Credit: David Bazemore

at State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne

Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host: Ira Glass, Monica Bill Barnes, Anna Bass

Ira Glass is famous for his distinctive radio voice and as a master storyteller – but can he do meaningful and expressive jazz hands? Even the most devoted listeners of Glass’s wildly successful radio program and podcast, This American Life, couldn’t confirm his skills in this area … until now: Ira Glass is coming to Melbourne with a contemporary dance production.

The show explores what happens when you combine live radio and contemporary dance – two forms that, as Glass himself has said, ‘have no business being on stage together’. In collaboration with two extraordinary dancers, Anna Bass and Monica Bill Barnes (who has been called the ‘Tina Fey of dance’), the performance includes radio interviews restaged as dance pieces, alongside stories from the lives of the three performers.

The collaboration was borne of a shared style and artistic approach. ‘Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass are such funny, human-scale, relatable sorts of performers,’ Glass has said. ‘Their sensibility somehow matches a lot of what we do on the radio show.’

Join us for a funny, moving and highly original performance featuring an icon of contemporary American storytelling.

Presented by the Wheeler Centre and Arts Centre Melbourne.

Note: there are two performances of this event. To view the event page for the Friday 15 July performance, click here.


Portrait of Ira Glass

Ira Glass

Ira Glass is the host and creator of the public radio program This American Life

The show is heard each week by over 2.2 million listeners on more than 500 public radio stations, with another 2.2 million downloading the podcast. The show also airs each week on the CBC in Canada, ABC RN in Australia, and on BBC Radio 4 Extra in the UK. For years, the podcast of This American Life was the most popular podcast on iTunes – until the show started its first spin-off program Serial, which quickly became the most popular podcast ever created. Over 8 million people have downloaded each episode. 

Portrait of Monica Bill Barnes

Monica Bill Barnes

Monica Bill Barnes is a New York City-based choreographer and performer. Born and raised in Berkeley, California, Barnes moved to New York in 1995 after receiving her B.A. in Philosophy and Theatre from the University of California at San Diego.

She has created 14 evening-length dance works, numerous site-specific events and multiple cabaret numbers for her company. Her work has been presented in a wide range of venues including the Joyce Theater, Upright Citizens Brigade, Symphony Space, New York City Center, David Koch Theater and alongside the hot tub at the Standard Hotel.

Portrait of Anna Bass

Anna Bass

Dancer Anna Bass joined Monica Bill Barnes and Company in 2003. She has performed Barnes’s work all over the US, and on stages ranging from public fountains and city parks, to New York City Center and Carnegie Hall.

Bass and Barnes began their duet work in Barnes’ Suddenly Summer Somewhere (2007) and have continued in The Way it Feels (2009), The Snow Globe Show (2012) and Luster (2012).


More about this venue, including large map, parking, public transport and accessibility.

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