Renovations at Dust Temple, Currumbin are well under way, and with the promise of a full commercial kitchen and tables out the front, events at the Dustie are starting to look a lot more exciting and frequent. Something I personally would like to see more of is theatre sports. Yep, theatre sports. Dust Temple hosted the hilarious Battle of the Words as part of Somerset Celebration of Literature and Bleach* Festival, and the intimate setting was just perfect for the high energy silliness of this theatrical improv.

Most Gold Coast audiences would be unaware that there is a professional (yes they get paid) theatre sports troupe based in Brisbane. As part of the Sit Down Comedy Club, the four performers joined fast-talking MC Roger Beames at Dust Temple on the night to provide coaching and support for three student teams from the Gold Coast, followed by their own hysterically funny improv.

Roger Beames describes theatre sports as “a performance version of improv”. Of the student teams, he says “they were very gutsy to get up. They know the form or game involved in theatre sports, but the subject matter is new to them on the night”.

The three teams chose the names Tension of the Task, Fancy Pants and Peasant, and the subject matter of each game was chosen by the audience. The students were already familiar with the game formats and had three minutes to perform whatever subject matter was thrown at them.

Games included ‘Death in a Minute’ in a firetruck and at a random breath test, ‘I Love You’ in a public swimming pool and on Hamilton Island, and ‘Double Figures’ (one person sits in front with arms behind back; another person sits behind performing all the arm gestures) about a camera that only takes good photos, and insects as the food of the future.

Judges Patrick Lyon and Katrina Fischer (organiser) declared Tension of the Task and its team captain, Anna Harris, as the winner on the night. Then it was onto the pros performing high energy malarkey in such forms as an opera about a chef on a train making poisonous spaghetti bolognaise (thank you audience!). As a hapless victim of the chef’s poison lies dead on the stage, a baritone booms “Don’t make an assumption about your consumption”.

Theatre Sports Queensland runs a youth theatre sports festival every year. There are about 40 teams from South East Queensland but only two from the Gold Coast and one from the Sunshine Coast. Hopefully more events like Battle of the Words will encourage more performance based improv in our backyard.


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