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This Matilda Award-winning production helped its creators secure a contract with the 2018 Commonwealth Games Arts Festival.


Gold Coast-based performance company Shock Therapy Productions received investment from the Queensland Arts Showcase Program (Ignite) to create, produce and perform their new work, Viral.   

Viral explores the role of social media and technology and how it impacts the way we record, communicate and think about racism, abuse, violence and sexual assault in the community. 

The show was developed through a series of community consultation workshops aimed at gathering true accounts of acts of discrimination against marginalised groups.

The company produced two versions of the show – one mainstage and one that toured secondary schools. This gave the company flexibility in presenting the work as well as an additional income stream. 


June to September 2016


Mainstage season: Arts Centre Gold Coast

Schools Touring: Brisbane, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Moreton Bay region, Sunshine Coast. 

Key stats

  • 10 Queensland artists/arts workers supported
  • 17 performances
  • 1,895 attendees

Arts Queensland contribution

$40,375 – Queensland Arts Showcase Program – Ignite


  • Viral won the 2016 Matilda Award for Best Independent Production and was nominated for another three 2016 Matilda Awards: Best New Australian Work, Best Lead Actor – Sam Foster, Best AV Design – Nathan Sibthorpe. This critical recognition contributed to a number of early bookings for Viral to tour secondary schools in 2017.
  • Creating, producing and performing Viral strengthened Shock Therapy Productions’ existing partnership with the Arts Centre Gold Coast and also developed new partnerships with other artists, professionals, venues and community groups.
  • Viral has also been published by PlayLab.


Shock Therapy Productions share some of their successes and challenges in producing the new work: 

We are very pleased with the creative team that we assembled and the calibre of the work they contributed to the piece. They all demonstrated a wonderful work ethic and we were able to create a vibrant and productive work environment.

We feel that structure of the creative process and workflow for the development of Viral worked effectively. The time in between the creative developments and the rehearsal period allowed for reflection and perspective.

We pushed ourselves to expand our skill set and we were required to learn many new skills in order to deliver this project.

The only challenge was the size and ambition of the project. In hindsight, we would have liked more time to work with all the technical elements of the show (lights, sound and AV). There were some ideas that conceptually sounded good but, in reality, were either not achievable or we simply ran out of time to execute them.

With this project, we achieved everything we set out to and exceeded our own expectations for the way the show was received by the public and our industry peers. 


What next?

After representatives from the Commonwealth Games creative team saw Viral at the Arts Centre Gold Coast, Shock Therapy Productions secured a contract to write and produce a new original work as part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games Arts Festival. 

Welcome to Sameville, an interactive theatre experience, will have its world premiere in April 2018.

Find out more



Blue Curtains Brisbane: Viral review

Blank Gold Coast - Viral review  

A pdf version (PDF) (305.23 KB) of this case study is available.