Democracy is getting hard to swallow. So it's time for a culinary referendum.

Crunch Time is a hi-tech ‘performance’ dinner party that plays with the idea of democracy. Audience members (limited to 12 only) use interactive tools to control a projector-mapped dining table. Over the evening, they are challenged to vote on which ingredients will be used in an elaborate multi-course meal. The food is prepared by a guest chef and the audience views the chef and preparation via live-feed-video from the kitchen. As the chef responds to audience demand, the chef’s ‘performance’ is projected live onto the dinner table, where our audience watch the consequences of their decisions unfold. But our kitchen is no place for MasterChefs – instead, each performance will co-opt individuals from public positions of leadership - local politicians, artistic directors and CEOs will take their turn to cook up requests from the dining room. Maple syrup in the pasta? Chocolate on the bacon? At the end of each course, the dish is divided up and served to the dinner guests. Here, the people face the repercussions in closeup. If willing, they eat the product of their combined choices of ingredients.

Venue Format
Theatre, Hall, Black Box Venue
Technical Rating
B, C
Touring Party

Crunch Time requires two nearby but separate spaces: a functioning commercial kitchen, and a mid-sized (min. 4mx8m) dining room with high ceilings (to accommodate truss up to 3.5m). These spaces need to be within 50m of each other, with access to electricity, refrigeration and cooking appliances (oven, stovetop, etc). The production will require exclusive access to the venue for two weeks. This includes 2-3 days of set-up and technical rehearsal (potentially including preview performances), before a public season of 10-12 performances. During this time, site inspections may be carried out when performances are not in session, but the production set-up will need to remain secure and unmoved. Set-up will include a truss arch, a large custom dining table, cabled cameras and microphones, a TV screen, LED lighting, projectors, and control desk.

Metro Arts and Counterpilot are working with Critical Stages Touring to deliver this production for tour in Queensland and nationally.


Metro Arts is developing the future of Australian contemporary arts practice, now.

Championing all contemporary art forms, the two core activities of the organisation are developing and co-presenting contemporary arts.

Company Website

Unique Selling Point

Crunch Time offers a uniquely interactive experience, empowering active participants. As a group, these twelve strangers get to know each other while navigating urgent tasks. Throughout the evening, participants share a five-course meal with drinks. The concept may appeal to audiences familiar with live escape rooms, reality tv programs or closed door restaurants. Use of technology is exciting and original, giving the work an instagram-friendly layer of spectacle. Guest chefs can contribute a celebrity factor. There is a sense of significance to the event that makes guests proud to have been in attendance.

Marketing Materials

Marketing collateral from Next Wave and Brisbane seasons, documentation images and footage, promotional video, reviews from past seasons. Performance seasons invoke a broader public narrative with the involvement of local guest chefs from positions of public leadership. Announcements of these individuals and rich media excerpts stimulate a secondary online audience, which feeds ticket sales. Rich social media content is produced and distributed throughout the season.

Community Engagement

Crunch Time is designed to leave an imprint. Guest chefs are co-opted from leadership positions within the local community, and rich media commemorates their contribution long after the performance itself. The story of each performance lives on as a real event that took place, being shared between chefs and audiences. This story echoes through social media, stimulating a novel discussion about the notion of leadership under challenging circumstances. Themes in this work are experienced in an active and accessible fashion, provoking a discussion about the mechanics of democracy through gameplay and allegory. Ideas about cooperation and respectful discourse are significant in today’s divisive political climate. Participants from varied political backgrounds are here encouraged to engage with the challenge of collective decision-making in a playful and neutral context. This broader narrative aspires to make a difference in communities, inspiring connectivity in debate despite the discomfort of difference. The touring team is equipped to deliver artist workshops in technical design, transmedia storytelling, and contemporary performance. Opportunities may also be available for an artist talk forum, enabling local communities to access the ideas in the work through anecdote and demonstration, even if they had not purchased a ticket.