TW-WellBless-Ella-Roth-Barton-photo-by-Luke-LennoxThis December, Melbourne’s iconic Theatre Works welcomes WellBless to the stage in a pertinent premiere season by writers Debra Thomas and Ella Roth Barton.

Filled with spectacle, pole dance, and an in-depth introduction to vaginal steaming, this darkly satirical comedy is a compelling examination of the parasitic world of wellness, and the flaws in our medical system that allow this trillion-dollar industry to thrive.

At her in-person Soul Convergence, Juniper is ready to unveil her cure-all Miracle Tonic. Packaged as the elixir to ageing, cancer, and even COVID-19, this marvel promises to restore body and soul.

But as millions of Instagram followers flock to the convention there’s a slight glitch; Instafamous cancer-patient Maha (who stopped chemotherapy to follow Juniper’s wellness program) dies onsite.

With Juniper’s world set to unravel, she solicits advice from her team of ‘experts’. Together, they go to extreme lengths to hide the truth from her followers and she might just get away with it – except that journalist Mindy Flores is asking way too many questions.

Diagnosed with cancer in 2018, WellBless co-creator Debra Thomas had multiple friends advising her to “reconsider her approach to life”; her diet and exercise, stress levels, and the toxicity of those she had around her.

Well meaning as it was, the idea that she was to blame for getting cancer through these choices was incredibly impactful and didn’t make the healing process any easier.

Dial forward three years and, after working together with Ella Roth Barton, WellBless is a crucial and entertaining commentary based off that experience.

Shining a spotlight on the wellness industry, WellBless zeroes in on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop empire and Belle Gibson’s cancer con, as well as the medical misinformation that has become its own kind of virus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An exploration of the dangers of wellness, and how the medical industry’s historic ignoring of women has allowed this industry to thrive, WellBless is a perfectly timed and engaging season, not to be missed.

Rebooted after a 2020 season cancellation due to the Lockdown, Theatre Works now proudly welcomes audiences back to the venue for this premiere event.

Director: Kellie Tori | Featuring: Ella Roth Barton, Debra Thomas, Emily Joy, Joseph Lai, Andrea Mendez, Lauren Steiner | Dramaturgy: Saffron Benner | Sound Design: James Cole | Lighting Design: Camille Bortz | Set Design: Kellie Tori | Costume Design: Ella Roth Barton and Debra Thomas | Costume Construction: Laura de Iongh | Prop Design: Brynna Lowen | Set Building: Ralph Alexander and Luke Lennox | Stage Manager: Lauren Thuys | Writers and Creators: Debra Thomas and Ella Roth Barton

Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Season: 2 – 11 December 2021 (preview: 1 December)
Information and Bookings: www.theatreworks.org.au

Image: Ella Roth Barton – photo by Luke Lennox