You’ve heard of matching beer with food. How about with theatre?

State Theatre Company graphic designer and digital producer Robin Mather had a light-bulb moment while brainstorming marketing strategies for the soon-to-open psychological thriller Creditors.

“We were having an after-work beer and thinking about the key elements of the show – rich, stormy, complex – and realised we were kind of describing the beer we were drinking,” he says.

Originally written by Swedish playwright August Strindberg, Creditors was first performed in 1889. “His wife had an affair and he wrote this play as a bit of revenge fantasy,” Mather explains. “It’s had many adaptations around the world but it’s never been done in a contemporary sense.”

The three-character play follows artist Adolph, his novelist partner Tekla, and a mysterious stranger, Gustav, who may or may not have sinister intentions. This new adaptation by Duncan Graham “highlights that the work still resonates in 2018,” says Mather.

Mather approached his mates at Little Bang Brewing Company to develop a State Theatre-specific brew to match the play’s dark underbelly.

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Head brewer Filip Kemp suggested an equally dark chocolate stout, based on his original stout recipe, but pumped full of organic cacao nibs. “We were keen for it to be called Stout Theatre Company,” Mather jokes. They met in the middle with Dark Arts.

With an alcohol percentage of 7.5, it’s almost an imperial stout. “It’s smooth, light in carbonation, not overly roasty in character and the chocolate’s really quite forward on the nose and palate,” says Kemp. “And it tastes bloody good.”

Beyond this collaboration, “We’re thinking about breaking out from the arts bubble to meet other makers,” says Mather, “thinking about ways we can bridge that gap … and create these memorable experiences together.”

There’s a launch party for Dark Arts, fittingly, this Friday July 13 at Little Bang’s cellar door. It will be available on the opening night of Creditors, throughout the season (while stocks last) and at the show’s Off Stage event.

Creditors runs from July 20 to August 5 at the Space Theatre. Tickets are available here.