Optimal Stopping Lands at the Wollongong Town Hall stage


Optimal Stopping

Merrigong Theatre Company

Merrigong Theatre Company, Proper Motion & La Infinita Compañia are proud to present the world premiere of a brand-new dance work, Optimal Stopping at Wollongong Town Hall from Thursday 30th March to Saturday 1st April 2023, as part of the 2023 MERRIGONGX Artists’ Program.

After months of planning via Zoom, seven Mexican and five local professional dancers will perform together for the first time on stage at Wollongong Town Hall.


Without the benefit of hours of in-person rehearsal, audiences will witness dancers use their finely tunedinstincts and superior skills in terms of navigating space, choreography, and relationships in thrilling real time.

Director Lisa Maris McDonell said “Optimal Stopping grew out of a promise made in 2018 between myself and La Infinita Compañia’s Raúl Tamez to work together on a project. I contacted Raúl in early 2020 with an idea to create a work that would only ever be rehearsed remotely, with the first time the work was performed in person to be witnessed by audiences (at the time of course not knowing when that would be).

Raúl and five of Mexico’s finest dancers attended via Zoom over a number of weeks to learn the work alongside a group of professional dancers from Wollongong. Optimal Stopping sits somewhere between improvisation and choreography with the dancers following a set of instructions as a score. Essentially the audience will witness the dancers getting to know each other and the work during the performance while they respond to the space, the score and each other.”

Merrigong’s Artistic Development Manager Leland Kean said “After Lisa’s brilliant and hilarious dive into the world of contemporary performance and art in 2022, with The Lobster ($20 Commission Project), it’s amazing to have her back on our stage with an outstanding ensemble of performers from the Illawarra and South America in the first-ever MERRIGONGX international co-production.

Like Lisa’s previous works, this production is everything MERRIGONGX is about, experimental, challenging, and spontaneous. I can’t wait to see what happens when these two amazing groups of performers meet for the very first time.”

From in-house creative developments to full-blown public presentations of new work, and everything in between, MERRIGONGX provides independent artists with financial, technical, marketing and artistic resources.


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