WA Youth Theatre Company

BESIDE Wed 24 Feb – Sat 6 Mar Peninsula Farm Wed 24 Feb – Sat 6 Mar Peninsula Farm $25 - $39
Event Info Buy Tickets
Wed 24 Feb – Sat 6 Mar at Peninsula Farm, from $25 - $39

'The Western Australian Youth Theatre Company is a unique organisation integral to the landscape of theatre in Western Australia.'


A Perth Festival Commission

Stand beside the river and see things from a different perspective. Join a small walking group as you discover Peninsula Farm, one of the first farms in colonial Perth. Over three acts you’ll explore the site discovering life beside the river through a combination of storytelling, song and find-your-own-adventure.

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

Created by a dynamic team of professional and emerging artists, including senior Noongar artists, BESIDE is a critically relevant new work showcasing the talents of a diverse and exceptional group of young Western Australian performers, led by WA Youth Theatre Company’s artistic director James Berlyn. Inspired by 65,000 years of rich history, BESIDE delves into social change and its capacity to both marginalise and empower. 

James Berlyn
Assistant Director
Maitland Schnaars
Artistic Associates
Georgia Ivers, Phoebe Sullivan, Ian Wilkes
Composer & Sound Designer
Rachael Dease
Choral Composer
Della Rae Morrison
Lighting Designer
Lucy Birkinshaw
Visual Dramaturg
Zoe Atkinson
WA Youth Theatre Company members
Noongar Cultural Advisory Panel
Della Rae Morrison, Maitland Schnaars, Ian Wilkes
Stage Manager
Sophia Morgan
Production Manager
Sian Murphy
Mollie Hewitt
National Trust of Western Australia team
Anne Brake, Julian Donaldson, Sarah Murphy



James Berlyn – Director & Creator
James Berlyn is a performing artist of more than 35 years’ experience. Trained in dance at VCA, he has worked in dance, dance-theatre, theatre and community art across the country and internationally as a performer, creator, director, curator and lecturer. He is still touring his one-to-one show The Secret Project (2010) nationally and internationally. He was the instigator and a co-founder of Proximity Festival, Australia's first festival of one-on-one performance. He was a co- founding director of Tracksuit, WA’s adult disability performance group.

James has been a guest lecturer at WAAPA in movement and devised performance since 1990. He is currently the Artistic Director of WA Youth Theatre Company, for whom he created and directed multi-award-winning hits at the 2018, 2019 and 2020 FRINGE WORLD festivals YOURSEVEN, REST and BODY RIGHTS. REST in 2019 was the 'stand out hit of the Fringe', winning five awards including Best Theatre and the Martin Sims Award, as well as a national award at the Australian Museums and Galleries Awards.   

Rachael Dease – Composer & Sound Designer
Rachael Dease’s artistic practice encompasses art music, film and theatre scoring, installation and song writing. She won the inaugural Martin Sims Award at FRINGE WORLD, the Melbourne Fringe Music Award and received critical acclaim at New York Fringe Festival. Her composition and sound design for theatre includes the Helpmann Award-nominated It’s Dark Outside (The Last Great Hunt), Ghost In My Suitcase (Barking Gecko), Sunset (Strut Dance/Maxine Doyle) and REST (WAYTCO). Her installation work includes Black Mass (PICA), Winter Feast (Dark Mofo), Museum of Water (Perth Festival) and Like Embracing Ice (Fremantle Arts Centre). Rachael was awarded the 2017 DCA Performing Arts Fellowship, won the Performing Arts WA award for Best Music for Let The Right One In (BSSTC) and has been a Besen Fellow at Malthouse Theatre. She has been a resident artist at PICA, Proximity Festival, Lumen Studios Italy and The Arctic Circle.  

Lucy Birkinshaw – Lighting Designer
Lucy Birkinshaw is a lighting designer and artist, a co- founder of Filament Design Group whose design work spans theatre, music theatre, concert lighting, opera, dance, film and television. She graduated from WAAPA with an Advanced Diploma of Lighting Design for Production and Performance and Curtin University with a Bachelor of Art, Fine Arts. She has designed lighting for WAYTCo, Black Swan State Theatre Company, Perth Theatre Company, Malthouse, Griffin Theatre, Barking Gecko, The Aphids, Melbourne Opera, Lyric Opera Melbourne, St Martins Youth Theatre, Performance 4a, My Darling Patricia, OpticNerve, Side Pony Productions, Hayloft Project, School With No Walls, Magnormos, Red Ryder, Perth International Arts Festival, Opera in the Park, Australian Opera Studio and many others. Lucy's distinctive approach to depth, contrast and beauty within her designs make her an identifiable theatre artist.   

ë Atkinson – Production Designer
Zoë Atkinson studied scenography at The Prague Academy of The Performing Arts, The International Institute of Figurative Theatre (Czech Republic) and at the Institute International de la Marionette in France, under Josef Svoboda. Since returning to Australia in 1997 she has designed over 60 productions for theatre, dance, puppetry and opera. In 2018 she was designer for Perth Festival’s Museum of Water, with English artist Amy Sharrocks. She was also set and costume designer for Ghost in My Suitcase (Barking Gecko Theatre) and set designer for Xenides: the Musical (Black Swan State Theatre Company). Picnic at Hanging Rock (Malthouse Theatre and Black Swan co-production), will also be remounted in the Malthouse before a season at the Barbican Centre, London.

Zoë’s work outside of theatre design includes co-curating and designing The Million Puppet Project Exhibition for the 2008 UNIMA World Puppetry Congress and Festival. Between 2000 and 2001 she was Head of Design at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts.   

Ian Wilkes – Artistic Associate
Ian Wilkes is a proud Noongar man of the Whadjuk and Balladong people. He studied Aboriginal theatre at WAAPA in 2008. He has been working with Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company for many years, becoming a regular performer in shows including Honey Spot, Kaarla Kaatijin and So Long Suckers. In 2012 Honey Spot toured nationally to the Sydney Opera House. He performed a second time at the Opera House in 2015 with the long running WA show Binjareb Pinjarra and then again in 2018 with Sydney Theatre Company’s production The Long Forgotten Dream. Ian has also developed skills in directing, writing and devising. He was assistant director of Yirra Yaakin’s 2014 production King Hit and in 2015 directed Kep Kaatijin and Songbird (The Blue Room collaboration). In 2016 he wrote and directed Yirra Yaakin’s show Boodjar Kaatijin and also directed another Blue Room theatre show Hobo.

Phoebe Sullivan
– Artistic Associate       
Phoebe Sullivan is a WAYTCo member and an emerging performer and theatre maker. Graduating in 2016 from the Performance Making course at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), she currently makes work that explores intimacy and desire, drawing inspiration from private moments she often observes in public spaces. Her practice extends locally and nationally, working and undertaking residencies with companies such as the Australian Theatre for Young People, Queensland Theatre, PICA, pvi collective, and The Blue Room Theatre. Her recent credits include being an actor in The Double (2019), director of GRACE (2019), director and deviser for Let me finish. (2018, 2019) and actor in Cloud Nine (2018) and director of Boxed In (in Body Rights) for WA Youth Theatre Company.

Georgia Rae Ivers
– Artistic Associate        
Georgia Rae Ivers is an emerging performer, theatre maker and multimedia artist from Boorloo (Perth). At FRINGEWORLD 2020 she produced The Lion Never Sleeps (Summer Nights), worked as a digital artist for The Dirty Mother (Summer Nights), and assistant directed and performed in Body Rights (WAYTCo). In 2019 she performed in The Cockatoos (WAYTCO) and The Trojan Women (Murdoch Theatre Company). She also wrote for WAYTCo’s 24 Hour Play Generator and trained with their Devisers Club and Senior Ensemble. She was a teaching artist in audience engagement for Performing Lines' Layla Majnun, having trained with WT McRae and Lindsey Buller Maliekel from the New Victory Theatre (WA Showcase). She has a Bachelor of Arts in Screen Production from Curtin University, and has also studied and worked in creative media in Hong Kong. She continues to work as a freelance filmmaker, mentored by Sohan Ariel Hayes, in short documentary and public art projects.  


WA Youth Theatre Company
WA Youth Theatre Company enables and empowers young Western Australians to tell their stories and gain valuable life experiences through the practice of theatre and performance. The company provides a best practice link between young people and the professional theatre and performance industries by employing leading professional artists to train, mentor and create work with their members.

National Trust of Western Australia

The National Trust of Western Australia manages Peninsular Farm and 70 other heritage places around the State on behalf of the community. They do this because they know that heritage enables us to explore our identity and our place in the world. We tell compelling and engaging stories from the past that connect with personal experiences and build understanding of the value of heritage.

Time & Location

Wed 24 Feb – Sat 6 Mar

Wed – Sun 8pm

Peninsula Farm, 2A Johnson Road, Maylands



    • Adult: $39
    • Concession: $37
    • Friend: $36
    • Student: $25

Eligible for package discount

Buy tickets to 3 or more events and save 10%

  • Auslan interpreted performance Fri 5 Mar 8pm
  • This is a promenade performance, including use of a colonial building with narrow and low doorways
  • Audiences members will need to be ambulant
  • The audience are expected to walk 500 - 750m during the performance

Latecomers not admitted. 

Contains adult themes, coarse language, strobe effects and smoke or haze effects.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island audience members are advised that this production references and contains images and stories of people who have passed away

This is an outdoor walking performance on uneven surfaces and beside the river. For maximum enjoyment we suggest that you and your guests:

  • Wear flat, sensible walking shoes with plenty of grip.
  • Wear full length clothing and enclosed shoes. There are lots of mosquitoes on site, and repellent will be provided.
  • Travel lightly, leaving bags and purses at home or in your car. There are no cloaking facilities on site.
  • Bring some warm clothing, as it can get cold at night.


Connect Events

Pre Show Q&A

Join us before the show for a Q&A with the creatives on Fri 5 Mar.



We are implementing WA Government's SafeWA contact tracing system. From December 5, it's a condition of entry to register your attendance at our venues. To make it easier, download the SafeWA app now via the WA Government website.

Click here to download the app.


Discover more about the show and its creation in the event program. Download it here.

BESIDE is supported by


  • David Cox


  • Presented in collaboration with the National Trust of Western Australia

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