By Elise Hearst & Andrea James
Director Paige Rattray
Producer Belinda Kelly
Dramaturg Emma Valente
Assistant Director Olivia Satchell
Designer Romanie Harper
Sound Designer/Composer Tom Hogan
Lighting Designer Emma Valente
Choreographer Kurt Phelan
Cast Elise Hearst, Andrea James, Kevin Kiernan-Molloy, Shari Sebbens, Guy Simon

Topical contemporary drama

From Austria to Australia, Bright World is a rich cross-cultural adventure where Jewish and Indigenous Australian worlds collide.

1938. Europe burns. Young Jewish lovers Hans and Alice narrowly escape from Nazi-occupied Vienna.

Across the world, Australian Indigenous activist William Cooper leads protesters to the front door of Melbourne’s German Consulate to protest against Germany’s Nazi government. In an admirable act of cross-cultural solidarity with other victims of persecution, Cooper has one message—the repression of the Jewish people must end.

Almost eight decades later, two female playwrights—one the granddaughter of Hans and Alice and the other a descendent of Cooper—come together to explore their diverse, yet strangely intertwined cultural heritages.

Available to Tour



Theatre, Drama


Secondary students, tertiary students, adults


80 minutes

Minimum Stage

TBA (flexible)

Previous Seasons

Theatreworks 2016

Technical Specifications

What people are saying

An imaginative and time-shuffling production… Instead of being something that happened in the past to others, it is vividly here, now and – crucially – us. The Australian

Eye-opening, daring, sobering and even heartwarming, Bright World is one hell of a trip. Zips along with tight, pacy dialogue, nuanced reversals and suspense. Coupled with Paige Rattray’s awe-inspiring direction, the result is thrilling. Artshub

Selling Points

Bright World is a unique cross-cultural collaboration between a Jewish and Yorta Yorta playwright, exploring migrant history, the contributions of the Jewish community in post World-War II Australia, and the history of indigenous land and civil rights activism in Australia. The production was developed with input from cultural advisors who have expertise in the Koorie and Jewish heritages traditions.

Bright World tells the inspiring true story of political activist, William Cooper.

• The writer-performers both have a very personal connection to the work – Andrea James is the great-great niece of William Cooper, and Elise Hearst is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors.

Community Engagement

Significant educational and audience engagement activities are available alongside this production:

An interactive resource is currently being developed in association with Melbourne University, and will be available for students to further their understanding of the historical context of the work as well as the development process undertaken to create the work (perfect for both History and Drama/Theatre Studies students).

Q and A’s will be available with cast post-show.

As both playwrights also perform in the show there is a terrific opportunity available for writing and performance-making workshops alongside the tour – ideal for upper secondary school students especially those studying or interested in studying drama or theatre studies.

There is also an education kit and a performance script available as e-publications.