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Red Rattler celebrates 10th year by supporting queer artists of colour

Performing Arts Editor

Intersectional politics meets performance art in The Red Rattler Theatre’s plans for 2018.
Red Rattler celebrates 10th year by supporting queer artists of colour

Image: Latai Taumoepeau, Monsta Gras 2014, The Red Rattler. Photo Liz Ham.

The phrase ‘artist run initiative’ (ARI) tends to be associated with the visual arts, but in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville, one venue has demonstrated that an ARI can be a thriving home for live performance.

Independent ARI the Red Rattler Theatre – aka ‘The Rat’ – was established in 2008 by five local women who wanted to create a legal, warehouse-style venue to showcase Sydney’s alternative arts and performance sector, while also maintaining a commitment to grassroots activism.


Now the Rat has obtained $60,000 in Arts & Cultural Project funding from Create NSW to further support the development and presentation of new work by queer artists of colour in its 10th year of operation.

This funding will help subsidise innovative queer performance art and ideas that blurs the edges between art, politics, and entertainment. The program will begin in December 2017 and include a mix of 25 new and returning events.

‘To have the funding to greater support the intersectional events that take place at The Red Rattler means that a wider audience is able to attend by way of making the events more accessible,’ said artist and event coordinator, Justin Shoulder.

‘This commitment to community building is necessary to keep the space growing. Knowing the power of this community, I am excited to see the new possibilities that this grant will enable.’

Chairperson of The Rat, Teresa Avila said that Create NSW’s financial support was testament to the ‘blood, sweat and tears of our volunteers staff, operations team, volunteer board, and it really acknowledges what we’re trying to do here.

‘This will enable The Rat to further support emerging and established QPOC artists to take centre stage. We’re so excited to present this incredible program that speaks so clearly to our purpose and provides our communities with a space to build solidarity, flourish and create inspiring and influential arts, activism and queer culture,’ Avila said.

The Red Rattler Theatre is a queer-run venue located in Marrickville NSW that is ethical, sustainable and community owned. It is not-for-profit and volunteer-driven, ensuring continued inclusive and affordable access for a diverse range of communities and creators, and welcomes activist, emerging and experimental arts events and activities. 15,000 people attend events at The Rat each year.

The venue, located in a former industrial area and named after Sydney’s old trains, is fitted with a full PA, stage, LED lighting rig, projector and screen. It also boasts a licensed bar, roof-top garden, a subsidised arts office and artist-in-residendency studio.

The Rat’s continued vision is to practice an intersectional feminist queer ethic in organising, and attempt to nurture, energise and support a non-traditional family of friends, artists and activists.

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