The Interrobang: A Festival of Questions
View all events in this series
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 is a journalist, columnist, screenwriter and author of two books – The Family Law (2010) and Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012). Both were nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards. The Family Law is now in its fourth reprint, and has been translated into French and adapted into an AACTA-nominated SBS TV series.
He's the co-author of the comedy book Shit Asian Mothers Say (2014), with his sister Michelle, and Law School, with his mother Jenny Phang. He also wrote the September 2017 Quarterly Essay, 'Moral Panic 101'. He is a frequent contributor to Good Weekend, Frankie and the Monthly.
Alan is a research fellow at Swinburne University, creating model universes within supercomputers to study the growth of galaxies, from the Big Bang to the present day. As well as learning how galaxies form, these simulations let him uncover the nature of the invisible Universe; made up of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. He then tries to explain these discoveries and more on TV with ABC Breakfast News and Ten's The Project as well as live to all ages from year 2 primary school classes all the way to general audiences.
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 twenty-five years’ experience in leading change.
Gregory is Chief Executive Officer of ABSTARR Consulting, is an Associate Professor of Aboriginal Health, and serves on several boards and committees, including chairing the Cathy Freeman Foundation and AHPRA and the Australian Medical Council’s Indigenous health strategy groups.
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 has spent more than three decades as a copy editor at The New Yorker, where she’s worked with such celebrated writers as Philip Roth, Pauline Kael and George Saunders. Norris’s love of language led her to write Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, a manual for untangling the most vexing spelling, punctuation and usage quandaries in English.
Nakkiah Lui is a writer and actor and Gamillaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman. She is a co-writer and star of Black Comedy on ABC TV and is a monthly columnist for the Australian Women's Weekly Online. She has been an artist in residence at Griffin Theatre Company and was playwright in residence at Belvoir from 2012–2014.
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.
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