When all feels hopeless, this show explores how we find that one reason to hang on” - JOSH BOND (Co-director)

"As visually stunning as it is deeply moving"  - THE AUSTRALIAN     

Man With the Iron Neck is a story of survival. This work tells the story of a small family from a small country town, and what happens when they lose one brother. This is not so much a story about suicide, as a story about embracing life – a moving, physical rendering of humour and inevitable poignancy, acknowledging the pull towards self-harm, but exhorting us to pull as hard as we can the other way.

‘The Man With The Iron Neck’ was a performer early last century, whose trick consisted of jumping off bridges with a rope tied like a noose round his neck. He embodies both death and life – the lure of risk-taking and dangerous behaviour and oblivion, and the thwarting of it.

He becomes an emblematic figure for the brother left behind. But, in the end, what he promises is impossible – you can’t have the drama of leaping to your death without dying.

Man With The Iron Neck is written by the inimitable Ursula Yovich and brings together two dynamic and unique forces as Co-Directors. Josh Bond brings an integrity to community and a passionate commitment to tell a story close to his heart, as well as working at the cutting edge of contemporary independent practice, with a fearless sense of questioning and a steady hand in working with emerging performers. Gavin Robins has worked with most major theatre companies and festivals, his sparky and innovative hand having delivered the biggest visual and aerial works seen on Australian stages in the last five years. Both Directors bring a wealth of their own experience as performers.

It’s a stunning combination to bring to life such an evocative, daring and delicate story.

Man With The Iron Neck’s message is about finding hope through trauma, encouraging those who feel lost to reach out for help. More than a theatre show, this project has partnered with Balunu Foundation to offer additional experiences – workshops, outreach and foyer activations – that contribute to suicide prevention strategies and reducing self-harm amongst Australians, particularly young Indigenous people.

The Balnaves Foundation have also been vital in supporting our vision for this work to have greater impact, deeper development and consultation, as well as capacity to engage with our audience and community beyond the theatre. "The Balnaves Foundation is delighted to be supporting Legs on the Wall to engage outstanding talent like Ursula Yovich and Joshua Bond, to bring to life such a brave and determined production. We've supported a 1.5-year creative development process, believing Man With The Iron Neck is proof that with a deep and long-term commitment, courageous productions are made." -  Hamish Balnaves (CEO)

Images by Brett Boardman and Clare Hawley


Co-Director: Joshua Bond

Co-Director: Gavin Robins

Dramaturg: Steve Rogers

Playwright: Ursula Yovich


Creative Producer: Cecily Hardy

Associate Producer: Sophia Marinos


We are proud to partner with Performing Lines on all future seasons of this work. For all Australian and international presentation inquiries, please contact: Narelle Lewis (


The Man with the Iron Neck was developed with Playwriting Australia through the PWA Lab program

Co-Composers: Iain Grandage & Steve Francis

Sound designers: Michael Toisuta & Jed Silver

Video Designer: Sam James

Set Designer: Joey Ruigrok

Costume Designer: Emma Vine

Lighting Designer: Matt Marshall

Performance Rigger/Counterweight: Andrew Bright