Critically acclaimed queer black comedy Trophy Boys returns in 2024

Trophy Boys photo by Ben AndrewsFollowing sold out seasons and rave reviews, Trophy Boys – a queer black comedy and drag extravaganza set at a high school debating tournament, returns in 2024, playing at the Geelong Arts Centre, Sydney’s Seymour Centre and Arts Centre Melbourne.

It is the biggest night of Melbourne’s academic calendar, the Grand Final of the Year 12 Interschool Debating Tournament, and the all-boys team from the elite St Imperium college are ready to totally annihilate their sister school – until…

Performed by a female and non-binary cast in drag, the show unfolds in real-time as the boys are locked in a classroom for their one-hour prep window and forced to argue ‘that feminism has failed women’.

Written by multihyphenate Emmanuelle Mattana (ABC’s Mustangs FC), Trophy Boys debuted to sold-out crowds at La Mama Theatre in 2022, followed by another sold-out season at fortyfivedownstairs in 2023.

Emmanuelle, who also performs as Owen in the show, first met the show’s director, Marni Mount (VCA Masters of Directing) at a national debating tournament in 2016.

“In high school I was a competitive debater. I loved it and I hated it. At the time, it was one of the few places I was allowed to be – and often even celebrated for being – the argumentative, outspoken, hugely nerdy, young queer woman I was,” said Emmanuelle.

In 2021, when accusations of historic sexual assault from a high school debating tournament in the 1980s were made public against then-Attorney General Christian Porter, Emmanuelle was compelled to revisit debating in the only way she knew how – storytelling, playwrighting, and a process of artistic queering that employs drag, satire and camp methodologies. From this Trophy Boys was born.

“At its core Trophy Boys is about shifting power and positioning marginalised people as front and centre in spaces from which they are normally excluded, in this instance, the boys clubs of elite private schools,” said Emmanuelle.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring our ‘little indie play that could’ to the gorgeous Fairfax Studio stage at Arts Centre Melbourne. It’s a thrilling opportunity to continue this conversation with a larger audience, and share with them the drama, the drag and plenty of laughs!” 

“A biting social commentary, an impressive story… the ensemble is brilliant.” – My Melbourne Arts

Director: Marnie Mount | Featuring: Leigh Lule, Emmanuelle Mattana, Gaby Seow, Fran Sweeney-Nash | Designer: Ben Andrews | Lighting Designer: Katie Sfetkidis | Technical Director: Marcus Kelson | Playwright: Emmanuelle Mattana | Producer: Jo Dyer

Trophy Boys will play the Geelong Arts Centre (14 – 15 June), Seymour Centre, Sydney (19 June – 7 July) and Arts Centre Melbourne (16 – 21 July). For more information, visit: or for details.

Image: Trophy Boys – photo by Ben Andrews