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. Details below.



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 Emily O'Brien

Stage Management Pippa Wright

Executive Producer Sheah Sutton

Performers: Rachel Perks, Hamish Irvine, Daniel Schlusser, Naomi Rukavina

Education and Programs Manager Alexandra Macalister-Bills

Assistant Stage Manager Julia Orlando, on internship from the Faculty of VCA and Music, Production Course

Intern Grace Ulrich, on internship from Monash University

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

World Premiere: Arts Centre Melbourne

WHERE: Arts Centre Melbourne - Fairfax Studio


Thursday 3 August: 7pm

Friday 4 August: 7pm

Saturday 5 August: 3pm & 7pm


Wednesday 2 August: 10:30am & 1pm

Thursday 3 August: 12:30pm

Friday 4 August: 12:30pm

DURATION: 65 min plus 15 minute post-show Q&A

PRICE: $22

FOR: Ages 14+


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 and Programs Manager Alexandra Macalister-Bills:


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 Education and Programs Manager Alexandra Macalister-Bills

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 Education and Programs Manager Alexandra Macalister-Bills on

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.