Little Things Matter
Debra Keenahan and Katrina Douglas

The Lighthouse at the End of the World
Matriark Theatre Company

The Oyster
Phil Spencer and Julian Lanarch

JoJo Zhou and Bernadette Fam

Scroll down for more information about each project.

Critical Stages Touring is proud to support the development of new theatrical experiences for regional touring and presentation through our NSW Regional Residency program. In 2021, four wonderful new works were selected and developed in regional centres.

The productions, each at various stages of development, undertook a week-long residency at a matched regional or rural location. Each was 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.

These works are now ready for further development and presentation. Please talk to us if you would like to be a part of a future iteration of these outstanding projects.

This program was made possible with the support of the NSW Government’s RESTART fund through Create NSW.





Venue Format

Theatre, Civic/Cultural Centre, Black Box, Town Hall, Library

See individual projects for more information.

Little Things Matter

“Dwarves are still the butt of jokes. It’s one of the last bastions of acceptable prejudice”- Peter Dinklage.

This quote from the lived experience of an internationally renowned actor reflects the purpose of this work – to address an age-old prejudice. Historically, dwarfs have been represented as mythical creatures, cartoon characters and fantastical amusements. Such fictional representations can dehumanise those with this physical difference, which can result in their being treated as less than human.

Through the power of monologue Little Things Matter is a theatre-based work that is funny, brutally honest, and ultimately uplifting. Presenting stories from the lived experience of the principal artist, the work provokes reflective social critique on the blasé ill-treatment of people with dwarfism.

Through the use of gallows humour strategies of stigma management are revealed which shows that ultimately it is the dignity in the acceptance of self and respect for differences that carries the day. This proposed theatre work is an extended version of a short film of the same title currently available for viewing on the Accessible Arts website and at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Little Things Matter enjoyed a week-long residency at Cowra Civic Centre to develop additional scenes and test these with a local audience. Read more about it on our blog.

The Lighthouse at the End of the World

On a small island, overlooking the edge of the known world sits a lighthouse. It has been kept by the same old Lighthouse Keeper, since lighthouses first began. Her job? To guide travellers away from certain danger and, in a small way, to help the world keep turning. One day the future arrives in the form of a well dressed young professional transporting a large automatic light bulb. It’s time to go, the Keeper is no longer needed. But before they leave, there are a few … small things … that need to be done.

The Lighthouse at the End of the World follows the Lighthouse Keeper as they complete their final tasks-tasks that take us from the depths of the ocean to the skies above. The show celebrates the adventures and experiences older people hold, and inspires our young people to look deeper at the ordinary.

With humour and heart, this show is about what we can learn from those often overlooked. Using live music and micro-puppetry, Matriark’s team have been able to experiment with scale using beautiful terrain pieces and digital media to create a universe on stage. Building on two previous creative developments for the work, this latest residency focused on finding a dramaturgical synergy between the puppetry and the emerging story.

Led by writer/director Scott Parker and producer/musician Kat Parker, award-winning theatre makers Matriark Theatre have a proven record of creating experiences for young people that are highly imaginative and engaging. They enjoyed their week of development at Laycock Street Community Theatre, Gosford, and are ready to talk to future presenters now. Read more about their experience on our blog.

The Oyster

Like all stories The Oyster starts with nothing at all, and like all stories that start small it turns out to feel enormous. Equal parts ensemble storytelling and slightly wonky Christmas Pantomime, The Oyster is a family dramedy, a heart-warming evening in the theatre and a celebration of interactive and participatory theatre.

The heart of this play revolves around a small country town plagued by indecision and opportunistic politicking when presented with whether to pave over a war memorial and put a petrol station in its place. A philosophical conundrum neatly wrapped in a farce, the play asks big questions about nationhood, political manipulation of history and the cost of personal sacrifice in the face of insurmountable odds. Oh, and it’s a comedy. With songs.

Centred on young Mika, who’s been hit by the rough end of a quarter life crisis and has decided to skip family Christmas and fly out to the home country of her parents. This plan only works if Dad stays sober enough to drop her to the airport. Hang on. Where is Dad? He’s in the attic? Dusting off the old slide projector and sharing the same stories he’s been telling for just over a century?

The Oyster begins as an impromptu farewell shindig littered with smashed heirlooms and possibly a marching band (if someone in the audience can play the oboe). The story implodes across the night into a great cathartic unravelling of family histories and national myths.

Written by Julian Lanarch (Flight Paths) and Phil Spencer (The Smallest Hour), the development brought together Simon Burke, Holly Austin, Julia Robertson, Jeremi Campese, and director Scarlet McGlyn at the Athenium Theatre in Junee. Read about their development on our blog.


This residency marked the first stage of Sunlit’s development toward production. Inspired by the school strikes for climate, that reached their global peak (so far) in 2019, Sunlit is a stage work made for a small ensemble of performers.

Set in an ex-mining town sometime in the future, Sunlit explores an imagined future in which a small Australian town has been surrounded by walls to keep the residents safe from the ever-rising ocean. The young people of the town don’t know why this has happened, and nobody is willing to tell them, so the town sits in tense boredom, waiting for something to happen.

When an unexpected visitor ignites their curiosity and interest, Buband her friends head down the rabbit hole to discover the truth of the matter, and attempt to find out who is responsible for their future devoid of Sunlight.

Weaving poetry, humour, and science, Sunlit aims to provide a cathartic experience for the young and angry, as well as breaking open a nuanced dialogue on victim and perpetrator. Written by JoJo Zhou (The Great and Powerful Ozzie) and directed by Green Door theatre Company’s Bernadette Fam (Tataraimaka Moana), this is a powerful new work from some of the brightest young voices in Australian theatre.