Passing Strange

Antipodes-Theatre-Passing-StrangeFollowing on from the acclaimed first production in their 2022 Season, And She Would Stand Like This, Antipodes Theatre Company now bring Melbourne audiences another electric Australian premiere, Passing Strange, at the Meat Market Stables from 24 June 2022.

An autobiographical rock musical from singer-songwriter and performance artist Stew, Passing Strange is the tale of a young African American’s artistic journey of self-discovery.

Transporting audiences from Black middle-class America to Amsterdam, Berlin and beyond, this powerful production hailed as “One of the most exciting new musicals in years” by Time Out New York, is a dynamic and poignant journey of personal and artistic authenticity.

Nominated for seven Tony Awards and winning for Best Book, Passing Strange isn’t just the story of a young bohemian charting a course through sex, drugs and rock and roll – it’s a compelling and pertinent comment on belonging and identity, complete with inspiring lyrics and the heady intensity of youth.

Othello, while speaking of wooing his wife Desdemona, says, “She gave me for my pains a world of sighs / She swore, in faith, ’twas strange, ’twas passing strange.” With a title that has its roots in Shakespeare’s Othello – a play in which a black man navigates a white world – Passing Strange is not your standard “musical theatre” fare.

“This is such a unique and beautifully constructed piece, one that is truly unlike anything else,” explains Antipodes Artistic Director Brandon Pape. “I originally saw it on Broadway and was blown away by its potency. The songs contain some of the most witty, poetic, and profound lyrics I’ve ever encountered.”

Each person who sees it will likely walk away with a different moment or character or song that resonates with them. We’re transforming the space at Meat Market Stables into our very own rock concert experience. The band will be on stage, and several songs will attempt to blow the roof off. It’s going to be a blast,” said Pape.

“It truly is a genre-breaking piece of theatre in a league of its own,” adds Director Dean Drieberg, currently Resident Director of Hamilton Australia. A multiple Green Room Award-nominee, Drieberg has worked on over 20 national tours playing at over 50 venues around Australia and New Zealand. He has directed productions of Sunday In The Park With George, Bare and Memphis the Musical, and is an exciting addition to the production.

Launching in 2019, Antipodes Theatre Company is a perfect example of the fortitude and creativity firmly planted in the Melbourne Independent Arts sector.

Founded, in part, by a group of New York ex-pats, the company strives to maintain an inclusive and safe workspace, with productions that have a dedicated focus on working with women, ethnically diverse artists, people with disability, trans and non-binary people, seniors, and other members of historically or culturally marginalised communities who are not well represented on stage.

This season will feature a dedicated BLACK OUT Performance on Saturday the 2nd of July at 7:30pm. A concept birthed by Slave Play playwright Jeremy O. Harris, a BLACK OUT is the purposeful creation of an environment in which a Bla(c)k and Brown-identifying audience can experience and discuss an event in the performing arts, film, athletic, and cultural spaces – free from the white gaze. The BLACK OUT Performance will be a private, invitation only evening.

Learn more about BLACK OUT at and the dedicated performance for this season at

Running for a limited time this June and July at Melbourne’s Meat Market Stables and featuring a cast of dynamic Black performers from around Australia, Antipodes Theatre Company invites theatre lovers to come and experience this multi-award-winning musical described by it’s creator Stew as a “musical for people who hate musicals.”

Director: Dean Drieberg (He/Him) | Featuring: Zahrah Andrews (She/Her), Tier Ataing (He/Him), Guillaume Gentil (He/Him), Asha Khamis (She/Her), Gabriela van Wyk (She/Her), Theo Williams (He/Him), Grant Young (He/Him) | Associate Director/Equity and Inclusion Support Officer: Cessalee Stovall (She/Her) | Musical Director: Marissa Saroca (She/They) | Dialect Coach: Mark Wong (He/Him) | Set and Costume Designer: Bianca Pardo (She/Her) | Lighting Designer: Sam Wylie (He/Him) | Sound Designer: Evan Drill (He/Him) | Casting by Evolution Casting – Casting Director: Rhys Velasquez (They/She) | Stage Manager: Annie Gleisner (She/Her)

Passing Strange
Meat Market Stables, 2 Wreckyn Street, North Melbourne
Season: 24 June – 10 July 2022
Information and Bookings:

Image: Grant Young – photo by Angel Leggas