was sourced from Arts Vic and RAF to develop further the ideas and content from 2007. Again an indoor version of “Theatre” was built, the images became the story of the bamboo world, Mr. Styckx and the playground engineers. The story was only half-finished and we didn’t know how it ended. Something about developing a giant playground Machine and Styckx puppet arms with animation head.

Stage 5:  2011-2012 Styckx epic poem was written… Rhyming Couplets…Iambic pentametre…Found an ending!

Stages 6 : 2019 Built the complete structure and co-create 3 playground performances with the Natimuk Community for Nati Frinj 2019 …and publish Styckx poem as  book with images from the theatre show.

Stage 7: Hmmm – Appearing at a paddock near you!


The Team:

  • Director/choreographer Jillian Pearce
  • Animation Director Dave Jones
  • Theatre Design Simon Barley Bambuco
  • Composer - Russel Goldsmith
  • Lighting Designer - Tom Willis
  • Sound - Outlook Communications
  • Styckx Aerialists 4
  • Styckx Riggers 3
  • Construction/deconstruction 8
  • Production Manager OHS
  • Projectionist, co-animator

Additional Features:

  • The poem is currently being developed as a small one person shadow storytelling experience.

Technical Specifications:

  • • A suitable outdoor performance site and all permits relating to its use for a bamboo structure ; Footprint 40m by 20 m and 15 m high.
  • • Lighting equipment and Sound equipment (including any costs to hire) according to design yet to be developed.
  • • Site security during non-working hours
  • • Secure storage of rigging gear on site.
  • • Freight costs for bamboo and rigging materials transport from and to Natimuk.
  • • Either freight of wooden sleepers or cost of local source.
  • • Provision of amenities within range of the work site
  • • A supply of drinking water
  • • Appropriate 3 phase power to site and structure
  • • Office/ warm up space – access to internet, printers, computers, photocopier, telephone lines
  • • 2 x data projectors (strength to be confirmed) and small housing tent for weather. Note: Y Space can arrange hire and freight appropriate of projectors at the cost to the festival
  • • Cherry picker 5 days (day 3-6 of build and 1 for day pulldown.)
  • • Traffic and parking management for the event.
  • • Audience seating and management.
  • • Marketing and documentation