Concept and Direction: Sam Chester
Devised and Performed by: Graduating Acting Students 2019 WAAPA
Production and Stage Manager: Emily Stokoe
Lighting Designer: Rhiannon Petersen


Atlas is a devised movement theatre work inspired by Jeanette Winterson’s book Weight. The Greek myth — in which Altas is condemned to hold up the sky for eternity — is inventively reimagined for our contemporary times through physically-driven performance that explores what we carry from family, culture, in love, across borders and boundaries.

Music by Mary Ocher:
Image Credit: Bryn Parish-Chapman

Atlas’ explores the ties that bind through movement-based performance

Not using any throwaway packaging, from plastic wrapping to takeaway cups, was just one of a number of challenges that WAAPA’s 2nd Year Acting students undertook when they started rehearsals for their upcoming devised theatre piece, Atlas.

Director Sam Chester explains that tasks like this provide the raw material from which Atlas, performed at Mount Lawley Senior High School’s Tricycle Theatre from Friday, 16–Thursday, 22 March 2018, will be created.

“The students bring these experiences into the rehearsal room and we start to build choreographies, writing and theatrical frames to explore their responses,” she says. “To hear and be shown what is important to these incredible young people and what stories they want to tell as artists – in words, in action and as a provocation for change – has been incredibly moving.”

Chester, a WAAPA Lecturer in Movement, took her inspiration for the show from award-winning writer Jeanette Winterson’s novel, Weight, which is in turn based on the Greek myth of Atlas, who was condemned by Zeus to hold up the sky for eternity.

“I wanted to ask the question in this day and age how are young people to bear the weight and responsibility of this contemporary life, as they are faced with an increasing conservative stance on so many issues such as the rights of refugees, climate change and cost of living,” she says.

Chester explains that although inspired by Winterson’s book, this movement theatre work will have its heart in the students’ stories: of how they see family, the ties the bind and the issues that influence them most as they navigate their lives socially, politically and personally.

However this doesn’t mean the show will be without a quirky, funny side.

“We already have a garbage monster in the show,” laughs Chester.“ Atlas promises to be visually beautiful, honest and just a little bit strange!”

Don’t miss this creative reimagining of the Atlas myth, made relevant for our contemporary times through an inventive physically-driven performance that explores what we carry from family, culture, in love, across borders and boundaries.

WAAPA’s production of Atlas is proudly supported by the Mindaroo Foundation.