Company Profile:

Theatre and Dance

The company works in an experiential, very intimate, psycho-physical language where reduction to the absolute core of intent is a central motivation (this might be considered its process). Whilst personal revelation, and theatrical investigation produces works that are original, intimate, and often very revealing, with Rainsford’s vision the works are broadened into metaphorical pieces that can be considered universal. A strong element of stage design and ritual informs each work and this exemplifies the visual strength of Chapel of Change’s art.

Chapel of Change, as its name implies, is a company that tends to defy categorisation. The company has several theatre & dance works available for staging:-


THE DESCENT and TEAROOM are award winning productions, with THE DESCENT the most travelled, having been performed around the world for ten years.

THE NIGHTGARDENER has possibly been the companies most prolifically transient work (and some would say most notorious) as its contextual structure requires the inclusion of material inspired by the cultural ‘garden’ in which it is being performed. In La Paz, for example, we invited into the work - directly off the street - four Lustre Botis, (shoe shine boys) with the translation into Spanish of several text pieces. This stage experience for these street boys was their first time ever inside a theatre.


It has often been commented upon that the companies theatre works are very ‘filmic’ and this comes not by the use of film images on stage, but from a sensory, visual ‘dramatic’ that its audiences experience.

The company has recently completed the production of its first feature length film, ‘Mother Mary Sex & Death.’ Officially Selected for the Vladivostok International Film Festival; Russia. This was its world premier, (September 2012).

With other film works currently in production, the company’s artistic director, Rainsford has a genuine interest in the visual immediacy of film (‘Tree of Humility’) He started his artistic career as a visual artist and experimental filmmaker.



The following individuals have been directly responsible for thousands of people around the world experiencing our work, and equally importantly; showing us vital support for our art through times of hardship. It is a privilege to applaud these people as genuine supporters, and believers in the power of art.

Kay Walls: a woman like no other, produced the first season of ‘The Descent’.

Ross Schumacher: original thinker, produced the transitional season of ‘The Nightgardener’.

Derek Crawley: bounced our first international tour.



Michel Chalmers, Thomas Kaupinnen, Nick Stamatiou, Vick Sant, Nicholas Sherman ACS, Francine Secretan.

Richard Martin: Theatre Toursky, Marseille

Nidal al Ashkar: Masrah al Madina: Beirut



Change Studio: in memory of a Fitzroy home.

Change Studio was the company’s iconic Melbourne home for ten years; the studio was situated on the first floor of a building that housed one of Melbourne's oldest funeral parlours and morgues: W.G.RAVEN.

Throughout the nineties Change Studio was renowned as a home for experimental and underground performance works in Melbourne; remembered mostly for Rainsford's controversial Sweet Flowers of Perversity, Stephen Weirs ' The Invisible Well' and the brutally explicit cabaret series of performances titled 'The Last Supper'.

It was also one of the first Melbourne studios dedicated to the exploration of Butoh, and experiential movement based theatre; with classes run weekly by Yumi Umiamare and Rainsford, and International practitioners of Butoh invited to run workshops.

Often as rehearsals were being conducted on the studios famous red timber floor; coffins could be seen being delivered to the Morgue below, and the dead leaving in Hearses.

Gerry Lonergon, owner of the Funeral Parlour and the Studio's landlord had a quirky Irish protagonists relationship with the company; whilst he often worried about the illegalities of underground performances when sometimes hundreds of people squeezed into the studio, he helped make it possible to maintain a professional fulltime and independent theatre and dance company on these premises by keeping the rent far below its real estate value.

In a bizarre twist of fate, after the building was sold to Developers; on the same afternoon as Mary Salem, Rainsford and other company members rang sacred bells as they departed Change Studio for the last time, Gerry Lonergon died of a long term illness.

Here we remember and thank Gerry for his Irish support of our Art.