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BESIDE is about notions of perspective. When you stand beside someone or something are you a witness, a bystander, a participant or something other?

“For its first Perth Festival commission in the company’s 40-year history, WAYTCo has created a shimmering, immersive gem.”

– The Australian

About the show

The Derbal Yerrigan flows through the heart of our city, bearing witness to millennia of change, shaping the land and its stories. BESIDE invited audiences to explore our individual and collective responses to the Swan River and to the cultural, environmental and political changes that have taken place along its banks.

BESIDE, the first Perth Festival commission in WA Youth Theatre Company’s history led a small audience of 60 gathered on the banks of the river for three acts, performed in and around the historic Peninsula Farm, one of the first farms in colonial Perth. This intimate work explored a life lived beside the river and alongside one another through a combination of storytelling, song and find-your-own-adventure.

“A thoughtful, beautifully created and performed production.”

– Stage Whispers

Created by a dynamic team of professional and emerging artists working with Noongar Elders, BESIDE was a critically relevant new work showcasing the talents of a diverse and exceptional group of young Western Australian performers and theatre makers. Led by WA Youth Theatre Company’s Artistic Director James Berlyn and inspired by 65,000 years of rich history, BESIDE delved into social change and its capacity to both marginalise and empower.

“Strikingly original, humble and non-didactic in the way it interprets big issues, Beside could have seeped up from the riverbed itself.”

– The Australian

Watch the trailer:

Beside 3min 1080p R1.mp4 from WA Youth Theatre Company on Vimeo.

Beside was Perth Festival commissioned (2021) and presented in collaboration with the National Trust of WA. In addition to tremendous support from the Festival, the development of Beside was assisted by Lotterywest through a COVID-19 Recovery Grant and the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.