Latest eNews: “wildly funny domestic comedy” RULES FOR LIVING playing now

Time to play by the RULES…

“Staging hot, new, international plays has long been part of the brief at Red Stitch, and when the company is on and when the company is on song they do it better than anyone.”
– The Age


RULES FOR LIVING opened last weekend to full houses of belly laughs and tears! Our Australian Premiere production is being presented in association with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and we are thrilled to be able to share the laughter with festival audiences. This jocular family Christmas is “sleighing” critics and audiences alike.

Here’s what they’re saying:

“Kim Farrant directs a strong ensemble with verve…Kelly’s lustrous, achingly funny performance as Matthew, as well as Nicholas’ laugh-out-loud antics… hilarity with moments of poignancy. A thoroughly entertaining night at the theatre, and an ideal curtain-raiser for this year’s Comedy Festival.”
– ★★★★, The Age

“Thigh-slappingly funny…a wonderfully strong ensemble…thrillingly dark.” -The Australian

“Marvellous and highly entertaining…Dickinson is exceptional as Adam…Caroline Lee’s sharp timing – her lines are laced with enough venom to make the most self-assured person quake in their boots.”
– Milk Bar Mag

“A superb cast of fine actors.” – Stage Whispers

“Directed with manic aplomb by Kim Farrant…stylish technical support gives this special experience a heightened sense of atmosphere…‘Rules For Living’ is an absolute winner.
Don’t miss out!” – Theatre People

by Sam Holcroft


Images by Teresa Noble Photography.

This hilarious, black comedy is playing until April 16th.

Tickets are selling fast. Don’t miss out – book now!


To our dear INK writers,

Thank you for your submissions, we are very close to finalising a shortlist. The standard and interest has been so high it is taking us awhile to narrow it down. We can’t wait to begin the program with our new writers. Stay tuned!


The Red Stitch Ensemble



Win Tickets to Bell Shakespeare’s Richard 3
at Arts Centre Melbourne 


Richard is hideous. And Richard was born knowing that he would one day be a ruler.

Award-winning actor Kate Mulvany (Julius Caesar and Macbeth) will embody one of the most ambitious and gleefully amoral villains ever written in Bell Shakespeare’s Richard 3.

To win a double pass to see the show on 22 April at 2pm, email your name and contact details to with RED RICHARD in the subject line.


Latest eNews: RULES FOR LIVING opening weekend

RULES FOR LIVING opening weekend


It’s been a dynamic rehearsal room, and now this lively family has engulfed the theatre. The rest of our opening week is sold out already and preview audiences are raving, so it might be a good idea to book ahead for Rules For Living.

Looking forward to seeing you here…it might be a little close for comfort, but then it is Red Stitch after all!


Ella Caldwell

Artistic Director

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By Sam Holcroft

Directed by Kim Farrant


Featuring Rory Kelly, Caroline Lee, Jessica Clarke, Mark Dickinson, Lily McCarthy, Ella Newton, Jem Nicholas and Ian Rooney.

14 March – 16 April

Book now


Click above to watch the RULES FOR LIVING trailer on Vimeo


Set and Costumes: Sophie Woodward

Lighting: Clare Springett

Sound and AV: Daniel Nixon

Production & Stage Manager: Shae Attril

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Win a delicious dinner for two

HOLY MOLY have we got a deal for you… Our friends down the road at Susie Wong are offering one lucky winner a COMPLIMENTARY dinner for two, valued at $100!!

All you have to do is email them at to go in the draw to win.

It’s seriously that easy. See you at dinner!


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INK shortlist coming soon

The ensemble are busily reading all the INK submissions for 2017 and we are thrilled with the quality of work and talent. Well done to all who submitted scripts. We love seeing your ideas on the page and are excited by the prospect of growing and developing new Australian plays with you! We will be announcing a shortlist soon…so watch this space.

If you want to learn more about the INK program, click here

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Playwriting Australia Masterclass


Playwriting Australia has announced a very exciting opportunity for emerging Melbourne artists. They are partnering with the Royal Exchange Theatre to host a live streamed, writing masterclass with Joanna Murray-Smith, and are looking for writers to participate.

Named by U.S. Variety as “Australia’s foremost female playwright”, Joanna Murray-Smith is a prolific and hugely talented writer. This is a remarkable and rare opportunity to improve your writing craft, with one of the Australian greats.

Submissions will close on the 7th of April.

To apply, click here.

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Update your address book

Our postal address is changing for those of you that still send us ‘snail mail’ (and if you do…we love receiving your letters).

If you wish to send us anything through the post, please take note of our shiny new mailing address:

Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre

PO BOX 1291

Windsor, VIC, 3181

Thank you, pen pals!

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Ticket giveaway


A production by Jessica Wilson created with Ian Pidd and Nicola Gunn.


A conversation is heard between two fellow passengers and—as we gaze at the passing world outside—we are seduced into an altered understanding of the environment around us.

Passenger frames Melbourne’s Docklands as a filmic landscape, a modern day western. Audience members travel on the bus with the two characters from Footscray Community Arts Centre to Arts Centre Melbourne.

To win a double pass to see the show on March 26th at 7pm, email your name and contact details to with ‘Passenger ticket giveaway’ in the subject line.

Competition closes at 5pm on Thurs, March 23rd. Good luck!

La Mama Theatre presents: IN THE MENS

Celebrations of the Australian male psyche

After numerous festival appearances in America and England, award-winning Melbourne playwright Kieran Carroll (Sons of Sun, The Giraffe’s Uncle) brings his pocket comedy/drama series IN THE MENS back to home turf with a season at La Mama Courthouse, opening 19 April.

A jockey addicted to cheesecake.

An ambitious stockbroker falling asleep on the Geelong Rd in the name of a sea-change.

A barber still caught in white 1950s Australia receiving an exasperating shake-up.

A stressed bank trainee breaking up with his fiancé over tongue-kisses and pork chops.

Wistful, poignant, startling, eccentric and hilarious, IN THE MENS is both comic riot and thorough examination of generations of the Australian male psyche. IN THE MENS was first performed in 2008 at The Tap Gallery, Darlinghurst, Sydney.

     ‘It will lead you down the road of excess to the palace of hilarity.’ Cameron Woodhead, The Age

     ‘Covers the familiar enough realms of Australian male despair but with such authority and economy

     it’s as if the topic’s been found anew.’ Owen Richardson, The Age

Show Title:              In The Mens

Venue:                     La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond St, Carlton

Dates:                      April 19-30, 2017

Times:                     Wed 6.30pm | Thu, Fri, Sat 7.30pm | Sun 4pm

Run Time:                Approx 90 mins (including interval)

Tickets:           or 03-9347 6142

Cost:                        $25 / $15 concession

Written by:              Kieran Carroll

Directed by:             Rob Gibson and Kieran Carroll

Performed by:         Ben Maclaine and Ben Grant

Set Design by:         Julia Young

Latest eNews: Behind-the-scenes RULES FOR LIVING

Inside the rehearsal room

It’s been a dynamic few weeks in the RULES FOR LIVING rehearsals room!

We are thrilled to be presenting this riotous black comedy in association with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. RULES FOR LIVING features ensemble actors Rory Kelly and Caroline Lee alongside guest actors Jessica Clarke, Mark Dickinson, Lily McCarthy, Ella Newton, Jem Nicholas and Ian Rooney. Tickets are moving quickly, so don’t miss out – book now.

Scroll down for your sneak peek into their rehearsal room.


The Red Stitch Ensemble



Sneak peek: RULES FOR LIVING rehearsals

Photos by Christina O’Neill

enews-bw11(L to R) Caroline Lee, Ian Rooney, Jem Nicholas and Rory Kelly.

enews-bw06Introducing guest actor, Mark Dickinson

img_8801Guest actor, Jem Nicholas (Love, Love, Love) and ensemble actor, Rory Kelly (Trevor)

enews-bw05Director, Kim Farrant

enews-bw03Guest actor, Jessica Clarke



Meet the Joneses

We are thrilled to announce our cast and creatives for THE REALISTIC JONESES by Will Eno.

This exquisite play sees ensemble members Ella Caldwell and Sarah Sutherland share the stage for the first time, despite being in the company together for many years. Ella (playing Pony) and Sarah (Jennifer) are joined by Justin Hosking as John and Neil Pigot as Bob, both of whom we can’t wait to have back at Red Stitch.

The Realistic Joneses marks a welcome return by the incomparable Julian Meyrick (Dead Centre/Sea Wall) to direct this wryly funny and moving piece. Julian will be working with set & costume designer Greg Clarke, lighting designer Bronwyn Pringle and composer & sound designer Ian Moorhead (Jurassica and The Village Bike).



Every stitch (still) counts

Thank you so much to all who have already donated to our Every Stitch Counts campaign. If you’re still wishing to help out, you have until May 19th to donate to our campaign. And remember, all donations before this date will have 4x the power to make a difference.

Thanks to the generosity of a major donor, all donations made during this campaign will be matched, then matched again by Creative Partnerships Australia until we meet our target.

That means that for every $1 you donate, Red Stitch will receive $4!

Every Stitch Counts (and counts and counts and counts and counts). Donations over $2 are tax deductible. You can make a big difference without a big cost. If you’d like to help, please donate here.


Cleave | The Butterfly Club

Cleave: Sex, blood, freaks and world class puppet magic in a stunning solo theatrical production by Colleen Burke. 

Daisy and Violet Hilton were conjoined twins born in 1908 in Brighton, England. They were the highest paid Vaudeville act of the 20s and 30’s. Colleen Burke was born with twin internal sex organs, and had a ‘twin’ sister who was born with cerebral palsy. Cleave is a night of intimate storytelling and puppetry that intertwines the narratives of these two sets of most unusual twins.

The Hilton Twins were exploited from the day they were born. When their appearance at Luna Park, Melbourne at the age of 4 failed to draw big audiences, the sisters went to an outback circus where they encountered Mike Myers, a Balloon Salesman from Clifton Hill. Myers took them on to fame and his own vast fortune, however they were kept prisoner throughout their lives until they were emancipated at 21, in a highly publicised court case. After numerous failed efforts to find love and marriage, they ended up working as strippers in their later lives and eventually going to work weighing fruit for a grocer before dying alone from the flu.

Colleen Burke’s family lived close by in the US at the time the sisters died. The Burke family were preparing the make the same trip across the sea back to Australia. Burke’s sister was treated as a freak at the time that many people with disabilities were shut away and forgotten in institutions. At the age of 21 Burke discovered her own ‘freakdom’ and despite her anomaly that caused a great deal of grief, she found her own taste of freedom.

Cleave is a work quite unlike any other. Colleen Burke has the unique perspective and agency to discuss the chequered history of ‘freak culture’. The production opens on the 14th of March and runs for 6 nights. Bookings highly recommended.

Show Details: Cleave

Dates: 14-19 March

Time: 8.30pm

Cost: $25-32

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne


“Who knew government corruption could be so exhilarating” l Green Room Award nominations l INK program


We’re back! Our first show is up and running with gusto and this dynamo of a play has been making quite an impact.

The response from our audiences, as well as critics, has been overwhelming. Check out just some of the glowing audience remarks about THE WAY THINGS WORK below.

See you soon,


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“Loved the energy and pace…Both actors were superb with characterisations and focus. A clever, beautifully written piece by Mr Fennessy…Relevant and very well received by the audience….deservedly so…a great start to the 2017 season.”

“I loved it and thought the actors were great. Really happy to have learned of Red Stitch Actors Theatre.”

“Powerful performances and a well written piece of theatre.” 

The Way Things Work playing until March 5th.

Book your tickets now!


INK Program

We are so excited by the standard of the INK applications that landed in our inbox last month from playwrights around the country. Thank you to all the writers who have sent us their work, we are busily reading and will announce our shortlist in March.

Speaking of terrific Australian plays, there’s still 2 weeks left of Aidan Fennessy’s “gripping” THE WAY THINGS WORK. Then later this year you can catch THE WAY OUT by Josephine Collins and DESERT, 6:29PM by Morgan Rose.


Red Stitch nabs 5 Green Room Award Nominations

Congratulations to all the Artists who have been recognised in the Green Room Nominations for their work with Red Stitch in 2016! We’re so proud of our Ensemble members Rory Kelly and Andrea Swifte for their amazing work in TREVOR and big shout outs to our guest actor and creatives, Belinda McClory, Christoper de Groot and Chloe Greeves!


Andrea Swifte – Female Performer, Trevor

Rory Kelly – Male Performer, Trevor

Belinda McClory – Female Performer, Splendour

Christopher de Groot – Music Composition and Sound Design, The River

Chloe Greeves – Set Design, The River


Latest eNews: “gripping and poetic as it is funny” THE WAY THINGS WORK now playing

Here’s what the critics are saying about:

“Fennessy’s biting satire…maintains a simmering dangerous energy in all scenes…Houghton and Petruzzi are versatile…they deliver Fennessy’s acerbic dialogue with comic assurance.”  – ★★★★, Herald Sun

“Fennessy has crafted the perfect Red Stitch show – a vehicle to showcase two actors at the height of their powers.”  –Arts Hub

“Joe Petruzzi and Peter Houghton deliver outstanding performances, shifting character with ease and maintaining impressive tension.” – Maggie Journal

“Frighteningly accurate and devastatingly funny” – Arts Review

“Gripping from start to finish…current and engaging in its subject matter and most of all, brilliantly executed. ” – Theatre People

“Aidan Fennessy masterfully and thoughtfully directs Petruzzi and Houghton in a deep and delightful dissection of Aussie male behaviours…a must see 5-star masterful piece of contemporary theatre.” – Toorak Times

The Way Things Work playing until March 5th.

Don’t miss this gripping Australian work.

Book your tickets now!


Read the full eNews here

The Age of Bones (Jaman Belulang) is an Australian-Indonesian co-production about an Indonesian boy, Ikan, who goes fishing one day and fails to return.

Assuming the worst, his parents hire a legendary seafarer to look for his corpse. He finds nothing. The Age of Bones traces what happened to Ikan – from the day he left to his eventual imprisonment in Australia and his fight to return home. Darwin writer Sandra Thibodeaux was inspired by the real-life stories of around 60 Indonesian boys who were jailed in Australia for working on refugee boats.

The Age of Bones is mostly set under the ocean in an underwater court, a fantastical piece realized through shadow puppets, video and music.

The cast includes:   Kadek Hobman (Aus); Ella Watson-Russell (Aus); Imam Setia Hagi (Indonesia); Budi Laksana (Indonesia); Gandi Maulana (Indonesia), Imas Sobariah (Indonesia) and Deri Efwanto (Indonesia).  It is co-directed by Alex Galeazzi (Aus) and Iswadi Pratama (Indonesia). 

‘I wanted to look at the terrible injustice these boys suffered in a way that was a bit magical,’ said Thibodeaux. ‘I took all the Australian scenes literally down under, beneath the ocean. The lawyer became a White Pointer; the judge an octopus …  I also wanted to explore this sad episode in Australian history from an Indonesian perspective – what it meant to the boys and their families.’

This timely and darkly funny production shines a light on a controversial chapter in Australia’s recent history.
La Mama

La Mama and Asia TOPA presents a Performing Lines/Teater Satu/Satu Bulan Theatre co-production, The Age of Bones (Jaman Belulang) by Sandra Thibodeaux, 22 February until 5 March 2017 at La Mama Courthouse, 205 Faraday Street, Carlton.  Bookings:


The first show of 2017 is here! Being an actors theatre, I am especially excited that we are starting the year with such a powerful actors’ piece. Watching the brilliant Joe Petruzzi and Peter Houghton go for it with Aidan Fennessy’s dynamo script is thrilling. I had the privilege of watching their first rehearsal run through recently and I was on the edge of my seat, their sparring onstage is sharp, laugh out loud funny and it really packs a punch.

You’ll have so much to talk about; from the incredible script to the joyful experience of watching these two actors at work onstage for 90 minutes. Ensemble member Joe continues to astonish me onstage, and this is the first time we have worked with Peter and it is a privilege to watch him. Together, they are explosive!

We can’t wait for you to see this philosophical fist-fight about the way things work. And if you haven’t subscribed yet, make sure you check out our subscription deals when you book your tickets. It saves you money, supports the work of the company, and provides you with an exhilarating array of terrific new work from Australia and around the world, throughout the year!

Can’t wait to see you at the theatre,

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Ella Caldwell

Artistic Director

Red Stitch


Written and directed by Aidan Fennessy

With Joe Petruzzi and Peter Houghton.

31 January – 5 March

Book now


Trailer by Alex Zemtzov.

Click above to watch THE WAY THINGS WORK trailer on Vimeo.


Set & Costume Aidan Fennessy

Lighting  Matt Scott

Sound Russell Goldsmith

Production and Stage Manager Shae Attril



So just who is the Ford Girl? It’s our Ngaire, of course! And her fans are besotted (we’ve been smitten with her for years). Check out her write up in the Daily Mail UK here.

What else is ‘our Ford girl’ up to? Ngaire is currently re-rehearsing The Flick ahead of its’ season at the Queensland Theatre.



Ticket Giveaways


Wallace Shawn’s The Fever

La Mama,

22 Feb – 5 March

A hotel room in an unnamed country riven by civil war.

Shawn’s unnamed speaker – a white, privileged, first world sophisticate – is addicted to third world ‘horror tourism’. His fever-driven, hallucinatory narrative loops back and forth between the three-hat restaurants, opera houses and concert halls of his ‘real’ life, and the war-torn economic devastation of his preferred holiday destinations.

Ferocious, wry, and vividly passionate, Shawn’s virtuosic text tears its way through the shame, the ethical paralysis and the gluttonous, guilty pleasure of being born at the top of the heap. Starring James Wardlaw (Middletown, NSFW) and directed by Tom Healey (Jumpers for Goalposts).

To win a double pass for Thursday, Feb 23 email with ‘Red Stitch Fever’ in the subject line.

Get in quick – first in, best dressed. Good luck!


Ursula  Martinez: Free Admission

Arts Centre Melbourne,

31 Jan – 5 Feb

One of the most provocative voices in contemporary British theatre, Ursula Martinez’s new show is as acclaimed as it is fearless. Ursula Martinez is many things: an Olivier Award winner, a cult cabaret diva, a star of stages across the world…but above-all-else she is a first-rate provocateur.

Free Admission sees her building a real brick wall between herself and the audience, while revealing her hopes, fears, frustrations, delights and disappointments. Urusla celebrates the contradictions and inconsistencies that make us human — all with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek.

To win a double pass for Tuesday 31 January, email with ‘Red Stitch/Ursula’ in the subject line by Fri 27 January.



Welcome to our Season 2017!

We’re excited to kick things off with the political powerhouse play, THE WAY THINGS WORK written and directed by Aidan Fennessy.

This commanding Australian work features ensemble member Joe Petruzzi and guest actor Peter Houghton alongside a stellar creative team. Scroll down for your sneak peek into their rehearsal room and book your tickets now!


The Red Stitch Ensemble


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A look inside the rehearsal room

Photos by Christina O’Neill


(L to R) Peter Houghton and Joe Petruzzi.




Director and writer, Aidan Fennessy


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We are happy to announce Katy Maudlin as our 2017 graduate director. She recently completed her Masters in Directing at the Victorian College of the Arts and is currently in Croatia working with the National Theatre on a new production of Verdi’s Otello.

Welcome on board, Katy!


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We are delighted to introduce some of our cast and creatives for RULES FOR LIVING by Sam Holcroft.

Featuring ensemble actors Rory Kellly (Trevor) and Caroline Lee (Sunshine) and guest actors Jem Nichols (Love, Love Love), Jessica Clarke and Mark Dickinson.


Kim Farrant directs this hilarious Australian premiere and is joined by creatives Shae Attrill (Production manager), Sophie Woodward (Set & Costume), Daniel Nixon (Sound) and Clare Springett (Lighting).

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Ever wonder what some of our ensemble members are up to outside of Red Stitch productions? Look for the hashtag #outsidethestitch to find out:

Ensemble member Kate Cole is performing in the hit musical, Ladies in Black which is currently playing at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney. But don’t worry – the production is touring nationally, so you can catch it in Melbourne: playing 25 Feb – 18 March at the Regent Theatre. Check out the trailer below!

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Read the full eNews here