2019 Program Highlights

Hundreds of selfies and thousands of clicks later. Still nothing.

We broke the internet. We broke our governments.

This world of chaos, pain and anguish can’t last forever, and all the technology in the world can’t fix it.

Maybe we need to try something else.



Battersea Arts Centre (BAC), London UK, April 2019

Homegrown Festival, held at BAC London, is a 4-week festival exploring visions of the future by young people, artists, community members and producers. The programme will include a range of artistic activities that are politically engaged, reflect the diversity of the UK, embrace emerging technologies, and that span a range of art-forms (including dance, music, film, spoken word, comedy, cabaret and visual arts).

A delegation of young artists and producers from Backbone will attend and participate in this festival at Battersea Arts Centre.


In 2019, Backbone returns to the mothership, our artistic birth place - La Boite Theatre. We have moved out, grown up and are ready to expand our connection with La Boite, 32 years after we broke into becoming our own beast to create work together. Throughout the year we will create pathways together for young artists to extend and develop their practice.


Presented November 2019 in collaboration with La Boite Theatre, Jeffrey Tan and our local community.

We drive past houses and apartment buildings every day. Small boxes full of lives that make up our neighbourhoods, stories untold, lives lived in silence and distance from our footpaths. Ever wanted to step inside someone’s house and just see what is there?

Happening across 20 homes in the north and south side of Brisbane, OPEN HOMES is a way into our neighbours’ homes and hearts.


Premiere October 2019, Brisbane Powerhouse.

Video killed the radio stars and the internet brought them all back from the dead. Like, Share, Comment.. Below. is a coming of age musical set in Brisbane. It is a revolt against bad musicals and lectures about using the internet. It is a love letter to the internet and to young people.

This new work will be developed through scratch showings at La Boite HWY and Homegrown Festival, BAC London, prior to a premiere season at Brisbane Powerhouse October 2019.


Backbone HQ is our social enterprise operated by people under 30. It’s our home and the physical activation of our core philosophy - to say yes to new ideas and make spaces for people to belong, play and create.It’s a space for artists to self-produce events, collaborations and happenings, supported by income from bar sales and box office.

We will continue to provide an innovation sandbox in Brisbane that supports new ideas, creative explorations and most importantly, supports our community to come together in meaningful and productive ways through arts and cultural expression. Doing this creates vital training and employment opportunities for young artists.


Open Source is designed to support individuals, groups or collectives of young artists to move their practice and careers to the next level - to think strategically, to approach big ideas with confidence and to seek out ways to meaningfully engage with the sector, and in doing so, play a bigger role as advocates and leaders.

The residents design their own professional and practice development program, supported by Backbone’s staff and industry mentors. In 2019 we are working in collaboration with First Coat Towoomba, Access Arts, La Boite Theatre and BlakDance to support specifically identified residencies and pathway opportunities for artists with disabilities, First Nations Artists and Regionally based young artists.


Fake News Dumb Views (November 2019)

Digital enhancements bring with them a new set of rules to abide by. With media sources no one can trust, corporates compromising our everyday standpoints at every turn, what can we do to better understand what it is that others need?

The Backbone Festival will be co-curated by young and emerging cultural leaders, who will work with a group of festival volunteers and Backbone staff to execute the project. The festival is a cumulative experience of our year long residencies. In 2019 we will invite an international delegation of young artists and producers from Korea, Japan, India, United Kingdom, Mexico and Syria to meet and present work alongside Australian Open Source Residents from Backbone.



This Is How We Do It is our learning space where we go to share and grow our knowledge in and of the Arts. All of Backbone’s workshop programs fall under this banner.

This Is How We Do It also encompasses a suite of professional and sector development and training designed to respond to the hot topics of the day, and provide ongoing resources throughout the year.



Backbone Ensemble is a collection of young artists brought together for a year of work under the facilitation of an industry leader.

In 2018, the Backbone Ensemble worked with Lucas Stibbard to train and create work together in a tight-knit ensemble. This is an opportunity to stretch performance skills and networks, across a total of 40 weeks of training throughout the year.

This is an audition-based process with an annual intake.



These are fun, inclusive, and inspiring spaces where young people can learn essential performance skills from industry leaders. Participants in these workshops are empowered to explore their creativity, and are given the tools to create dynamic and meaningful performance about topics that matter to them. 

At the end of each term, performances developed during these workshops are shared with an audience of friends and family. Past performances have also been featured at the Backbone Festival, Festival of Australian Student Theatre, and other venues across Brisbane.

These workshops run concurrently with the Queensland term dates.


mini change makers program

Presented as part of National Youth Week, the Mini-Change Makers Lab is a 5-day introduction and immersion program in socially engaged arts practice.

We want to inspire and equip the next generation of change makers with the tools and resources they need to make the changes they want to see, today.

Using arts based practices we will host an exciting week full of guest speakers and hands-on workshops to equip Brisbane kids with the power to raise awareness about a youth charity that matters to them.