Line up your partridges and your pear trees – 2018’s almost done with us. Feeling confused? Foggy on the details? Hark! The Wheeler Centre’s Show of the Year is here to help you reflect, review and revel in the year that was – with a little help from our friends.
Sports fans were spoiled with a FIFA World Cup, the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and a thrilling AFL Grand Final. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got hitched at Harry’s grandma’s holiday house, and Saudi Arabia lifted its 35-year ban on cinemas – premiering with the film Black Panther. Oh yeah: Black Panther!
There was much to mourn, too. Indonesia dealt with more than its share of devastating earthquakes and tsunamis. Sarin gas was used in an attack in Douma, Syria. We lost figures like Stephen Hawking, Aretha Franklin, Mirka Mora and Anthony Bourdain. Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned. And sewing needles turned up in Australian strawberries.
What else? Elon Musk started dating Grimes. A seal threw an octopus at a kayaker. Malcolm Turnbull lost his Prime Ministership to Scott Morrison in the same year he instigated a ‘bonk ban’ in Parliament House. Coincidence? Hmmm.
However you feel about 2018, let’s send it off together in style – with host Casey ‘Tasty’ Bennetto and a cast of writers, comedians and musicians, including Mama Alto, Steph Tisdell, Shaun Micallef, Jan Fran, Michele Lee, Candy Bowers, wāni Le Frère, Rebecca Shaw, Ash Flanders, Laura Jean McKay, Dilruk Jayasinha and Alan Duffy. If there’s one show you’ll remember this year, it’s The Show of the Year.
Dymocks Camberwell will be our bookseller for this event.
Casey Bennetto is an award-winning writer, musician and radio broadcaster. He wrote the musical KEATING!, hosts the program Superfluity on Melbourne’s 3RRR, and has appeared in places as diverse as ABCTV’s Spicks and Specks, the Melbourne International Arts Festival and the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at Sydney Opera House.
‘We are half the population and until we are equally represented in public life (and men in the home – but that’s a whole other story) we won’t really have equality. It’ll continue to be a man’s world that we inhabit.’
Once a girl in line for the bathroom at a music festival described Jan Fran as, ‘that girl who talks about politics on the internet’. This is true! Jan is a Walkley Award-nominated journalist, TV presenter, podcaster, and creator of the The Frant – an online opinion segment that has been viewed more than 20 million times. Jan is an ambassador for Plan International Australia, where she advocates for women and girls and her strong reporting on women’s issues earned her a 2018 Walkley nomination for Women’s Leadership in Media. In 2019, she was awarded the Walkley Award for Commentary, Analysis, Opinion and Critique.
Deadly Funny Comedy National Winner 2014, Steph was named Funniest Aboriginal Woman in Australia. She then moved to Scotland and was runner-up in Hilarity Bites Best Newcomer and a semi-finalist in the prestigious So You Think You’re Funny competition at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Shaun Micallef is best known for his TV comedy, including Mad as Hell and Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation.
Mama Alto is a jazz singer, cabaret artiste and gender transcendent diva. She is a transgender and queer person of colour who works with the radical potential of storytelling, strength in softness and power in vulnerability. In addition to her excellence as a performing artist, she is a writer of intelligence and sensitivity.
She has performed original spoken word and pieces of new writing for Melbourne Writers Festival, Queerstories, Emerging Writers' Festival and Word In Hand. Her writing has been published in the Age, Archer Magazine, Querelle 2018, the Music, and Melbourne Recital Centre's Soundescapes, and she has contributed chapters to Queerstories (ed. Maeve Marsden, Hachette Australia 2018) and Living & Loving in Diversity (ed. Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Wakefield Press and AGMC 2019).
Michele Lee is an Asian-Australian playwright and theatre-maker working across stage, audio and live art.
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).
Candy Bowers is an award-winning writer, actor, social-activist, comedian and producer. The co-artistic director of Black Honey Company, Candy has pioneered a fierce sub-genre of hip hop theatre that delves into the heart of radical feminist dreaming.
wāni is a proud descendant of the Bashi peoples of Walungu, as well as the current Incarnation of the Afronaut. He spends his times teleporting through Universes and time-scapes navigating between dreams of becoming the fire-fist pirate king Hokage master of all four elements, and unfolding tales from a generation who quite honestly might be too good for this Universe.
Rebecca Shaw (aka brocklesnitch) is a writer and creator of the parody Twitter account @NoToFeminism, which was developed into an illustrated book. She was on the writing team at Tonightly with Tom Ballard and has written for Hard Quiz and Get Krack!n. She was a writer for the Backburner and deputy editor at SBS Comedy. She’s a Contributing Editor at Kill Your Darlings and has written for the Guardian, Pedestrian, Junkee, Ten Daily and most other places you can think of. In 2018 a song she co-wrote won the 2018 ARIA for best comedy release.
Laura Jean McKay is the author of Holiday in Cambodia (Black Inc. 2013), shortlisted for three national book awards in Australia. Her work appears in Meanjin, Overland, Best Australian Stories, the Saturday Paper, and the North American Review. Laura is a lecturer in creative writing at Massey University, with a PhD from the University of Melbourne focusing on literary animal studies. She is the ‘animal expert’ presenter on ABC Listen’s Animal Sound Safari. The Animals in That Country (Scribe 2020) is her debut novel.
Dilruk Jayasinha is one of the most in demand headliners on the Australian comedy scene. He has recorded an hour long stand up special for the ABC, and is a regular on Network Ten’s Have You Been Paying Attention? He was also a regular actor on the third season of ABC TV’s award-winning Utopia, and team captain on quiz show CRAM for Network Ten.
These break out TV performances resulted in Dil receiving the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Popular New Talent at the 2018 Logies.
Ash Flanders is an award-winning writer and performer. As well as acting for other people and creating his own solo work, he runs DIY queer theatre outfit Sisters Grimm with Declan Greene.