Counterpilot with Optikal Block and Critical Stages Touring

Directed by Nathan Sibthorpe

Technical Design – Christine Felmingham

Sound Design – Mike Wilmett

Lighting Design – Matt Cox

Software Design – Clinton Freeman

Video Design – Craig Wilkinson

Illustrations – Sean Dowling

Programming Assistance – Jeremy Gordon

Devised by: 
Nathan Sibthorpe, Craig Wilkinson, Sean Dowling, Christine Felmingham, Mike Willmett, Sarah Winter

An interactive game of mass participation for anyone willing to help!

Bad things are happening, and our heroes are at risk! From hungry sharks to deadly laser beams, danger is imminent and the only person who can stop it is you!

Designed to activate large, outdoor public spaces over several hours per night, spectators bear witness to a series of increasingly whimsical and perilous predicaments. It’s up to the audience of gathered bystanders to save our ensemble of delightful cartoon heroes, by rallying support and sending crucial key words from their smartphones.

Avoidable Perils is a new social experiment for anyone willing to help, made by Australia’s genre-defying transmedia theatre collective Counterpilot. A game for the masses, this work explores activism in the attention economy, and the challenge of largescale teamwork.

With inspiration spanning global rallies, online petitions, crowdfunding and democratic elections, Avoidable Perils combines gorgeous original animation with interactive game-play to explore the challenge of sweeping social cooperation towards a ‘greater good’. It’s a joyful and surprising game to be played by entire communities, and suitable for all-ages.

Avoidable Perils was created at the height of Australia’s COVID-19 pandemic and designed for a socially-distanced future.

Available to Tour

arTour is building tours for Queensland in 2022. Talk to us about national touring in 2022/2023.


Public Theatre, Immersive/Interactive, Multimedia


All Ages


Up to 3 hours, no interval necessary
Recommended experience time: 20-30 minutes

Venue Format

Intended for large scale projection on buildings or high-visibility areas. Can be presented on digital billboards or other screens.

Bump In & Touring Party Size

Varies. Site-dependent.
Usually second day open.

Previous Seasons

Darwin Festival, 2020 – 10 performances
Brisbane Festival, 2020 – 13 performances
Moncrief Entertainment Centre Bundaberg, 2020

Commissioned by Darwin Festival, Brisbane Festival and Metro Arts.

Selling Points and Audience

Key Audiences:

Families: Technology-driven outdoor storytelling the whole family can interact with

Festivals: Scalable and flexible to suit an array of locations and communities, this is a high-impact destination event for your future festival. Counterpilot will work in tandem with you to shape the performances to your spectator numbers and the audience’s interactive behaviour, ensuring the interactive nature of the work remains responsive and highly engaging wherever it is presented.

Marketing Selling Points

  • Technology-driven outdoor storytelling the whole family can interact with – a refreshing participatory arts experience.
  • Whole-town or street activation is possible, making it ideal for covid-sensitive consumers who are looking for innovative outdoor arts opportunities.
  • Enviable place-making potential. An excellent choice for post-covid reinvigoration.
  • Includes a companion website where participants can follow the plight of the heroes and compare their community’s score to others.

About Counterpilot

Counterpilot is a collective of interdisciplinary artists directed by Nathan Sibthorpe and including Mike Willmett (sound designer), Clinton Freeman (software designer), Christine Felmingham (technical designer), and Sarah Winter (production designer).

Together, they create interactive performance works, activating audiences with new technology, rich design, and transmedia storytelling. Counterpilot seeks to transform the familiar, juxtaposing rich fictional worlds against a backdrop of the everyday. By subverting real social circumstances, we co-opt our participants as authentic performers. In this way we are harnessing what we believe to be the most exciting thing about theatre – the live audience. Our works enable participants to observe themselves responding in real ways to hyper-real situations.

In 2017, Spectate was described as “a groundbreaking new production” (Absolute Theatre), and “spectacularly clever on so many levels, in a way probably never seen before” (Blue Curtains Brisbane). The following year, Crunch Time premiered at Next Wave Festival 2018 in Melbourne and went on to receive the Lord Mayor’s Award for Best New Australian Work at the 2018 Matilda Awards.

Counterpilot continues to produce interactive performance works that boldly experiment with new applications of technology. With interactive tools like geo-locative audio, SMS distribution networks, RFID voting systems and biometric sensors, Counterpilot seeks to put the audience at the centre of every performance experience – whether it be for physical journeys, experiential narrative, or heightened gameplay.

What They’re Saying

“Nathan Sibthorpe’s concept and design are obviously brilliant.” Cameron Woodhead, The Age

“”It is all ingenious, intricate and just about flawlessly realised.” Stage Whispers

Named one of the six must-see events of the Darwin Festival by Karryon Travel.

Recipient of The Lord Mayor’s Award for Best New Australian Work at the 2018 Matilda Awards