Bluestone Church Arts Space Residency Program


The Bluestone Church Arts Space is a dedicated arts and performance venue located at 8A Hyde Street Footscray. It is a highly versatile performance space for emerging, mid-career and professional artists.

About the Program

The Bluestone Church Arts Space is offering two types of artist residency programs in 2024:

  • Creative Development Program
  • Supported Season Program

These programs aim to support artists at different stages in their project’s lifecycle, whether it is a developing concept, an emerging draft, or a rehearsed production ready for its premiere season.

The program is open to performers, dancers, musicians and multi-disciplinary artists who live or work in Melbourne’s West. Applicants that do not live or work in Melbourne’s West, but can demonstrate a deep connection to the City of Maribyrnong, are also eligible to apply.

Find out more about the Creative Development Program

Residencies are available for up to two weeks, with an expectation of high usage during the time allocated. Please indicate your preferred time of year in the application form, with dates dictated by availability of the venue.

Applications that do not clearly outline a clear creative development aspect, and/or appear to be seeking a free rehearsal space will not be considered.

Applicants are encouraged to include at least one opportunity for the community to view the work-in-development during the residency period, or share their practice in some way.

Council will:

  • Provide a stipend of $1,000 toward artist fees and/or production costs.
  • Provide in-kind access to the Bluestone Church Arts Space to successful applicants.
  • Cover the cost of hire fees for technical equipment in the facility for the duration of the residency.

Find out more about the Supported Season Program

Residencies are available for one to three weeks duration, with resident artists expected to bump in, technically rehearse, present a production to an audience (which includes the general public), and bump out, all within this period of time.

Please indicate your preferred time of year in the application form, with dates dictated by availability of the venue.

Council will:

  • Provide a stipend of up to $5,000 toward artist fees and/or production costs.
  • Provide a dedicated theatre technician for an 8-hour work call on the bump in / technical rehearsal day.
  • The artistic team receives full box office takings for the production.
  • Provide in-kind access to the Bluestone Church Arts Space to successful applicants.
  • Cover the cost of hire fees for technical equipment in the facility for the duration of the residency.
  • Program up to 3 productions for the Supported Season Program, one of which will be targeted to young audiences or families.

Program Guidelines

Expressions of interest are now closed. Please subscribe to the ArtBytes e-newsletter to be informed of future opportunities. 

Further Information

For further information, or to discuss other means of applying that meet your access requirements, contact Arts & Culture Maribyrnong on 03 9688 0200 or


Creative Development Program Recipients 2023-24

  • Jag Yien Thiang, SSFN373: Develop a new play that travels through themes of misery to success to isolation with a live-music ensemble, incorporating elements of Outsider music and Poor Theatre.
  • James Madsen-Smith, Tip: Expand new play Tip – which focuses on the underground fire at the Kealba landfill in Sunshine West – to a work of an hour’s duration.
  • Lana Schwarcz, Terminator: Re-develop and produce a solo work about abortion, using clowning, as well as narrative and visual storytelling.
  • Margot Morales, Untitled Softcore Faust Adaptation. Develop a metatheatrical erotic comedy based on Part Two of Goethe’s Faust in which Faust struggles to find contentment in Paradise.
  • Rachel Edmonds, Portaloo. Develop a script in progress that explores gender diversity, toxic masculinity, friendship, and not-quite country living in working class, early 90's Australia.


Supported Season & Creative Development Program Recipients 2023

Supported Season:

Miss Friby, Galah

Miss Friby is an award winning showgirl, not dead.

This highly physical theatre show will completely transform the Bluestone Church into a post modern Centrelink for goths, and you are invited.

★ Dance ★ Cabaret ★ Comedy ★ Funeral ★

Show features: Feathers; black gloss dance flooring featured in the Robbie Williams biopic; lasers; slow motion falls from tables; a thank-you speech; contemporary dance to the sounds of a baby crying; drama; sparkly stuff (relative to ticket sales); a poignant moment, maybe.

Te Whare Tū Taua O Te Ara Hononga Inc. Irihipeti Waretini, Te Pō  

Te Kore, the great void. Time is suspended, a state of latent being and unrealised potential.

From the empty void comes the perpetual night, the realm of Te Pō. Within this darkness comes movement – the conscious stirring of being, the beginnings of a change towards the realm of becoming.

Dynamic composition and electrifying live performance of projection, movement, song, traditional and contemporary instruments. To inspire audiences to expand their creativity, identity and connection to culture. 

Creative Development:

Fairly Lucid Productions, Dilly Dally of Death and Dying

Community engagement and creative development of a work that explores death and dying.

The Shift Theatre, Eat Your Heart Out

Script development of a new bespoke comedy by playwright Angela Buckingham.

Cypher Culture, negentropic

World building of a performance featuring collaborators Efren Pamilacan and Pataphysics 

Mezz Coleman, Song Cycle

Create, record and perform a collection of songs inspired by the death / life / death cycle.

Creative Development Program Recipients 2022

The following Creative Development Residencies have been awarded for 2022.

Rosy Toranzo - to creatively develop a new shadow puppetry work 'A Homage to Home,' which explores the creative possibilities that a home can provide, and finds positivity in our shared experience of spending large amounts of time at home.

Memetica  - to creatively develop additional members of the 'Reeflings' ensemble, and create a series of smaller Reeflings for children to wear during performances, workshops and school holiday programs. 

Fiona Roake - to collaborate with Penny Baron to devise and develop a live performance work titled, 'A Woman of Influence,' which tells a multi-generational story through rewriting the myth of Persephone and Demeter. 

Creative Development Program Recipients 2020/21

The following Creative Development Residencies have been awarded for 2020. Due to extended lockdowns, many of these developments were rescheduled for 2021.

  • The Anchor - to collaboratively and creatively develop the new theatre work ‘Little Bitch’ which investigates the expectations and influences that shape female behaviour.
  • Born in a Taxi - to collaboratively and creatively develop the experimental long form improvisation work, 'No Former Performer Has Performed This Performance Before'.
  • Jonathan Homsey - to collaboratively and creatively develop ‘ꜟFotonovela Gigante!’ with the aim for it to be universally accessible work for people who are CaLD, and those with hearing or vision impairments.
  • wit incorporated inc - to collaboratively and creatively develop ‘Ten Days in the Madhouse’, a new work by Jennifer Piper exploring the fraught experiences of women in psychiatric medicine.
  • Kissing Booth Productions - to collaboratively and creatively develop ‘We Are The Muses’ as an examination of the muse as an artistic phenomenon, with the aim to complete a script by the end of the process.

Creative Development Program Recipients 2019

The following Creative Development Residencies have been awarded for 2019. 

  • She Said Theatre - to research and develop a new theatre work titled ‘Our Parents’, created by Seanna van Helten and Penny Harpham.
    Outcome: She Said Theatre’s 2019 residency provided much-needed time and a dedicated space to undertake creative research and development for a new work, allowing us to work to our own schedule and accommodate other collaborators and big discussions as this process unfolded. Having this creative freedom meant that we could ‘follow our noses’ wherever our research led us — and in fact, very early in the first stage of our development, we made a discovery that inspired a whole new concept for a theatre work reimagining the 1944 Hollywood film Gaslight as a Gothic melodrama for the post-MeToo era. During the first stage of our residency in June, we completed a full outline of this concept, which enabled Seanna to write a first draft of a script. We used the second half of our residency in October to try out ideas on the floor, to consolidate documentation of our process, and to prepare a multi-media ‘pitch document’. Thanks to the residency, we have enough material to pitch this work to potential presenting partners - including at MTC, where Penny is a participant in the Women in Theatre program. Once again our residency at the Bluestone Church Art Space has been an invaluable part of our creative process and planning in 2019; it not only facilitated the crucial early stage of research and development for a new work but has put us in a strong position to work towards a final performance outcome in 2020/2021. 
  • Kissing Booth Productions - to develop a performance text titled 'Leopard Print Loincloth', written by Jake Stewart and directed by Dominic Weintraub.
    Outcome: After a month-long workshopping process – which included a diverse range of approximately forty men – a well-received, full-house performance of the work took place at the end of July 2019. The process began with the simple starting points of contemporary Australian masculinity, the work of Tom of Finland, and the dramaturgy of gay pornography, and by the end of the residency, a two-hour play had been produced.
    'Leopard Print Loincloth' will have its premiere season at Theatre Works from 4-8 February 2020 as part of the Midsmma Festival
  • The Voice in my Hands - to develop the third work in a trilogy titled ‘Let Bleeding Girls Lie’ into a rehearsal-ready script.
    Outcome: The week-long residency at Bluestone Church Arts Space gave us our first opportunity to assemble the full team for Let Bleeding Girls Lie, to spend time together in deep and large conversations on the different contexts informing the work, to unpack them, and to feed them back into the show. This development was vital as it allowed our team to find a working methodology before we head into production next year. We're very grateful for both the time and the space.
  • wit incorporated - to develop and present 'How I Met My Dead Husband' by Lansy Feng, and to research, develop and present a new sketch comedy by Jennifer Piper and Belinda Campbell.
    Outcome: After months of development, a newly polished production of 'How I Met My Dead Husband' was presented at the Bluestone Church Arts Space from 21 August to 7 September 2019 (including a free preview for locals), and at The Bowery Theatre on 13 September. The production included new songs, more in-depth characters and more complex lighting, sound and set, and the production was well received by audiences. 

    Dead Husband puts a new spin on life’s final destination and does so with humour and flair.” - Beat Magazine

    'That Time That Everything Went Well and We Were Totally Fine', was written and revised, workshopped and developed, resulting in a staged production at the Bluestone Church Arts Space in November 2019. Throughout the season, the show was further tweaked and developed from audience feedback and reviews, resulting in a strong stage two of development. The show has been booked for performance at The Bowery Theatre for February 2020.
    “The nifty production was well organised and tightly executed.” - Melbourne Observer

    Both productions are now tour-ready for 2020.

Creative Development Program Recipients 2018

The following Creative Development Residencies were awarded for 2018.

  • Slown, Smallened & Son - to develop ‘Lady Example’, a performance project exploring women in our culture and our lives.
    Outcome: The Creative Development Residency allowed Slown, Smallened & Son to premiere a season of this work at The Substation, Newport as part of Next Wave Festival 2018, which was very well received by both audiences and critics. The three week development at Bluestone Church Arts Space was integral to the process of readying the work for performance. The space was large enough to resemble the scale of The Substation, allowing the full ensemble of performers to work all at once, for the first time since conceiving the work.

"This was our most ambitious and largest work to date, and so having ample space was a real asset to the breadth of this vision, and made its execution possible. We worked with our performers on choreographic scores, improvisations and learnt dance material, honing and refining it to the standard of the finished piece.” Slown, Smallened & Son

  • Lab Kelpie Inc. - to work on a new collaboration between Lab Kelpie’s artistic team Lyall Brooks and Adam Fawcett, ‘A World of Our Own’.
    Outcome: "Lab Kelpie Inc. came in at a very early stage of the project's life with just a seed of an idea, really, and came out the other side with - if not a whole oak tree - at least a healthy sapling of a show! It was so invaluable having a dedicated space to write, to build the story and structure, to explore the voice and physicality of the character on the floor, and even to play with preliminary staging and design ideas. We had some incredible and unexpected moments of discovery and creativity - as well as a healthy process of learning from (and unemotionally discarding) the failures. Our goal is to now continue the show’s development ready for a premiere season at Melbourne Fringe in 2019." Lyall Brooks and Adam Fawcett
  • She Said Theatre - to develop ‘Fallen’, a new work written by Seanna van Helten and directed by Penny Harpham.
    Outcome: ‘Fallen’ was presented at fortyfivedownstairs between 15-26 August 2018 following four weeks of creative development in the Bluestone Church Arts Space during May and July 2018. The season was incredibly well received with the production receiving multiple positive reviews. Actor Zoe Boesen has since been nominated for a Green Room Award for her incredible performance as Matron.

"Fallen remains an extended engagement with a fascinating piece of history, briskly designed and atmospheric” - The Age
“Hats off to everyone involved in Fallen. It's a fabulous work.”
- ArtsHub, 4 stars
"The fallen women find their feet in this uncompromising production. Penny Harpham’s direction is flawless with a superbly cast assemble of women.” - Theatre People, 4 ½ stars

  • wit incorporated - to produce a season of ‘Ophelia Thinks Harder’ by Jean Betts, a play that looks at the progress made in gender equality over the past two decades.
    Outcome: Centuries after Shakespeare penned Hamlet, more often than not productions of his works stick with tradition and stage Shakespeare with 400-year-old gender roles. wit incorporated set out to shake that up a bit with this production of Jean Betts’ fast paced, feminist love story, that takes the characters of Shakespeare's Hamlet through the looking glass and back again. ‘Ophelia Thinks Harder’ was staged in November 2018 in the Bluestone Church Arts Space to high acclaim, receiving a number of positive reviews.

"A fine cast of dedicated actors fill the length and breadth of this enchanting production. Clarke’s Ophelia is whimsical yet defiant; her strength lies in her questioning rather like Alice in Wonderland. The Queen (Jennifer Piper) is superbly outrageous and pompous; she too derives from the same source, bearing her signature hearts and off the cuff ridiculous statements. This is an entertaining theatrical experience that is rollickingly good fun absorbing and captivating production." - Stage Whispers

Creative Development Program Recipients 2017

The following Creative Development Residencies were awarded in 2017.

  • Anvil Productions - to creatively develop a new work exploring women’s experiences of being judged for their appearance, and societal expectations to confirm and please others, under the working title of ‘Resting Bitch Face’.
    Outcome: A 'work-in-progress' showing took place on 3 March 2017 following a three week intensive creative development residency. Following the residency, further development funding was applied for as the MCC residency proved there was a need for further dramaturgical development of the work.
  • ILBIJERRI  Theatre Company - to develop ‘Coranderrk’ in preparation for a national tour from April-June 2017.
    Outcome: Although ILBIJERRI had presented this work previously at Belvoir in Sydney and Northcote Town Hall in Melbourne, the Creative Development Residency was used to completely rewrite the script ahead of a National Tour which took place April-June 2017. The new version of the production brought on a new director (Eva Grace Mullaley, an exciting young Indigenous director and national convenor of the Blackfella Performing Arts Alliance) and a new (smaller) all Indigenous cast (Trevor Jamieson, Mathew Cooper, Ebony McGuire & Jesse Butler). After the development Ilbijerri Theatre Company took the production to the National Theatre in St Kilda for a final rehearsal period before the opening of the tour. A public showing of the development of Coranderrk was presented on 7 April 2017.

“What ILBIJERRI is able to take from this painful history is a story of resistance and of strength.” - The Age, 4 stars

  • Moral Panic - to develop a performance text for a new work titled ‘Love/Chamberlain’ by Bridget Mackey.
    Outcome: "The Bluestone Church Arts Space development allowed us to test out new writing on the floor, and provided space and time to expand on these discoveries. In November 2017 we closed a development season of six public performances at Canberra’s Ainslie & Gorman Arts Centre. Thanks to these opportunities, we now have a strong first draft of our script." Bridget Mackey
    2019 Update: Love / Chamberlain by Bridget Mackey was presented at Theatre Works between 10-20 October 2019


Creative residencies are also available at Footscray’s Artsbox.