The critically acclaimed Trophy Boys is coming to Arts Centre Melbourne

by | Feb 5, 2024

Following sold out seasons and rave reviews, Trophy Boys – a queer black comedy and drag extravaganza set at a high school debating tournament, makes its Arts Centre Melbourne debut at the Fairfax Studio from 16-21 July.

It is the biggest night of Melbourne’s academic calendar, the Grand Final of the Year 12 Interschool Debating Tournament, and the all-boys team from the elite St Imperium college are ready to totally annihilate their sister school – until…

Performed by a female and non-binary cast in drag, the show unfolds in real time as the boys are locked in a classroom for their one-hour prep window and forced to argue ‘that feminism has failed women’.

Written by multihyphenate Emmanuelle Mattana (ABC’s Mustangs FC), Trophy Boys debuted to sold-out crowds at La Mama Theatre in 2022, followed by another sold-out season at fortyfivedownstairs in 2023.

Emmanuelle, who also performs as Owen in the show, first met the show’s director, Marni Mount (VCA Masters of Directing) at a national debating tournament in 2016.

“In high school I was a competitive debater. I loved it and I hated it. At the time, it was one of the few places I was allowed to be – and often even celebrated for being – the argumentative, outspoken, hugely nerdy, young queer woman I was”, said Emmanuelle.

In 2021, when accusations of historic sexual assault from a high school debating tournament in the 1980s were made public against then-Attorney General Christian Porter, Emmanuelle was compelled to revisit debating in the only way she knew how – storytelling, playwrighting, and a process of artistic queering that employs drag, satire and camp methodologies. From this Trophy Boys was born.

“At its core Trophy Boys is about shifting power and positioning marginalised people as front and centre in spaces from which they are normally excluded, in this instance, the boys clubs of elite private schools.

I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring our ‘little indie play that could’ to the gorgeous Fairfax Studio stage at Arts Centre Melbourne. It’s a thrilling opportunity to continue this conversation with a larger audience, and share with them the drama, the drag and plenty of laughs!” Emmanuelle continued.

Alongside the show’s staging at Arts Centre Melbourne, Trophy Boys is included in this year’s VCE Theatre Studies Playlist for Victorian Secondary School Students.

Trophy Boys will also tour to Geelong Arts Centre 14-15 June, Sydney’s Seymour Centre 19 June – 7 July and with more dates to be announced soon.

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