As thrilling as they are for audiences, Australia’s musical theatre scene is dominated by productions honed on the West End and Broadway.
Musical theatre nominees at the 2017 Helpmann Awards are dominated by overseas productions. Our own productions need way more support to compete on the world stage.
Ben Hall and Tim Draxl in Only Heaven Knows
Queer life thrived in 1940s Sydney despite policing and prohibition, as a new production of the musical Only Heaven Knows demonstrates. But it was not to last.
Sol Feldman in The Book of Exodus at Theatre Works.
The Book of Exodus is a provocative work that sees children retelling the biblical tale.
The Simpsons, but not as you know them. Jude Henshall in Mr Burns.
Mr Burns is a dazzling meditation on the meaning of theatre through The Simpsons.
Sparks fly as families come together for the Christmas dinner in Nakkiah Lui’s Black is the New White.
Nakkiah Lui's Black is the New White takes 17th-century comedy of manners and uses it to probe race and class to great effect.
King Charles III (Tim Pigott-Smith).
Robert Viglasky for BBC/Drama Republic
In TV and film the British monarchy have never had it so good – it's about time something took a more sceptical eye.
After 71 dead refugees were found in an abandoned refrigeration truck in September 2015, the Bochum Theater organized a public reenactment of the tragedy.
In Germany – a country where going to the theater is a deeply ingrained cultural tradition – the stage is a place to confront pressing political issues.
The Chapel Perilous follows the life of Sally Banner “a rebel in word and deed”.
No other Australian playwright has mined their own life as much as Dorothy Hewett. In this expressionist drama, she depicts a girl of yearning heart, looking for love and hungry for life.
Passion, Lament, Glory at Melbourne’s St. Paul’s Cathedral in 2017.
Each year at Easter, Christians recreate the spectacularly violent end of Jesus's life, raising some tough questions about the depiction of suffering on stage.
My Country // Sarah Lee
Scrutinising the output of a national theatre at a time of rising nationalism is a worthwhile activity, but it needs either radical intention or emotional insight.
The Secret River at Adelaide Festival with Ningali Lawford Wolf in foreground.
Every part of this production - staged outdoors in a quarry - shows evidence of the highest degree of collaboration and the greatest subtlety of decision.
Calum Barbour as the drug dealer in Trainspotting.
It's one thing to read Irvine Welsh's grim tale of 1980s Scotland - it's another to see it happen three feet away from you.
Diana (Xiaojie) Lin as the mother in Little Emperors.
China's demographic experiment come to life in Little Emperors, but not always successfully.
The swinging sixties arrived in Australian theatre with a bang.
The plays of Alex Buzo captured the spirit of rebellion of a new generation of theatre artists.
Actors read a new Indigenous play at the Yellamundie Festival.
© Jamie Williams courtesy of Sydney Festival
A development festival for Indigenous Australian playwrights showcased a range of stories: from the sharply comic tale of a woman hunting for her wayward husband to a powerful exploration of prison violence.
Robyn Nevin was horrible – and horribly funny – as Miss Docker in A Cheery Soul.
Robyn Nevin and Gillian Jones in A Cheery Soul, 2000, co-produced by STC and Belvoir St Theatre. Photo: Heidrun Löhr ©
An early review of Patrick White’s A Cheery Soul said it 'upset everybody who saw it'. But this extraordinary play, once a victim of 60s cultural cringe, marked a turning point in Australian theatre.
Theresienstadt ghetto / Andrew Shiva, Wikimedia Commons
Newly-discovered scripts reveal the public hopes, dreams and fears of prisoners in the World War II Jewish ghetto at Theresienstadt.
Woody Harrelson’s directorial debut, released this month, signals that we are in a new age of cinema.
Alison Whyte in Sydney Theatre Company’s The Testament of Mary.
The Testament of Mary is an interesting thought experiment but its narrative is improbable – historically, textually and theologically.
Monroe never performed in a formal theatre production, despite many key people in her life encouraging her to do so.
Marilyn Monroe was a magnetic film star, but she had the potential to be a truly great stage actress. Clues in her life point to a missed chance: to escape the pressure of Hollywood and blossom as a serious thespian.