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About Imaginary Theatre

Our Company

Imaginary Theatre is a Brisbane-based company creating inspiring art and arts experiences for children aged 0-12 and their communities. We engage children and families in contemporary multi-artform experiences that excite imaginations, inspire creative responses, & empower children to collaboratively think, make & do as key contributors to their communities.

Over 180,000 people have seen or participated in Imaginary projects since 2006 in Queensland, nationally, & internationally.

Our Team

Fiona 

MacDonald

Thom Browning

Our Approach

For Imaginary, children are the ideal audiences, participants, and collaborators. Through our practice, we know first hand that the space in which children and artists meet is dynamic, rich and full of potential. It is an unfettered world of mutual inspiration where anything is possible. It is a space for radical and transformative ideas, a site of deep complexity and reflection, and a model for intergenerational exchange. It is here, where childhood, creativity and community meet that Imaginary works. Generating significant artistic, cultural, social, and economic outcomes, our work demonstrates the value of arts and culture in the lives of children and their communities,  

Underpinning all Imaginary’s work are these five philosophical principles.

The cultural rights of children

“Every child has the right to relax, play and join in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.”

- UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

 

The notion that children have the same cultural rights as adults, and as such, are entitled to access arts experiences and the benefits of a creative life, leads Imaginary to position children as sophisticated creators and consumers of arts and culture, and as key contributors to the cultural life of their communities.

The power of the imagination

 

“There are two worlds,  the world of everyday and the world of the imagination…Theatre should be the meeting place between these two worlds.”

- Peter Brook

Our greatest asset is the imagination of those we create for, and collaborate with. Imagination is a defining human quality that allows us to transcend the everyday and explore new ways of understanding. We know that children are deeply connected to their imaginations, and we are inspired by the freedom in which they move between the real and the imagined. We strive to embody this in our work. In this way, our artistic creations are genuine dialogues with children, aligning real and imaginary worlds in time and space. These dialogues enable rich shared experiences between children and adults that inspire new ways of thinking, being and connecting.

 

The art of play

 

“Play is the highest form of research.” 

- Albert Einstein

We take our cues from children, the experts in their own creative form: play. Play is an innate capacity, central to cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. We accept children as ‘artists at play’ and sophisticated creative beings in their own right. In our creative processes, we rekindle and develop our own sense of play, using it to make work in languages that our audience tacitly understand.

 

Open exploration

“Because children have no preconceptions of what art is, they are open to the possibilities of what art can be.”

- Dave Brown

The fluidity in which children engage in, and create art, inspires Imaginary’s multi-disciplinary approach. Not confined by cultural preconceptions and traditional art form boundaries, we find children open to the exploration of sophisticated contemporary forms. We are committed to making art that explores a full spectrum of human emotion, acknowledging that the inner emotional world of children is just as vast and complex as those of adults.

Open collaboration

 

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

- Helen Keller

Imaginary’s strength is that it is not one person’s brainchild, or a copy of an existing model. Imaginary is a powerful idea and a set of ideals animating the space between art, children, creativity and community. Through our collaborative practice and artist development, these ideas are constantly being transmitted to and tested with emerging and established artists alike.  

Creative Director

 

Thom is a Brisbane based artist specialising in the creation of theatre, installation and arts learning experiences for children and their communities. His experience spans performance, installation, music, and creative technology, whilst working as a director, producer, facilitator, curator, devisor, sound and video designer, technician, and DJ.  

Thom is the Artistic Director of Imaginary Theatre. His work for Imaginary is regarded as amongst the most innovative sites of practice in Australian theatre for young audiences and has been seen nationally and internationally by over 180,000 people.  

In 2015 Thom directed the performance installation World Images for acclaimed Danish company Theatre Workshop Madam Bach which has since been presented 30 venues across Denmark, as well as internationally Italy, France, China,  Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Lithuania and Greenland.

In 2011 Thom took part by invitation in an Artist Residency at Kijimuna Festa in Okinawa. In 2012, he was awarded a Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Young & Emerging Artists Fellowship to undertake three months of professional development and residencies at children's companies and festivals in Europe. In 2014 he a participant in the ‘Next Generation’ program at the World Congress & Festival event of ASSITEJ International. Also in 2014, he undertook an Associate Director residency at Patch Theatre in Adelaide. In 2019 Thom was one of 25 international artists selected to attend the ‘Directors in Theatre for Young Audiences International Summit’ in Berlin, Germany.

Executive Producer

Fiona is a leading Brisbane-based Arts Manager specialising in producing contemporary arts experiences for children, families and communities, contemporary performance, and community arts development projects. 

Fi is a multi-skilled practitioner, having worked in a broad variety of roles across the performing arts.  As a Producer and Event Manager Fi has worked for The Art Space for Kids (Shanghai), Queensland Music Festival, the State Library of Queensland, Brisbane City Council, Human Ventures and Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Fi has also collaborated on projects with Contact Inc and Motherboard Productions featuring diverse communities as participants and audiences.

 

Fi channels her experiences into Imaginary Theatre, a small arts organisation that she co-founded in 2006 to meet the unmet demand for exquisite contemporary arts experiences for children in her home state of Queensland.

 

Fi has lectured at Queensland University of Technology, and has worked extensively in South Korea as a producer and facilitator, producing a number of international  touring works and collaborations.

 

In 2011 Fi took part by invitation in an Artist Residency at Kijimuna Festa in Okinawa, one of Asia’s most highly regarded children’s festivals. 

 

In 2016, Fiona was a Global Fellow of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA), and an Australian fellow from 2017-2020. 

Fi is currently a Creative Producer at Brisbane Festival.

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