The Interrobang: A Festival of Questions
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Pop quiz, hotshot. Your city has a new Festival of Questions. There are literally thousands of those questions. You need answers, and you have a large group of incisive, voracious thinkers. What do you do?
You raise the curtain on The Interrobang with a quiz spectacular, overflowing with questions – that’s what you do.
Questions On Notice brings every one of your curiosities, fascinations, arguments and uncertainties to the floor (literally: there’s a barrel) – and pits them against The Interrobang’s Brains Trust. Through four rounds of intense, rapid-fire questioning and a final play-off, your host and quizmaster Michael Williams will lead you through a true battle of wits – where contestants score one point for accuracy, but two for inventiveness (including posing a better question).
If there’s one way to get your head around The Interrobang, this is it: the Wild West of quiz shows where any and every question submitted by you (at theinterrobang.wheelercentre.com, or on the night) could be pulled from the barrel next.
It’ll be a fever dream for the inquisitive and a show that’ll leave you at the weekend’s doorstep with yet more to wonder. Just remember: you asked for this.
Featuring Abdul Abdullah, Benjamin Law, Alan Duffy, Graeme Innes, Gregory Phillips, Kristin Alford, Maggie Ryan Sandford, Mark Colvin, Mary Norris, Nakkiah Lui, Sammy J, Tom Elliott, Upulie Divisekera and Michael Williams.
Tickets to this event are available at the door. Arrive at least twenty minutes prior to the event to purchase.
Note to early bookers: if you booked tickets to this event prior to Thursday 19 November, some details may have changed. Please check theinterrobang.wheelercentre.com/#important-info for details.
Abdul Abdullah is an artist from Perth, currently based in Sydney, who works across painting, photography, video, installation and performance. As a self described ‘outsider amongst outsiders’, his practice is primarily concerned with the experience of the ‘other’ in society. Abdullah’s projects have engaged with different marginalised minority groups and he is particularly interested in the experience of young Muslims in the contemporary multicultural Australian context. Through these processes and explorations Abdullah extrapolates this outlook to an examination of universal aspects of human nature.
Benjamin Law writes books, TV screenplays, columns, essays and feature journalism. He’s the author of the memoir The Family Law (2010), the travel book Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012) – both nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards – and the Quarterly Essay on Safe Schools, Moral Panic 101 (2017).
He also created and co-wrote three seasons of the award-winning SBS TV series The Family Law, and his sold-out debut play Torch the Place (Melbourne Theatre Company) ran February–March 2020.
Associate Professor Duffy is an astrophysicist at Swinburne University creating baby universes on supercomputers to understand how galaxies like our Milky Way form and grow within vast halos of invisible dark matter.
He is attempting to find this dark matter as part of SABRE, the world’s first dark matter detector in the Southern Hemisphere at the bottom of a gold mine in Stawell, Victoria. He is also an Associate Investigator in two ARC Centres of Excellence investigating the origin of matter (CAASTRO-3D) and seeing the Universe with gravitational waves (OzGrav).
Graeme Innes is a lawyer, mediator and company director. He has been a human rights practitioner for more than 30 years.
Graeme was a Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission for almost nine years, responsible for issues relating to disability, race and human rights. In this role he led work on issues including the ratification by Australia of a UN Convention on the rights of people with disabilities, the Same Sex Same Entitlements inquiry, and three inspections of Australia's immigration detention centres.
He is currently the chair of the Attitude Australia Foundation, a startup aimed at using media to change attitudes towards Australians with disabilities. His memoir, Finding A Way, was published in 2016 by UQP.
Gregory Phillips is from the Waanyi and Jaru peoples, and comes from Cloncurry and Mount Isa. He is a medical anthropologist, with thirty years’ experience in leading change in cultural safety, healing and decolonisation.
Gregory is Chief Executive Officer of ABSTARR Consulting, is a Professor of First People’s Health, and serves on several boards and committees, including chairing the Ebony Institute, the Cathy Freeman Foundation and AHPRA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health strategy group.
Kristin Alford is a futurist and founding director of foresight agency Bridge8 with a PhD in process engineering and a Masters of Management in Strategic Foresight. Her clients include government, corporate and non-for-profits where she builds capability to think and act effectively in response to big social, environmental and technological changes. She was an organiser and facilitator for the Australian Academy of Sciences project imagining Australia in 2050. Other initiatives have included crowdfunding ideas that don't make sense and running a symposium on time with a start time of 4:42am. She is currently writing a book on five ways to see the future.
Maggie Ryan Sandford is a science journalist, fiction and comedy writer, and human behavior researcher at the Science Museum of Minnesota, whose work focuses on equity in science education, the relationship between science and art, and cetaceans. With a background in broadcast radio and TV production, sketch comedy, English literature, and biology, her work has appeared in Slate, Smithsonian, McSweeney’s, ComedyCentral.com, mental_floss, National Geographic, the Walker Art Center and Seattle Art Museum, onstage at the People's Improv and Upright Citizen's Brigade theaters in New York, and on the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. She is currently at work on a book about dolphins.
Mark Colvin is an Australian journalist, filmmaker and broadcaster. He has been the presenter of PM, one of the flagship Australian radio current affairs programs on the ABC Radio network, since 1997.
Mary Norris is the author of Greek to Me and the New York Times bestseller Between You & Me, an account of her years in the New Yorker copy department. Originally from Cleveland, she lives in New York. Her favourite pencil used to be the Dixon Ticonderoga No. 1, but she now makes do with the Palomino Blackwing.
Nakkiah Lui is a writer/actor and Gamillaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman. She is a co-writer and star of ABC's Black Comedy. She has been an artist in residence at Griffin Theatre Company (2013) and was playwright in residence at Belvoir Theatre from 2012–14. In 2012, Nakkiah was the first recipient of The Dreaming Award from The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Arts Board of the Australia Council. The same year, Nakkiah was also the inaugural recipient of the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright Award. In 2014, Nakkiah was the recipient of the Malcolm Robertson Prize and a Green Room Award for Best Independent Production. Most recently Nakkiah won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award 2018, Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting for Black is the New White.
Sammy J is an award-winning comedian, writer, and songbird.
Tom Elliott is the host of 3AW's Drive program. He is also a director of Melbourne-based wealth management firm Beulah Capital. Tom writes a weekly opinion column for Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper and appears regularly on the Nine Network’s Today and ABC TV’s Agony Uncles series.
Upulie Divisekera is a molecular biologist, science communicator and writer based in Melbourne. Over her research career, Upulie has worked in cancer research, developmental biology and is currently involved with nanotechnology research.
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011.
He has hosted Blueprint for Living (2015–2016), then Talkfest (2017–2019), on ABC RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for the Guardian, the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian and elsewhere.
The Interrobang – a new festival from the Wheeler Centre – is looking for the best questions in the world.
Ask your questions and vote on others, then join us on 27–28 November for a feast of frequently unanswered questions – as we present your most controversial, revealing, funny and insightful ideas to a 28-strong Brains Trust of the world’s most inquisitive thinkers.
Pose your question at The Interrobang festival website. We’re building this festival on your curiosity, so brace yourself – and wonder hard.
• City of Melbourne
• The University of Melbourne