Nurturing, developing and touring
Amazing Independent Theatre.

Critical Stages Touring’s goal is to make outstanding live theatre accessible to audiences throughout Australia. Our vision is to enable regional communities to have the same access to high quality theatre as metropolitan audiences, and to foster a sustainable and diverse national independent theatre sector. We support outstanding theatre artists to achieve their touring ambitions and regional presenters to achieve their audience development goals

Since 2005, we have partnered with presenters and artists around Australia to deliver outstanding independent productions engaging audiences from Bundaberg to Bunbury and beyond.

We broker relationships, connecting artists with presenters – whether they be festivals, small or large performing arts venues, or a much-loved community hall. We bring people together to create unforgettable experiences. We support our artists’ ambitions to breathe new life into their work and build sustainable practices, and we help our presenters foster a love and passion for the performing arts in their local audiences.

Through forums, mentorship and residencies, we also work closely with industry to provide opportunities to exchange ideas, start and continue vital conversations, build skills and resilience, and establish networks across the performing arts spectrum.

What we Do

Every year Critical Stages:

  • Presents at 100+ regional, remote and metropolitan locations across Australia.
  • Performs to tens of thousands of audience members.
  • Employs over 60 performers, technicians and creative artists.
  • Engages young, emerging and regionally-based artists in skills development workshops, masterclasses, forums and Q and A’s.
  • Supports venues, presenters and communities around the country to engage new and existing audiences.
  • Mentors NSW-based independent artists through year-round sector development initiatives.


We do this in order to support audiences and artists by:

  • Increasing access for regional audiences to diverse and innovative new performances;
  • Developing opportunities for regional artists to engage in meaningful exchange with touring artists;
  • Engaging new audiences in unique theatrical experiences;
  • Providing professional employment opportunities for outstanding independent  artists;
  • Building a strong and inter-connected, healthy, diverse and vibrant national theatre sector.

Chris Bendall

Director & Chief Executive Officer

Chris has been CEO of Critical Stages since 2014. An award-winning creative producer, director and dramaturg with experience working professionally all across Australia, he has won the WA Equity Awards for Best Director (2009 & 2011) and Best Production (2011) and his production of The Magic Hour was a finalist for The Drover Awards' Tour of the Year (2014). Previous positions include: Artistic Director of Deckchair Theatre (2008-2012); Artistic Director Theatre @ Risk (2001-2007). Awards include the Queen’s Trust Australia & Foundation for Young Australians Centenary Grant (2001) and the George Fairfax Memorial Award for Theatre (2003).

Melanie Carolan

Senior Producer

Mel joined Critical Stages in 2017. She was previously Associate Producer at Griffin Theatre Company, where projects included Angus Cerini’s "The Bleeding Tree", directed by Lee Lewis (Winner of the 2016 Helpmann Award for Best Play); Alana Valentine’s "Ladies Day"; and Justin Fleming’s "The Literati", a co-production with Bell Shakespeare. Prior to that, Mel was Griffin’s Administration & Program Coordinator where she oversaw the delivery of Griffin Independent and delivered the Griffin Ambassadors education program. Mel has also worked for Merrigong and has produced at the Old Fitz and PACT.

Scarlet McGlynn

Senior Producer

Scarlet McGlynn - Biography for CST website
Scarlet is an award-winning director, dramaturg and producer who has worked professionally both in Australia and the UK. She has committed the past 20 years of her life to creating new theatre works for the stage and is passionate about all aspects of theatre-making. Her theatre credits include: as Director: for Griffin: A is for Apple (Griffin Lookout 2022); The Smallest Hour, Glimpse with Jonathan Hindmarsh (Batch Festival); The Lysicrates Prize (staged readings); for Critical Stages: Hooting & Howling; for La Boite Indie: Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine, for which the show won a Green Room Award at the Melbourne Fringe; for Sydney Theatre Company: Hooting and Howling (Rough Draft Program); for Tin Shed Theatre Company: You and Whose Army?, Boxing Day; as Writer/Director: for Rock Surfers Theatre Company: Future Senior/Former Youth; as Assistant Director: for Griffin: The Almighty Sometimes; for Sydney Theatre Company: Disgraced, Storm Boy, Switzerland; as National Tour Director: for Sydney Theatre Company: Disgraced. As Associate Producer: for Belvoir: Ruby's Wish, for TRS: Co-Producer: Boxing Day. Scarlet was on the Women in Theatre Program at MTC in 2018 and is thrilled to be stepping into the Senior Producer role at Critical Stages Touring.

Eloise Snape

Creative Producer

Eloise completed a Bachelor of Media in Writing at Macquarie University and received a scholarship to study in London. She also attended Actors Centre Australia and holds an Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts majoring in Acting.

She has worked extensively as an actor in both independent and professional theatre with the likes of Bell Shakespeare, Griffin, Sport for Jove, Redline Productions, Critical Stages and Outhouse Theatre. She was nominated for a Sydney Theatre Award for her performance in 4000 Miles, works consistently on screen, most recently in Voice Activated, which screened at this years SFF and the upcoming Colin from Accounts. She is also a voiceover artist for major advertising campaigns and networks.

As a producer, Eloise established MopHead Productions whose first show 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog was directed by Anthony Skuse and nominated for numerous Sydney Theatre Awards. It went on to have a season at La Boite and a national tour with Critical Stages. In 2018, MopHead staged the Australian premiere of Tony award-winning play, Stephen Karam’s The Humans, directed by Anthea Williams and performed at The Old Fitz. It was a critical and commercial success. Eloise also produces in a solo capacity, having just worked with Ensemble Theatre Company on Celebrating 50 Years with David Williamson and Griffin Theatre Company on Golden Blood.

As a writer, Pony is Eloise’s debut play and it was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award 2022-23, the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award 2021, the Patrick White Playwright’s Award 2022 and the Griffin Award 2022.

Kylie Richards

Finance Manager

Kylie is a finance manager with 10 years experience working with arts and culture organisations.

Judy Reardon

Technical & Operations Manager

Judy is a twenty-year veteran of venue, production, and stage management. Judy has helped bring some of the nation's best productions, and companies, to stage, most recently Erth Visual and Physical Theatre, Sydney Festival's Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, and My Fair Lady at the Sydney Opera House.

Robbi James

Marketing & Engagement Manager

Robbi is a marketing and engagement whizz with over 15 years experience bringing audiences together with the products and productions they love. At CST you'll also find him leading many of our digital projects. He is a passionate advocate for inclusion and diversity in entertainment, having completed his thesis in the subject for his Masters in Arts Management at the Sydney Opera House/AIM. He is also one half of the producing team behind Rogue Projects.
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Mark Thomas (Chair)

Chris Drummond (Deputy Chair)

Rohan Astley

Claudia Rowe

Georgia Burke

Van Athukorala

Robert Love OAM

Artistic Advisory Panel

Julian Louis (NSW)

Katrina Douglas (NSW)

Dino Dimitriadis (NSW)

Guy Boyce  (WA)

Julian Hobba (WA)

Elena Carapetis (SA)

Richard Watts (VIC)

Daniel Clarke (VIC)

Jo Thomas (QLD)

Our Partners

Critical Stages Touring is supported by Create NSW on multi-year funding, and by the Australia Council for the Arts through Playing Australia as one of only four companies nationally awarded National Touring Status. It is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, with DGR status and on the Register of Cultural Organisations. The company is based at The Arts Exchange at The Rocks in Sydney and lead by Chris Bendall, CEO, alongside a Board of Directors.