The Sheds

18 Sep 2013-06 Oct 2013,

Fitzroy North,

Gay & Lesbian,

Melbourne Fringe,


If you thought coming out of the closet was hard, try coming out in the locker room

This event has finished

There are two things that happen every September in Melbourne – one is the AFL Grand Final, and the other is the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Footy and Fringe sound fairly mutually exclusive, but this year, a new stage play, The Sheds, is a collision of two very different cultures – and then some.

Written and directed by James Cunningham, The Sheds is about how a fictional AFL premier team deals with one of its players coming out as gay, and is set in the one location: the locker room, or ‘the sheds’ over the course of a footy season. Yes, it sounds like a gay man’s fantasy, and Cunningham knows that, so there will be nudity, there will be bad language, footy jumpers and shorts and Speedos, and there will be a fight – in the shower. But that’s not all that’s going on. The play also explores depression and suicide, and homophobia, of course.

It’s a change of pace for Cunningham, who’s more experienced as a filmmaker. In fact, The Sheds started life as a short film script, until he decided to rewrite it as a stage play for the Fringe Festival. “I love festivals, and the idea of an uncurated festival was liberating because it meant I could do anything I want,” says Cunningham. “I do like controversy, I like pushing people’s buttons, and I like that it puts bums on seats. And I like the fact that AFL in Melbourne is like a sacred cow. I wanted to push the idea of a gay football player.”

Gay footballers have always been controversial, even though no AFL players have come out, but Cunningham wanted to take a different view. “I got thinking that maybe in 2013 the team is more supportive of a gay player, and maybe the team has no issue with it, but it’s the manager’s fear of a public backlash, which was much more interesting to me. So this is a fictional ‘what if?’.”

The Sheds is a private world made public,” says Cunningham. “We’re really breaking down the four walls; one of the characters is a narrator, who constantly talks to the audience. The audience is like a fly on the wall. It’s my interpretation of what goes on in an AFL locker room.” 

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First published on . Updated on .

By Tim Hunter   |  

The Sheds details


318 St Georges Rd

Fitzroy North 3068

Nearby Stations: Merri

Price from $20.00 to $28.00

Date 18 Sep 2013-06 Oct 2013

Open Mon-Thu 8pm; Fri 9pm; Sat 8pm; Sun 6.30pm

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