After the success of her first comedy festival production KEATING! in the Old Council Chambers at Trades Hall in 2005, Catherine Woodfield decided that it was about time that all available nooks and crannies in the proud and historic building were filled with a diverse mix of emerging and established artists interested to push the bounds of funny. She was pretty sure folks would come.
In late 2005, Catherine registered a company, Bella Union Enterprises Pty Ltd, and set about finding artists and staff to join what she hoped would be quite a party.
Comedy @ Trades had its premiere season during the 2006 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In our first year we programmed 27 shows, created six theatres and hosted around 20,000 patrons. And most importantly, we all had a hoot!
Since then, Bella Union has presented Comedy @ Trades seasons in 2007, 2008 and 2009, playing host to over 100 shows and providing an alternative performance playground for in excess of 110,000 festival patrons since inception.
Now Bella Union runs all year round as both a performance space and a casual bar, hosting parties, fundraiser benefits, theatrical performances, live comedy, forums, book launches and just about everything else you can think of.
Further information on Trades Hall and its history can be found here.