Nicola Gunn

In Spite of Myself
Feb 21 - 24, 2019

Get tickets Merrill Theater

Thu, Feb 21, 8 pm
Fri, Feb 22, 8 pm
Sat, Feb 23, 8 pm
Sun, Feb 24, 5 pm

Capacity: 300

This performance contains haze 


Special Two-for-One Package
$45 when you buy advance tickets to both Piece for Person & Ghetto Blaster  & In Spite of Myself 

Purchase the package →

General admission
$26 advance
$30 week of
$70 covers the average, per-ticket cost of staging a production at On the Boards

Discounted tickets
Under 25: $12 advance or $15 week of 
Seniors 65+: $23 advance or $25 week of 
TeenTix member: $5 

Sliding Scale Tickets
Tickets can be purchased on a sliding scale ($10-$70) for the Sun, Feb 24, 5 pm show

Get tickets →
Learn more about tickets and handling fees →

“While everyone was busy making contemporary works with children and venerating youth, I realised there was a whole demographic of under-utilised and invisible old people – and specifically old women – that I could put to work in my art. I give them something to do; they give me art: it’s as simple as that. I strongly believe in empowerment and giving overlooked demographics a voice. The old women in my show don’t talk necessarily, and they definintely aren’t getting paid, but they are being useful and I think there’s beauty in that.” 

Nicola Gunn

Join Nicola Gunn, as she presents her fictional self as the subject of a fictional retrospective of her fictional work. An unclassifiable excursion into the gap between woman and myth, Gunn’s work is a dazzling whirl of video, sculpture, illustration, photography, text, audience debate and live performance. With wry humour and a playful sense of the absurd, Gunn transforms an art exhibition into an interdisciplinary free-for-all, where her identity both as a person and an artist is moulded and reshaped before your very eyes. Immersive and entertaining, In Spite of Myself is a mind-bending exploration of the nebulous line between who we are, who we say we are and who we seem to be.

“This is a show, like Gunn’s others, that exists on many and complex levels: you can enjoy it simply as a funny clown show, or as a sophisticated comic metacritique examining the validity of art. And she is perhaps the first artist in history to provide live academic endnotes as a means of contextualising her buffoonery while she crawls into an onstage bed for a nap. It’s hilarious.”

— Van Badham, The Guardian

“She is a master of recursion. Gunn possesses, to a profound degree, the ability to suspend contradictory thoughts seamlessly in the same space. At the centre is her riveting performance, which enchants the audience from the moment she appears on stage. If ever an artist manages to have her cake and eat it too, it is Gunn, in spite of herself.” 


Watch a trailer

Nicola Gunn: In Spite of Myself Trailer

Related Programs

Fri, Feb 22: Post-Show Discussion with the Artist
Join us immediately after the 8 pm performance for a Q&A with artist Nicola Gunn. 

Sun, Feb 24, 5 pm: Childcare available for this performance
No babysitter? No problem! Sweet Pea Cottage School of the Arts will lead an arts workshop in our Studio Theater just for kids ages 2-10. Learn more


About the Artist

Nicola Gunn is a Melbourne-based performer, writer, director and dramaturge. Since 2002, she has been making works that blend performance, art, and anthropology to explore the fragility of the human condition with subversive humor. Her artistic practice is committed to institutional critique, social engagement, and generating works that activate the public sphere by questioning old ways of being or proposing new ones. She uses performance to reflect critically on its place in theatres, to examine power relations in existing organizations, and to consider the relevance and social function of art itself. The starting process is often a written text or idea imagined responding to a self-generated impulse to tell a story or explore a form. She draws mainly from her experience to create autobiographical fiction. Nicola’s work has been presented widely in Australia and has toured to Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States. 


In Spite of Myself was originally co-produced by Arts Centre Melbourne for Melbourne Festival and supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Photo Credit: Sarah Walker