Image: Duncan Wright

The New Bachelorette

Julia Hales and Bron Batten

“Bron and I have very different backgrounds… Working with Bron helped me a lot… I learnt the importance of drawing from personal experiences to inspire my work and ideas.” Julia Hales

“The collaboration with Julia and the Bachelors has taught me the value of patience, listening, navigating processes with care and centring marginalised voices and perspectives.” Bron Batten

2022 was a watershed year for both Julia and Bron – each presented work in London and Edinburgh in the acclaimed UK/AU Season.

Julia Hales has paved the way for other disabled artists to forge their own careers. She has grown new opportunities, shared skills and resources among peers and allies. The New Bachelorette further develops the cohort of artists (our bachelors) who are committed to sharing their stories on stage.

In 2018, Perth Festival, Black Swan State Theatre Company and DADAA co-commissioned You Know We Belong Together, in which Julia powerfully articulated her life story, celebrating the lives of people with Down syndrome. The premiere season sold-out and Black Swan remounted in 2019. In 2022, the production was presented at London’s South Bank Centre, the Edinburgh International Festival and Sydney Opera House.

Bron Batten’s canon of internationally presented work includes Waterloo and Onstage Dating. She is an artist who combines innovation with a great humanity and is a perfect collaborator for Julia. Bron is a multi award-winning performer and theatre-maker who creates contemporary performance in collaboration with non-artists and audiences. Her work is based in live art practices of participation, improvisation and direct address to create a live, vibrant and unique energetic exchange with the public. In addition to the multi-stage development process behind The New Bachelorette, Bron has been an instrumental contributor to a major work in development with acclaimed Back to Back Theatre. She introduced Julia and the ensemble to new ways of working, devising and collaborating, leading The New Bachelorette to become a work for the ages.


The New Bachelorette is a collaboration between award-winning theatre artists Julia Hales and Bron Batten. It is an innovative piece of contemporary performance exploring love, dating and relationships. It reimagines the reality TV franchise, with Julia – an actor with Down syndrome – starring as the bachelorette. She will date men with differing abilities live on stage.

Our world premiere season will take place in 2024. We have confirmed pre-production and commissioning support with several partners including Perth Festival, RISING Festival, Sydney Opera House and Hong Kong’s No Limits disability arts festival. We are pitching this work now to attract additional commissioning partners while there is time. Due to the anticipated scale of the work and access needs of the ensemble – it will be important to develop strong and understanding relationships with potential presenters, and to start factoring logistics and appropriate budget allocations in to their planning as soon as possible.

In our society, it is a subversive act to present a person with a disability as an object of desire. The New Bachelorette challenges biases and stereotypes, utilising the format of a reality TV show, using the genre’s recognisable tropes and conventions to encourage the viewer to question their own inherent prejudices, generating vital conversations around disability and dating.

The most recent developments experimented with the meta themes of agency, choice and control. Who is in charge of this work? How does this parallel with what is actually happening for disabled people seeking intimacy and relationship in their lives? Fantastical elements of the work have emerged with the artists experimenting with camera and green screen technology. The New Bachelorette dates became fun and playful between Julia and the bachelors through image and sound.

We want audiences to be drawn into this work through interactive and spontaneous moments embedded in intriguing storylines. Through a reality television lens, a combination of live and pre-recorded screen-based performance will generate moments of laughter, fantasy, joy, and intimacy. There will be uncomfortable and disruptive moments.

At the heart of the work are performers who share their lived experience of loneliness, dating and intimacy, stories that will resonate in the hearts and minds of audiences, at a scale we haven’t yet seen on Australian stages.

Session Times
PROFILE: Here’s Our Idea
Friday 9 June, 11:30am AEST


Jeremy Smith
Performing Lines