Well that was quite a year!

Firstly, thanks for sticking with us.

We started 2021 primed and ready to take on all the year could throw at us, and here we are at the other end, having managed so many more pivots, and a few unexpected pirouettes, than we ever thought possible.

It was also a year of digital adaptation, hybrid experiences, and many, many rescheduled performances. Our team spent more than 5 months in lockdown, working from home in three cities while they all performed miracles supporting our touring parties to tour safely where they could, and get back home as quickly as possible when borders snapped shut and regions went into lockdown.

Despite the many challenges of 2021, we are proud we still managed to deliver 95 performances across 7 states and territories, supporting 155 artists, and performing for over 14,000 live audience members.

That doesn’t include our digital work, including streams of live works for schools and students, bespoke streaming experiences of our productions in partnership with regional venues, and the Independent Theatre Forums, which helped our industry keep connected and creative during the most difficult periods.

We are now busily preparing for 2022 and have a tremendously exciting and action-packed year ahead creating opportunities for artists and audiences right around Australia. We look forward to sharing more detail about our plans early in the new year.

In the meantime, we want to thank you for all your support this year as we navigate challenging times. We couldn’t do it without you.

We all very much hope to see you in a theatre foyer again soon.

Wishing you all the very best for the holiday season.

Chris Bendall
CEO and Director, Critical Stages Touring




Looking back on 2021 the Critical Stages Team is extraordinarily proud of the work that was done, the shows realised, the new stories we shared, and the way our community and creatives rallied to support us, and each other.


We had the most fun ever engaging over 100 young people to create 5 different productions of I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You (pictured), each performance a unique and exhilarating experience for audiences in Canberra, Bundaberg, Sydney, Caloundra and Darwin Festival.

We brought the joyous ridiculousness of The Listies to the Sydney Opera House with Hamlet: Prince of Skidmark, and managed tours to Theatre Royal Hobart, Port Macquarie, Dubbo, Wyong, Albany, Kalgoorlie, Perth and Queanbeyan.

And we presented Asking for Trouble’s enchanting show The Bottle Collector to very young audiences across regional Victoria.


And it still is, which is why we’ve continued to invest in capturing live productions, creating online experiences and education opportunities, and delivering hybrid digital/live experiences whenever our tours were impacted.

This year we shared the adventures of Belloo Creative’s incredible ROVERS (pictured), with performances that were sometimes live, and sometimes digital, in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland, including special streamed performances and live Q&As at Townsville Civic Theatre and for the Worowa Aboriginal Woman’s College in Healesville, where Barb, Roxy and the team engaged in an inspiring hour of conversation with the next generation of First Nations women.

We also shared new digital performances with audiences around Australia, including our fundraiser for Afghanistan, Tony Kushner’s Homebody / Kabul, and our second series of Come To Where I Am Australia featuring 9 outstanding new works by writers from around Australia.



And accessible, and inclusive! This year we began to embed more of the ideals we share with you into our practice and activities. Chris appeared at a Senate hearing into a national regional insurance scheme for regional touring and venues, and he continues to be an advocate for independent artists by championing our voices in the room where it happens.

We’ve started to look at how we can be more accessible and inclusive to all audiences, as well as to artists and theatre makers from all backgrounds, and we’re working to encourage our presenting partners to do the same with inclusive performance opportunities in their region. There is still much to do in the space, but we’re very excited to be on the right path.

Finally, we believe that greener touring is possible. So we set a net zero goal for our work, establishing new ways to review the ways we tour, and we’ll continue to investigate innovative ways for productions to have greater impact with communities, while leaving a smaller footprint wherever we go!

The future is bright and there is much to do! 



You can help us continue to create original experiences for regional audiences and support new Australian work.

We are a not for profit charity so every donation large or small makes a real and genuine difference to what we can achieve. You can support us simply and easily through our Paypal giving page.

Help us create access and opportunity for artists and audiences in 2022.

Thank You!

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An infographic describing the impact of Critical Stages Touring in 2021.