Regional Touring Residency Update – Sunlit in Merimbula

The Regional Touring Residencies are one of the ways Critical Stages Touring is contributing to a vibrant, resilient, and exciting independent theatre sector. Supported by Create NSW, each residency matches a story in development with a regional host venues and local artists. The creative team works intensively for one week, culminating in a public showing of their work-in-progress. Each one has been selected for their ingenuity, artistic merit and exploration, and for their potential to connect with and engage regional communities. The program is an exciting new extension of Critical Stages Touring’s commitment to discover and develop outstanding independent theatrical experiences for audiences everywhere. In March 2022, writer JoJo Zhou and director/dramaturg Bernadette Fam took up residency at the recently refurbished Twyford Hall in Merimbula. 

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Critical Stages Touring Receives RISE Funding for New Musical

Over the last year we’ve been working with a brilliant creative team to realise a stage adaptation of Antonia Pesenti and Hilary Bell’s best-selling children’s book Alphabetical Sydney. Today, we’re thrilled to announce that the production is a recipient of almost $200k in RISE Funding, ensuring the final development and premiere season of this big, bright, beautiful, new musical. Alphabetical Sydney will premiere at Riverside Theatres in 2022 and go on to tour to audiences nationally in 2023.

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Regional Touring Residency Update – Debra Keenahan and Katrina Douglas in Cowra NSW

The final project of four NSW Regional Touring Residencies saw Debra Keenahan and Katrina Douglas travel to Cowra, and the town’s newly reinvigorated Cowra Civic Centre, to work on Little Things Matter. This deeply personal new stage piece extends the film of the same name, currently on display at Sydney’s MCA, into an intimate and powerful one-woman show exploring Debra’s lived experience of dwarfism. The project invited Paul Prestipino and Robert Brindley to collaborate.

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RISE Fund Enables Critical Stages Touring’s Regional Reactivation Program

Today’s announcement by The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Commonwealth Minister of the Arts, sees an additional $25M in support shared by no less than 66 leading arts and entertainment organisations nationally. For Critical Stages Touring it means an extended and ambitious regional touring and reactivation program can be realised, bringing outstanding independent theatre to communities everywhere.

“Critical Stages Touring is extremely grateful for this support from the federal government at this crucial time of rebuilding for performing arts companies such as ours.

This grant will provide vital funding to enable us to tour outstanding new work created and performed by diverse Australian independent artists across regional Australia, including THEM by Samah Sabawi, I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You from The Good Room, The Bottle Collector from Asking for Trouble and more.

It will also enable us to continue supporting artists to create exciting new digital projects for our Screening Room further enhancing the reach of our work.” Chris Bendall, CEO & Director, Critical Stages Touring.

This announcement sees a diverse range of companies, festivals, and productions receive the support of the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund. These include the Byron Writers Festival, Barking Gecko’s regional residencies for young people, Queensland’s BigSound Australian music conference, and Illuminate Adelaide to name a few.

We congratulate everyone listed!

To see the full list of recipients visit:

Regional Touring Residency Update – Phil Spencer and Julian Lanarch in Junee

The third of our four Regional Touring Residencies saw writers Phil Spencer and Julian Lanarch head out to the small town of Junee in NSW’s Riverina region (just North of Wagga Wagga), to work with Director Scarlet McGlyn on a new family dramedy – a heart-warming new story described as a philosophical conundrum neatly wrapped in a farce. The performance team included the incomparable Simon Burke, Holly Austin, Julia Robertson, and Jeremi Campese, and we’re thrilled with how their week in the country turned out.

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Regional Touring Residency Update – JoJo Zhou in Bathurst

Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre hosted emerging playwright JoJo Zhou for a development of Sunlit, a new play inspired by the school strikes for climate change that inspired the nation in 2019. Weaving poetry, humour, and science, Sunlit employed three young local performers, under director Bernadette Fam, to bring to life a story set in a future of rising oceans, mystery, and responsibility.

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Regional Touring Residency Update – Scott Parker & Matriark Theatre

Over one week in March, we matched award-winning children’s storytellers Matriark Theatre with the Laycock Street Community Theatre in Gosford.  Lead Artist Scott Parker worked with four artists to complete a development of his play, The Lighthouse at the End of the World. Combining micro-puppetry, digital media, and live music, ‘Lighthouse’ explores the things we can learn from those often overlooked in the name of progress. A showing of the work was performed at the theatre on March 20th.

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