Pick Up Sticks by Asking for Trouble



Touring 18 - 29 October 2021

Asking for Trouble re-imagines childhood games to create a spectacular tangle of circus skills, sticks, rope and clown while they explore ideas of belonging and connection. The show is a small story of two travellers each arriving from a different place and each attempting to make a home for themselves, they accidently discover each other and through a series of games they find ways to communicate and connect.

Pick up Sticks is physical, ridiculous and relatable and is ideal for a school as a piece of theatre for students and teachers to enjoy together. This performance is particularly suitable for people who are deaf or speak English as a second language due to it’s highly visual nature.

Asking for Trouble (Luke O’Connor and Christy Flaws) have created four highly successful touring works for families, each work referencing a different kind of play observed while working with young people. Bubblewrap & Boxes began from the starting point of the endless play involved with a simple cardboard box, KAPOW! – the desire to be special/brave and the wonderful world of superhero admiration. FoRT explored children’s joy in using everyday objects to create spaces and stories to inhabit while The Bottle Collector was inspired by observing children and bottles, their delight in mixing up coloured potions, capturing small creatures and simply watching the light pass through them.

Pick up Sticks has been inspired by Christy’s recent directorial work with Circus Kathmandu. Within the creative development process Christy and the cast explored a number of children’s games that are played in Nepal and more specifically games that were played in the 80’s and 90’s when the artists and Christy were children. She noticed the similarities of games from our own childhoods, the shared resources - rope, sticks, chalk, rocks and bits of rubbish. In 2018 Asking for Trouble participated in a residency at Clunes primary school where they watched a number of the same games being played by young people in their own community.

This work is a meeting place of two interpretations of a term…

‘Pick up sticks’ to take all the things that you own and go and live in a different place” and ‘pick up sticks’ – where the object of the game is to pick up the most sticks. To begin the game, a bundle of sticks is randomly distributed so that they end up in a tangled pile. The more tangled the resulting disarray, the more challenging the game. We know through our own lived experiences and through our conversations with young people that the experience of ‘picking up sticks’ and moving to a new place is full of possibilities, it can be fun, exciting, overwhelming and at times terrifying.

We hope that young people will see images of their own experiences reflected back in a way that makes them feel that the theatre is a place for their stories and that treats their play with a sense of respect and artistry. We hope that teachers are inspired to incorporate more play into their classrooms and that everyone leaves feeling ready to hop, skip, jump and muck around outside!

Curriculum Links: The Arts English Technologies- Design and Technologies The Humanities- History Health and Physical Education

Capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking Personal and Social Ethical


Could you take all the things you own and go live in a different place?

Book now!

Metro: 18th Oct 2021 to 29th Oct 2021
Regional: 18th Oct 2021 to 29th Oct 2021

Asking for Trouble
Duration: 45 minutes
Artform: Circus / Physical Theatre
Minimum fee: $1200 + GST for up to 120 students. Additional students $10 per head.
Suitability: prep, Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4, Year 5
Term: Term 4
Booking info: Technical Requirements: Performance space minimum 4.5M x 6M, 4.5M Height. Access to power, sound system and basic lighting.
Teacher's Resource: PickUpSticks_TeacherResource_2021