A playful performance work that burrows into pop culture’s most beloved stories and pulls the stuffing out of the orphan trope.

A wide-eyed fawn alone in the forest. A circus elephant who learns to fly using his ears. A powerful ice princess whose parents are lost at sea.

Movie theatres, books and comics are full of little lost orphans who depend on themselves, pluck up the courage for adventure and make a few wisecracking friends along the way. 

An orphaned character is the classic shortcut to depicting self-sufficiency, doe-eyed hijinks or the bumpy road to vengeance.

Of course, in reality, not everyone gets a happy ending. And the years don’t play as montages. But, for one hour, experimental art collective APHIDS make a lively new space with adults who’ve lost a parent to share some perfectly pleasant pathos. 

Everyday people drape themselves in outfits akin to orphan drag. Once in character they test the fiction, form temporary bonds, act out, and become their own protagonists.  


Created by APHIDS
Director/Lead Artist: Lara Thoms
Dramaturg: Mish Grigor
Producer: Anna Nalpantidis
Choreographer: Amrita Hepi
Costume Designer: Verity Mackey
Lighting Designer: Katie Sfetkidis
Video Artist: Solomon Thomas
Sound Design and Composition: Tom Smith and Rob Curulli
Stage Manager/Assistant Director: Cass Fumi
Assistant Stage Manager: Stefan Grudza
Production Manager: Nate Evers
Make Up Artist: Lily Swan
Assistant Make Up Artist: Kara Iacobellis
Costume Assistant / Maker: Lauren Hunter
Production Intern: Sylva Storm
Consulting Psychologist: Alana Fishman
Performers / Co-Devisors: Jason Hood, Panda Wong, Yoni Prior, Joshua Tavares, Robert Draffin, Roslyn Orlando, Josh Glanc, Amrita Hepi, Lara Thoms, Hallie Shellam, Tony Yap, Bron Batten, Alana Fishman and Elena Gomez.

OH DEER! was commissioned through RISING’s 2020 A Call to Artists initiative, a program supported by Creative Victoria and City of Melbourne and co-commissioned by Transform.

This project has been supported by the Besen Family Foundation, the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, the City of Melbourne, and Creative Victoria through its Creative Enterprises Program, the City of Melbourne through its ACIP program, and Creative Victoria through its Creative Enterprises Program.

Thank you to Minimum Wines and Mountain Goat Beer.

15 – 17 June as part of RISING, Melbourne
13 – 14 October as part of TRANSFORM, Leeds

Images by: Michael Pham and Anna Nalpantidis

Content warnings: This performance includes discussion of death, loss, grief.

APHIDS acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and Boon wurrung peoples on whose lands we live and work. Sovereignty was never ceded and we pay our respect to past, present, and future Aboriginal elders and community, and to their long and rich history of artmaking on this Country.