From August 17-27, independent artists will partner with 26 Wollongong locales – both familiar and unexpected – to present pop-up performances and art exhibitions. All produced presented anywhere, but a theatre or gallery.

Matchmaking between artists and venues is not yet complete, but we can reveal – there’ll be burlesque in a 1940s Hollywood-inspired lounge bar, vampires in a church, and a waiter will spill the beans on his Paris career in a Cantonese dumpling cafe.

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Comic play ‘The Dapper One’ will bring together Wollongong scriptwriter Paul Rybak, Wollongong actor Bruce Polonis, and Ziggy’s House of Nomms – a Cantonese dumpling cafe and teahouse.

Phoenix Theatre manager Steen said the incredibly funny play is based on true stories from a waiter that Paul knows.

“We’re so happy to have another play from Paul – and to have one as part of the festival is really great,” Steen said. “It’s the story of a waiter at the point of retiring, who’s spent a very long life waiting on tables in some of the best restaurants in Europe. He’s met heads of state and even the Pope, and spills the beans a bit on being a waiter in Paris.”

Plans to use Phoenix Theatre were shelved with Steen’s decision to offer Ziggy’s House of Nomms, which he co-owns, as an Anywhere Theatre Festival venue. “Paul’s re-written the play, so we’re playing the role as the cafe that the waiter’s found himself in.”

He’s also thrilled one of Wollongong’s best actors, Bruce Polonis, will lead the intimate performance – interacting directly with each show’s audience of just 25.

Creative producer Tim Monley is assisting each love match between producer and venue. While matchmaking is not yet complete, he can reveal there’ll be drama, comedy, burlesque and song in venues as varied as a church, a 1940s Hollywood-inspired lounge-bar, a tent, and a food court.

“We’re thrilled performances will be held at up to 26 different Wollongong locations, with around 30 different shows to sell 5,000 tickets,” Tim said. “We’re also expecting up to 15,000 people to experience the festival through free activities.”

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Anywhere Theatre Festival Limited is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, and thanks major partners Wollongong City Council, Destination Wollongong and Wollongong Central. Wollongong Anywhere Theatre Festival has been assisted by the Australian government through the Department of Communication and the Arts’ Catalyst—Australian Arts and Culture Fund.