Independent theatre producers, artists and companies

Thanks to support from the Australia Council and Playing Australia’s National Touring Status from 2018-2020, Critical Stages Touring supports an annual program of live performance travelling across Australia each year. Our support from Create NSW allows us to tour up to two further works by NSW based artists each year to community venues around NSW.

In 2017 we launched our first open call-out to artists looking to tour around Australia, and especially to regional Australia. Watch this space for the date of our next open call out. 


What we are looking for in touring productions:

  • New Australian work that is innovative, of outstanding quality and with clear and demonstrated audience appeal.
  • Contemporary Australian text-based drama, contemporary music theatre or cabaret theatre works.
  • Original cross-disciplinary works for family audiences.
  • Productions where thematic material or narrative content is relevant to regional audiences.
  • Outstanding and original independent artistic voices.
  • Live performance experiences where there is the opportunity for a unique and original strategy for participation and engagement especially for regional audiences.
  • It must be a work of outstanding quality in all areas, especially in terms of performances, writing and direction.
  • It must have received strong critical and/or audience acclaim.
  • If the work has already premiered you must have strong production imagery, video footage that is suitable for promotion on social media and local television, plus strong reviews. Vox pops of audience reactions are ideal.

Potential productions should be able to fulfil the following:

  • It must be a work of outstanding quality in all areas, especially in terms of performances, writing and direction.
  • It must have received strong critical and/or audience acclaim.
  • If the work has already premiered you must have strong production imagery, video footage that is suitable for promotion on social media and local television, plus strong reviews. Vox pops of audience reactions are ideal.
  • We are particularly keen to support works from First Nations writers, performers and producers and those of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds.
  • We are interested in work that is innovative and original in content or form, and that advances the form of theatre.
  • We are interested in work that has a strong and considered approach to community engagement – ie how are you going to engage a regional audience in this work? Are there original ways that you can interact with audiences around the themes of the production, offer Q and A’s or masterclasses, use local artists in your work or more. Are you interested in any form of residency in regional Australia, involving local communities in the development of a new work while you are on the road?
The Listies - two funny men with humorous looks on their faces stand next to a hand-painted sign reading Riche's Funny Joke, Rated 'S', for stupid'.

What to do next – Invite Us!

If you think you have a show that is perfect for touring with Critical Stages Touring, we’d love to hear from you. Do invite us to see your show and give us plenty of notice. We try to see as much as we can, but do make sure you take great archive video and production photography while its on in case we can’t make it along.

With thanks!

Chris Bendall, CEO
Melanie Carolan, Creative Producer



Are you sick of working from home?

Here at Critical Stages Touring we are throwing open our doors and inviting you to share our office as a creative and administrative space.

We are looking for a dynamic and driven NSW-based independent producer, company, collective or theatre maker to join us as a resident for the next 12 months.

The residency provides free working space, infrastructure, support, and mentor advice, drawing on the collective knowledge of professional producers and arts administrators. Use us as a sounding board to help you get your next artistic project up and running or in taking your company to the next level.

 What we are offering:

  • Access to office infrastructure – internet, photocopying, fax, phone, stationary supplies, kitchen facilities, meeting facilities;
  • The residency will be active from May to December 2019 
  • One on one mentoring to look at company planning – long and short term, marketing strategy, publicity and touring potential;
  • Regular networking opportunities with other residents and industry guests to share resources and knowledge;
  • Limited access to our meeting rooms (which can double as small rehearsal spaces), plus office biscuits and much more…!

Previous residents’ feedback:

“The camaraderie from both Critical Stages and our fellow Residents has broadened our networks and made us feel included in the independent arts sector.” (Crack Theatre Festival)

“We found the residency useful for throwing around ideas with peers in an environment that was more collegiate than competitive.” (Arthur Theatre Company)

“It has been great for our management team to have a regular space to work in and this has had a profound affect on our productivity and professional practice.” (Matriark Theatre Company)

Applications for the 2019/2020 residencies have closed. News of our new residents coming soon.

Want to know when the next round opens? Email us at and we’ll add you to our Artists news list.


Every few months we host theatre forums for the NSW independent theatre sector. These are opportunities for the sector to gather, network and talk about the current big issues facing independent theatre artists. Our next forums are:


Listen to the Forum on Soundcloud

We were at Artstate Tamworth this year for our very first regional Indy Theatre Forum, in partnership with Theatre Network NSW.

We know that artists working in regional areas are producing great work, and that they often do it with very different support and without the networks we sometimes take for granted when based in urban centres. While all indy theatre artists have lots in common, there’s an awful lot more we can learn from artists, presenters and producers who aren’t city-based, especially at a time of arts uncertainty.

We also had the opportunity to hear from Theatre Network New South Wales (TNN) reporting on their Health of the Sector survey. This recent survey reflects over 200 responses from across the NSW sector with over 40% from the independent sector. The themes of Artstate Tamworth, ‘On Country – In Country’ and ‘Arts in the Age of Uncertainty’, are central to the way theatre makers are working in regional NSW and TNN is keen to connect with you at this event to better inform their 2019 State of Theatre Report and future programming. TNN will also provide an update on their future direction and plans.

Special Guest Speakers: Adam Deusien, Artistic Director, Lingua Franca. Sally Blackwood, Arts NW Director. Caroline Dunphy, Co-Artistic Director at Belloo Creative and a current Artistic Associate at NORPA.

About Theatre Network NSW

Theatre Network NSW (TNN) is the peak agency for theatre and performance in NSW.  TNN enables a strong and diverse ecology of theatre professionals in NSW, creating and sustaining the networks and activities that ensure vibrant creative collaboration throughout the state, and at all levels of the sector. TNN’s purpose is to lead, strengthen and support the professional theatre industry. We do this by building capacity in the small-to-medium and independent sector and by connecting and working closely with stakeholders including the major performing arts companies, industry peers and strategic partners.

Listen to the Forum on Soundcloud

Reserve Your Seat Now via Eventbrite
Reserve Your Seat Now via Riverside



Where do you go after a run has finished? How do we think beyond our premiere season to plan a future for our work? Critical Stages hosted a conversation with industry experts, independent artists and producers about how to give your production a second life. Looking into and beyond touring, we’ll be talking about the opportunities that are out there to bring back your show once the lights have gone out and it’s all bumped out and packed away. We talked about out who can help you get the show back on its feet, where you could take it, and what advantages there are creatively to revisiting and redeveloping your work with return seasons.


Whether it’s over coffee, in an elevator, at a market, or in a written EOI, at some point we all have to pitch our creative project to a prospective theatre company, artistic director or venue. Come and listen to experts talk about what makes the perfect pitch and maybe even test out your pitch on your peers.

Listen to the forum on Soundcloud



For our final Indy Theatre Forum for 2018, Critical Stages hosted a special forum to discuss the relationship between artists and venues. How does a venue choose its programming? What curatorial policies exist at some of Sydney’s key independent theatre powerhouses and how do they approach choosing works for their audiences? What makes for an original and compelling season of work? How can artists interact and collaborate with venues and festivals?

Guest panelists : Kerri Glasscock, Founding co-director, Old 505 Theatre & Sydney Fringe Festival CEO; Suzanne Millar, Co-Artistic Director, Bakehouse Theatre / Kings Cross Theatre; Cath Dadd, Executive Producer Performing Arts, Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith. Chris Bendall (Moderator), Director & CEO, Critical Stages.

The forum was held at The Arts Exchange, The Rocks, Sydney, Australia on Monday 3 December.

Listen to the forum on Soundcloud



You got the show up and it was a huge success, now there’s talk of a tour. But how do you make it happen? This forum was a lively conversation unpacking all the acronyms across the complex world of national and international touring, giving you a rundown of the who, what and where of supporting second lives for theatre and the lowdown on the festival circuit.

Join Critical Stages Director Chris Bendall and Programming Producer Penny Watts for a conversation designed to equip you with all the tools you need to get your show packed up and traveling!

Listen to the forum on Soundcloud