Interact with history at Woolloongabba's magical speakeasy the Time Travel Cafe

Interact with history at Woolloongabba’s magical speakeasy the Time Travel Cafe

One would figure a Woolloongabba cocktail bar to be a pretty odd place to find a temporal anomaly, but what would we know? We’re no experts on time travel. What we do know is that the secretive souls at SpaceFold Technology are getting things primed and ready for the arrival of the Time Travel Cafe – a very special speakeasy that will soon be piercing the fabric of time to arrive at Canvas Club from May 5–23. Before it shuffles off to another point in the timeline, Brisbane locals are welcome to pop in for a drink and a chat with the cafe’s distinguished denizens. Keen to indulge your Dr. Who fantasies? Read on to get the low-down on this TARDIS full of tipples …

If you could attend a dinner party with any historical figure, living or dead, who would you choose? This age-old icebreaker and conversation starter formed much of the initial inspiration behind Brisbane’s newest immersive theatre experience the Time Travel Cafe, which kicks off its debut run at Canvas Club on Wednesday May 5. The adventurous concept is the brainchild of James Elliott and Kristian Santic – an experience-design professional and seasoned performance artist respectively – who are pooling their talents to create an open-ended interactive show set within the confines of the titular cafe. Conceived as a COVID-era pivot, the project looks to not only support performance artists with paid work, but also inject the hospitality scene with some theatrical verve as it recovers from recent lockdowns. To do this, James and Kristian have assembled a cast of versatile acting talent, with each cast member inhabiting the skin of a different larger-than-life historical figure that calls Time Travel Cafe their home. These personalities will collide in what Kristian describes as an anachronistic cocktail of lively conversation and surrealist encounters – think Midnight in Paris meets Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure directed by Salvador Dali.

Each 60-minute session will see the assembled figures gallivant around Canvas Club’s newly refurbished function room, the Tailor Shop, and outdoor space at the rear. Guests will be able to move freely about the venue, choosing to follow a particular character throughout the duration of the session or pick a perch to watch the fun and chaos unfold around them. More than five hours of theatre is condensed into a tight modular 60-minute structure, meaning no two visits to the Time Travel Cafe are the same. While the Time Travel Cafe’s cadre of seminal characters aim to make every audience member feel special, guests can choose to engage with the denizens as much or as little as they like. Sitting back with a specialty cocktail (conceived by the Canvas Club team) from one of two bars is also perfectly acceptable. Once the show is over, there’s no need to return to reality straight away. We suggest comparing notes and swapping stories with your pals over a drink at Canvas Club next door – you might even want to sign up for another trip inside to catch something you missed or enjoy a whole new variant.

The Time Travel Cafe will materialise every Thursday, Friday and Saturday between May 5–23, hosting three sessions per night. Head to Eventbrite to book a visit and get ready for one heck of a time. 

To find out more about what’s on in Brisbane, head to our Event Guide.

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