Trapper has received two Green Room nominations for-
* Lighting Design by the incredible Paul Lim 
* Ensemble with our brilliant cast Rachel Perks, Naomi Rukavina, Hamish Irvine and Daniel Schlusser

Director Christian Leavesley on Trapper's nominations-

"I couldn't be prouder of the whole Trapper team.  Trapper demanded a lot from all of the artists who collaborated on its creation.  Our ambition was to create a show that speaks to a high school age audience with ideas, physicality and vocal form that makes them want to come to the theatre. The young people we worked with to develop Trapper told us we succeeded. 

It is really terrific that our industry peers also recognise that success.  Trapper is the kind of work Arena wants to be known for.  I thank all of our incredible supporters, especially Arts Centre Melbourne. And once again, I congratulate Arena's outstanding artists on the much deserved recognition."

Do we live in a prison or playground?

Four performers battle each other inside a series of giant sculptural machines, hoping to discover the proof of free will.

Using slam poetry and demanding physical agility, the performers make their arguments from within the body of the machines – simultaneously asking; are we in control or being controlled? Trapper investigates the complex relationship humans have with the systems we embrace, inhabit and fight against.

Created by Christian Leavesley and Jolyon James with writings by playwright Angus Cerini and poet Emilie Zoey Baker, Trapper is aimed at young adults (14+)

Trapper world premiered in August 2017 at Arts Centre Melbourne and toured to the Sydney Opera House in April 2018.



Created By Christian Leavesley and Jolyon James

Director Christian Leavesley

Text Angus Cernini, Emilie Zoey Baker, Christian Leavesley and Jolyon James

Design Jolyon James

Sound Design and Composition Ania Reynolds

Video Design Sean Healy

Lighting Design Paul Lim (Additive)

Costume Design Matilda Woodroofe

Set Construction Additive

Movement Director Ashlea Pyke

Production Management Paul Lim

Stage Management Anna Pidgeon

Assistant Stage Manager Julia Orlando

Executive Producer Sheah Sutton

Education and Programs Manager Alexandra Macalister-Bills


2018 - Sydney Opera House

Rachel Perks, Hamish Irvine, Daniel Schlusser, Simone French

2017 - Premiere Season - Arts Centre Melbourne

Rachel Perks, Hamish Irvine, Daniel Schlusser, Naomi Rukavina



Reviews & Audience feedback

"The ideal space for a work exploring identity in the internet age" 

John Bailey, Real Time  

(Read More.)

"10/10 would recommend! Thank you for an awesome and inspiring experience!"

Young Adult Audience Member

"Trapper was amazing, it was very relatable and inspiring. Thank you so much."

Young Adult Audience Member

"It was moving, thought provoking, engaging, artistic and wonderful. I loved it."

Young Adult Audience Member

"A marvellous work for young people that experienced with great sophistication the complexity of being a human."

Adult Audience Member

Image Credit: John Fish

Previous Seasons

Trapper had its World Premiere at Arts Centre Melbourne in August 2017.

The Poems

Trapper is composed of a series of spoken word poems written by Emilie Zoey Baker, Angus Cerini, Jolyon James and Christian Leavesley. Their titles are as follows:

Sally Woke Up - Emilie Zoey Baker

Life Hack - Emilie Zoey Baker

Big Bang - Angus Cerini

I Wish I Never Worshipped The Future - Emilie Zoey Baker

F in Family - Jolyon James

Moth Jam - Emilie Zoey Baker

Habit is an Autopilot - Christian Leavesley

Parkitectural - Jolyon James/Angus Cerini

Read the Signs - Jolyon James

Elephants - Jolyon James

I Am - Emilie Zoey Baker/Jolyon James

For a copy of the poems please contact


Education Notes

Education Notes have been designed as a resource for educators and students wishing to both prepare to see Trapper and further engage with the performance and concepts presented after the show.

Any questions please email

Please note teaching notes for NSW Sydney Opera House season will be available from the Sydney Opera House in February.

Creative Development


The Trapper Schools Workshop is a companion piece to Arena’s new performance work Trapper, premiering at Arts Centre Melbourne in August, 2017.

The Trapper Schools Workshop is designed to activate students to explore the same ideas in a workshop context. Students will work with Arena Theatre Company’s artists to explore concepts of autonomy and agency within their own life. They will be encouraged to think about what influences their decision making, considering both conscious and hidden influences. Students will then be guided by Arena’s artists to write their own unique spoken word performance in response to these provocations.

The Trapper Schhols Workshop is available through Regional Arts Victoria (RAV) for regional and rural schools and Arts Centre Melbourne for metropolitan schools. 

Please see the Trapper Schools Workshop page for more information or contact

Schools Development

Early October 2014 Arena travelled to East Gippsland where we spent a day working at 5 schools - Bairnsdale Secondary College, Swifts Creek P12 College, Cann River P12 College, Mallacoota P12 College and Orbost Secondary College.

Together Arena Artists built some incredible cascading machines with students aged anywhere between 8 - 17. They explored ideas of independence and decision making and looked at the systems they live their lives within (or outside of).

Huge thank you to all schools and students involved. Incredibly inspiring experience.



Arena gratefully acknowledges the support of Arts Centre Melbourne, the Australia Council for the Arts and the City of Melbourne towards the creative development, rehearsal and premiere season of Trapper.

Arena would like to thank the Besen Family Foundation and Helen Macpherson Smith Trust for their contributions towards the creative development of Trapper.