The Fish Bowl

Presented by Stephanie Daughtry & Matthew Barker


How does a person with Dementia experience the world? How can we better connect with people in the often challenging environment of aged care?

This award-winning experimental theatre piece explores communication, ageing, and identity through the real-life stories of people living with Dementia in a South Australian memory unit.

“The Fish Bowl” is a metaphor for the voyeuristic, circular nature of the daily routine for people living in aged care and those that work alongside them. The play celebrates the rich character’s you find in aged care, the wisdom they impart, and the ways in which carers and nurses can find creative new forms of communication.

In 2022 The Fish Bowl won the BankSA Award for Best Theatre and Physical Theatre and the Holden Street Theatres Award.

Tickets available through HSTBO the Holden Street Theatres Box Office and adelaidefringe.com.au

Previous Praise for The Fish Bowl

★★★★ "terrific new play" - The Advertiser

★★★★ "an important work which should be powerfully supported and, perchance, soon seen by every care worker in the world" - Barefoot Review

Cast & Crew

Matthew Barker (Multiple Characters)

Evie Leonard (Multiple Characters)

Steph Daughtry (Nurse/Carer)

Creative Team

Director - Steph Daughtry

Concept and Playwright - Matthew Barker

Composition and Sound Designer - Kiah Gossner

Film Installation - Steph Daughtry

About the Company

Fish Bowl Productions is a newly formed entity which is interested in the intersection between scientific research and the lived experience of people living with disability or difference. The company was formed by Director/Producer and multi-disciplinary artist Steph Daughtry, and Writer/Performer Matthew Barker. Their first piece of documentary style immersive theatre “The Fish Bowl” explores the lived experience of Dementia in aged care and won the Adelaide Fringe Best Theatre & Physical Theatre Award, and the Holden Street Theatre Award at its debut in 2022.

Creator's Note

Currently more than 436,000 Australians live with dementia and without a medical breakthrough this is estimated to increase to more than one million by 2058 (Dementia Australia’s Strategic Plan 2018). Dementia is the greatest cause of disability for people over 65 years of age in Australia with 52% of people in Aged Care being affected. The 2021 Royal Commission into Aged Care findings triggered both local and national conversations into the way our society treats older people. Often this conversation becomes politicised while ignoring the voices of people who are affected by the system. This production speaks straight to the heart of how we can better value and connect with some of the most vulnerable people within our society through telling their versions of the story.

The Fish Bowl has been made in direct consultation and collaboration with a local Adelaide nursing home, where playwright Matthew Barker has worked and built relationships with patients, families and staff over the past six years. While working as a Carer, Matthew (BCA Drama Centre) has recorded conversations and written down interactions between healthcare professionals and residents from the home. These recorded interactions illustrate both heartbreaking moments of miscommunication, and glowing moments of connection. During Matthew’s time as a divisional therapist he has come to comprehend how misunderstood dementia is within our local community and how traditional communication styles have become a barrier to accessing vital wisdom.

Stephanie’s directing style utilises a devised theatre technique which constructs story, themes and emotional arc through workshopping in direct practice-led collaboration with actors. She masterfully adopts immersive and interactive techniques to connect with audiences, encouraging a deeper connection between with story.

The Fish Bowl



Genre: Theatre & Physical Theatre

Origin: SA

Rating: MA15+

Duration: 60 Mins

Season: Fringe 2023

Dates: 7 - 19 Mar

7 - 12 Mar @ 6:00pm
11 Mar @ 12:30pm
14 - 19 Mar @ 7:30pm

General Admission: $35.00
Concession: $30.00
Group (6+): $30.00
Schools Program: $25.00
Fringe Member: $17.50

Companion Card holders welcome.

Venue: The Studio

32-34 Holden Street, Hindmarsh


HST is making every effort to make our performances accessible to all patrons. Accessible seating is available in The Studio.

Soccer matches effect parking please click here for information and fixture dates.


HST is incredibly excited to present a safe and secure experience at the theatre. To ensure public safety we encourage social distancing and good hygiene practices. As and when restrictions are implemented by SA Health we will follow those guidelines. Only attend the event if you are feeling well, and If you have any COVID-19 symptoms please ensure you appropriate measures until you recover.

If you are unable to attend your event please call 8225 8888 or email manager@holdenstreettheatres.com to discuss your ticketing options.

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