Articles on Theatre

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‘What makes directing worthwhile are the people who you do it with.’ Jane Dempster/AAP. Bell Shakespeare's production of Tartuffe, 2014.

Theatre directing in Australia – some notes from the wings

'Theatre directors come in two kinds: "star" and "of use". I'm in the latter category, which means that, for any given play, there are at least three or four other directors who could do it equally well.'
Sophiline Cheam Shapiro (L) in rehearsal with one of the members of the Sophiline Arts Ensemble. Khmer Arts Theater, Takhmao (Kandal Province), Cambodia. June 26, 2015. Photo by Chris Philips

Re-enchanting the world with performing arts: stories from Cambodia

New stories can offer insight on alternative ways of living out our lives. As the experience in Cambodia shows, the performing arts can help us face up to enormous challenges and possibilities.
At its best, opera can, indeed, be a powerful form of allegorical theatre. EPA/Gian Ehrenzeller (Image from Verdi's I due Foscari)

Opera, sexual violence, and the art of telling terrible tales

A gang-rape scene in a new London staging of Rossini's Guillaume Tell was greeted with audience booing, and has sparked ongoing controversy. Are opera directors at risk of miscomprehending the medium?
Stage musicals, such as the Rocky Horror Show, don’t necessarily make sense. Nor do recent changes to arts funding. AAP Image/Paul Miller

We have a ‘show tunes’ government, with an arts policy to match

In cultural policy every good idea becomes a bad one if the context is confused. The fact there wasn’t initial clarity around the Program for Excellence indicates it will probably do more harm than good.
Sport for Jove’s production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is now onstage in Sydney. Sport for Jove

Review: The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s comedy of cruelty

Sport for Jove's The Merchant of Venice is a production of ourstanding clarity, making it ideal for students or perhaps even those who simply don’t often see Shakespeare in the theatre.
Duncan Graham’s 2010 play Cut does not reveal itself as a traditional play does – but it’s a powerful demonstration of the evolution of theatrical storytelling. Garry Cockburn

Playwriting doesn’t get better or worse – but it does evolve

Drama involves an altered representation of reality – and the way we understand both the representations and the reality evolve. Duncan Graham's recent play Cut shows how significantly those understandings change.
We know whether a play such as Andrew Bovell’s Secret River works onstage – but can we explain its effect? AAP Image/Heidrun Löhr

Need a stage coach? Why some plays work, and others don’t

Anyone who has seen a play can tell you whether it "works" or not – but very few people can tell you exactly why. We all need a better grasp of this. Why? So that playwriting can better represent contemporary Australia.
Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser star in Beauty and the Beast, currently playing at the Adelaide Festival. Bronwen Sharp/Adelaide Festival of Arts

Beauty and the Beast promises and fails at the Adelaide Festival

The devised performance text of Beauty and the Beast at the Adelaide Festival promises to highlight concerns related to disability and societal taboos – but falls short of a world-class standard.
Olwen Fuoéré performing riverrun, her stage adaptation of James Joyce’s last work, Finnegans Wake. Colm Hogan, Adelaide Festival of Arts

The amateur’s age of unriddling: Finnegans Wake on stage

Olwen Fuoéré's extraordinary adaptation of Finnegans Wake for the stage brings a work with a reputation for obscurity back into the realm of popular culture.
Theatre critics are a vital point of mediation between the stage and the audience – and they must do their job with care and discernment. Tom E. Lewis onstage at the Malthouse in 2014. AAP Image/Jeff Busby

Theatre reviewing is a responsible job – and it requires care

Theatre reviewing should be a public judgement pronounced with discernment. So what are we to make of those who do it badly?
Nakkiah Lui asks why audiences are so willing to see Indigenous suffering onstage – but so unprepared to confront racism elsewhere in their lives. Brett Boardman/ Belvoir St

Western Sydney meets the city in Nakkiah Lui’s Kill the Messenger

Playwright Nakkiah Lui plays herself in Kill the Messenger, now on at Sydney's Belvoir Theatre. Hers is a strong, passionate and resilient Indigenous voice – and she has a message to deliver.

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