Cardboard Manila: Within / Without

Published 11 June 2011 – City Hub, Sydney

Only a few years ago, the Phillipines had their own Arnold Schwarzenegger moment, electing their highest rating film star to President of the country. A few years before that, they were living under the draconian dictatorship of martial law. Such are the highs and lows of the country’s long history, making it a fascinating subject for artists and historians alike.

A new theatre installation at Blacktown Arts Centre called Within/Without explores just that, through a recreation of the city’s capital. The best thing is, it’s made entirely out of cardboard boxes. Deb Pollard, the co-creator, says the idea came about by accident. They wondered, “how about if we physically build the city of Manila? The materials happened to come from a recycle bin that was nearby and it ended up being our cardboard city.”

Visitors take a walking tour through the maze-like city to see re-enactments of important historical moments, the poverty of some of its citizens, and even meet the flashy Ms Phillipines. “They even get a bowl of food,” she says. “There’s a cook in our city as well.”

If you’ve been thinking about going from a drive out to Blacktown Arts Centre, there’s never been a better time.

Jun 22-Jul 2, Blacktown Arts Centre, 78 Flushcombe Rd, Blacktown, $20-30, artscentre.blacktown.nsw.gov.au