Present Tense creates stories, songs, and events that may inspire, educate and disrupt the communities we are immersed within.  

Through our work we engage our collective energy, passion and creativity, and we actively share our work and our practice. In this way we consider our performances immersive.

Led by Artistic Directors Nathan Gilkes & Bryce Ives, we are an ever-evolving tribe that collects new artists and new ideas as we travel on this journey.

Based in Melbourne, our vision is to train, collaborate, and make works around the world.

No two Present Tense works are alike in style, content or aesthetic.

The content of Present Tense has dealt with everything from creating a musical about cooking icon Margaret Fulton, an overnight performance experience on modern seafaring, investigating the codes of the music of J.S. Bach, to leading a large-scale book reading event with the Royal Children’s Hospital. Performances have taken place in theatres and also in site-specific locations such as historic gaols, basements of iconic Melbourne buildings, inside operating radio stations, town halls, gardens, a surf-life saving club and a jazz club.

Ongoing training is the cornerstone of our shared practice and the key to developing a mature, complex and responsive collaborative language.

Present Tense works include: Chants Des Catacombes a site-specific, macabre immersive music theatre experience for the Castlemaine State Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival; Margaret Fulton: Queen of the Dessert for Theatre Works, our ongoing pop music feast The Major Bruce SessionsFOMO: the Fear of Missing Out for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Underbelly program, Darebin Arts’ Speakeasy program for the Melbourne Comedy Festival and as a site-specific work at Radio Adelaide.

In 2015, Present Tense collaborated with arts and social change company Big hART with the Tasmanian International Arts Festival on devising the music and sounds of Blue Angel, with the Ballarat Arts Academy, Regional Arts Victoria and the Ballarat war veteran community on a re-imagining of Joan Littlewood’s Oh, What a Lovely War! as a town-wide series of activations and events in a project we entitled #LovelyWar; with Arena Theatre Company on a new performance work with young refugees recently arrived in Australia Common Ground; and Ricercar as part of Theatre Works Selected Works. Present Tense produces a monthly segment on ABC Local Radio around Australia, re-imagining pop music for the Rhianna Patrick Program.


  • We collaborate meaningfully with the artists we work with, the communities we engage within, with our partners and most importantly with our audience

  • We openly accept and embrace complexity and we champion big new ideas

  • We work in an open and inclusive way

  • We are responsive to the environment and the opportunities that surround us

  • We are rigorous and committed in our research, in our methodology, and in our work

  • We champion social justice, equality and reconciliation in all forms and in areas of our community

  • Our stories are urgent; we work only on stories that need to be told.

Interested in working together? You can contact our General Manager Em Roberts.
Here's our contact info.



43a Ballarat Street
Yarraville Victoria 3013