Compelling story about living with autism debuts at Arts Centre Melbourne

Kaylah Joelle Baker

ARCO Jnr is coming to Victoria from Western Australia for the first time on Saturday, April 1 to share its unique story and message about living with autism.

Performing at Arts Centre Melbourne’s creative learning hub, The Channel, ARCO Jnr is an award-winning autobiographical show, following performer Adam Kelly’s life story.

Adam is from WA Youth Theatre Company, and his honest performance has launched him straight from youth performer to mainstage artist, making it a work he is proud to showcase to new audiences.

“ARCO Jnr is a unique and beautiful show and I feel very proud to be able to share it with others,” Adam said.

“It’ll be awesome sauce in Melbourne.”

The performance follows Adam and his friend Finbar, who is a fish as they dance, draw, fly and share in plenty of laughs with the audience.

The mesmerising performance also incorporates exciting animations from Perth-based neurodiverse artist Ben Hollingsworth.

Described as a heartfelt look at the life and struggles of a young man trying to make connections with the people and world around him, ARCO Jnr asks audience members to look outside of themselves and consider life from Adam’s perspective.

“Autism itself is really difficult to explain. It’s not simply something that affects how I function, it is how I am wired,” Adam said.


This is my story of endurance, learning, adaptation, and optimism. Everyone can identify with it and have some fun at the same time.


ARCO Jnr is produced by WA Youth Theatre Company, written by both Adam Kelly and director James Berlyn, with its creative team consisting of lighting designer Pete Young, sound designer Tristen Parr, arts mentor Johanna Keyser, dramaturg Alex Desebrock and stage manager Catherine O’Donoghue.

Presented as part of Art Centre Melbourne’s year-round Families and Children program, which was launched in 2009, ARCO Jnr will have 10.30am and 1pm sessions.

Both sessions will include a 35-minute performance followed by a 15-minute Q&A, with Arts Centre Melbourne advising anyone interested in attending that it will be a relaxed and non-judgmental space, where noisy enthusiasm and movement is embraced.

Anyone requiring their own access methods are also welcome to bring in and use their own headphones, sunglasses and stimming devices or fidget toys, and the lights will remain on at a dim level with a quiet area available, if needed, to take a break.

To access a visual story with information about the venue and the show, visit:

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