First published on 17 Sep 2012. Updated on 3 Mar 2014.
Melbourne is justly proud of its independent theatre scene. So where can you go to get in on the act? Here's our whistle-stop tour of the best local venues boasting their own curated programs.
Truly the mother of all independent and experimental venues in Melbourne. The most amazing thing about La Mama is that there is always something on. And with a recently landscaped forecourt, the Faraday Street venue is looking neat as a pin. Carlton.
As an all-round arts venue, fortyfive turned 10 years young this year. Recently it has developed a strong reputation for producing and co-producing new text-based Australian plays and promoting new writing. Melbourne.
In a landscape of haphazard and sometimes slapdash theatrical encounters, Red Stitch stands out as a beacon of excellence. Their annual double season is one of the surest bets in town. St Kilda.
In its long history, this great old barn of a venue has had more phases than a wonky moon. With new artistic director Dan Clarke's careful curation, however, they've once more put themselves at the heart of Melbourne's indie scene. St Kilda.
The new theatre palace, west-side. They're got one of the busiest programs in all of Melbourne town, as well as filling a sorely felt geographical hole on the theatre compass. Melbourne.
Relatively new company-bar-and-venue on Swan Street. Though only boasting a modest program as yet, the Pussycat is valiantly flying the flag for Melbourne's inner-east. Richmond.
This on-again-off again company-and-venue project is apparently on again, which is good news. Look out for a new production of Neil La Bute's In a Forest Dark and Deeplater this year. Northcote.
Although run by local councils – thus technically not "indie" – the following are a few of the more important grassroots venues in the local ecosystem.
Mechanics Institute: Run through the City of Moreland. Have a strong theatre program with a multicultural emphasis.
Gasworks Arts Park: Working hard to tempt out the good burghers of South Melbourne and Surrounds, the City of Port Phillip has a busy program of theatre and music. Plus, there's a swell cafe on site.
Northcote Town Hall: At the top of Clifton Hill, this multi-venue complex has provided a home to many of the city's top independent companies.
Chapel off Chapel: In one of the city's quaintest little churches, just off High Street, the Chap's theatre is a great space with terrific sense of community. Run by City of Stonnington.
Sign up to our monthly arts newsletter