One the Bear (OTB) is a game changing production for young people and audiences with radical hearts and curious minds. Pushing the boundaries of form, style and storytelling OTB shows at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Fairfax Studio as part of the Big World, Up Close and Families Winter/Spring programs this 8 – 10 August. It’s a neon saturated hyper-fairytale for the hip hop generation that seeks to decolonise via allegory and music.

One the Bear is the story of a young bear who wants more for her tribe. Set in a rubbish tip, where garbage sparkles and catches on beams from broken streetlights, One (Candy Bowers) and her best friend, Ursula (Nancy Denis ), get up to mischief, spit rhymes and mourn the dank life they lead. The two orphan cubs rail against living under Hunter law and dream of the days when bears were free; eating fresh fish rather than packaged fish-fingers.

In a stunning turn of events, One is thrust into the wild world of celebrity where everything she believes in is commodified and exploited.

Exploring themes of identity, body image, fame, friendship, oppression, colonialism, celebrity and the seduction of assimilation; this work was created by real-life sisters Candy Bowers and Kim Busty Beatz Bowers who together have been creating award-winning innovative theatre for over 15 years.

Written wholly in rhyme with infectious beats, full-stage projections and powerful performances, audiences are invited to enter a stunning dystopic world that far too closely parallels the very world we live in. This brave new piece of explosive theatre is guaranteed to burst your senses and expand your mind.

Arts Centre Melbourne’s year-round Families Program was launched in August 2009 and has grown in reputation to become highly respected nationally and internationally. Featuring intimate and large-scale theatre from some of the world’s most respected companies and a diverse range of interactive workshops, the program is robust and growing in size, scale and scope.

Arts Centre Melbourne’s highly acclaimed series Big World, Up Close amplifies vital voices in contemporary performance giving space for fierce storytellers to reclaim and reframe our view of the world today. These stories know no limits and are more urgent than ever. Woven from raw emotion, brutal truths and radical love each story speaks across the fault lines between ancestry and contemporary existence. This year, it turns the spotlight on First Nations artists from New Zealand, Canada and Australia, as well as those representing Cambodian, Malaysian and African diasporas – it’s a fearless new world in the making.

August 8 – 10