“OUTER URBAN PROJECTS… delivers a successful platform for disparate and often unheard voices with a performative aplomb that speaks eloquently to a sophisticated Melbourne theatre audience.”


Poetic License is a performance work about the power and limitations of words.

2,500 years ago Slam Poetry was born.

A god descends to the underworld to resurrect a dead poet back to life to save the city from war and ruin. And now the need has again arisen – Our world, our city, our neighbourhood – is in need of poetry and a great poet to save it. A leader, an inspirer, an orator.  A unique theatrical take on Aristophanes’ ancient Greek masterpiece ‘The Frogs’,  an impressive array of writers, performers and musicians combined to reveal the power and limitations of words and to wrangle the timeless question – Can the spoken word move and inspire. Can it change anything?

Director, Concept and Dramaturg Irine Vela

Poetic License features the talents of Komninos Zervos, Irine Vela, Grace Vanilau, Ebony MonCrief, Ileini Kabalan, Koraly Dimitriadis, Piriye Altraide, Maryanne Sam, Rod Quantock, Genevieve Fry, Natalia Mann (solo harp), Mahmoud Samoun aka Babz, Kevin Nugara aka Spitfire, Dante Sofra, Mulaim Vela, Iakovos Papadopoulos, Pascal Latra, and Natalia Mann.

Poetic License debuted in the Melbourne Writers Festival (2014) and had subsequent seasons at Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre (2015) and fortyfivedownstaris (2017) and is currently in development for a residency in Athens.

Developed with support from Creative Australia, Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne, Footscray Community Arts Centre, Melbourne Writers Festival, Merri-bek City Council, Inner North Community Foundation and Outer Urban Projects school and community partners.


"The work is electric. It is rich with story and has an amazing life force. Perhaps this has  to do with the performers having something quite ethereal, a kind of hunger, a passionate need to express themselves.  It is a mix of forms and styles bound together by tight and fearless choreography.  It is vibrant. There's an element of great joy which I have rarely witnessed in any performance. It's contagious. And the contagion works to excite and at times boisterously enthuse an entire audience. And it's an audience which is unlike most theatre audiences. It is filled with people, often entire families from grandparents to small children, and like the performers on stage, from cultural backgrounds from all over the world. It's a true and powerful reflection of who we are."


“There's talent and charisma here in abundance: powerhouse mother-of-two Grace Vanilau talking of strength in education, Mahmoud Samoun's cheeky "milking" of his cerebral palsy, seasoned poet Komninos Zervos's political polemics delivered like sermons. The performers enjoyment is palpable and it proves infectious.”

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