Festival Fatale 2o16 line-up announced

WITS FF poster 2

Women in Theatre and Screen (WITS) is thrilled to reveal Festival Fatale’s inaugural program.

Six staged productions, four play readings and 11 cabaret acts will be announced, making up a two-day theatre festival celebrating female-driven theatre works on 29 and 30 October at the Eternity Playhouse.

Festival Fatale comes as a response to the wider movement within Sydney’s theatre community to celebrate and enhance the ways we tell ‘Her Story’ in theatre.

“Festival Fatale’s program includes diverse, relevant and ground-breaking work that champions women artists and women’s stories. By not providing women with equal opportunity – as we have seen in historically male-heavy theatre season programming – Sydney audiences have been missing out,” said Festival Fatale Artistic Director and Co-Founder of WITS Lizzie Schebesta. “WITS hopes that by showcasing women in theatre, more companies will follow our lead and give greater volume and quality voices to women on stage,” Schebesta said.

Kate Gaul – representing the selection panel – announced the women-led independent theatre companies and their female-majority creative teams that will make up Festival Fatale (full list below).

“Under 30% of plays produced on Australian stages are written or directed by women, and of those many are at the smaller, often independent theatres where remuneration is minimal. In 2016 we are still educating theatre producers that women are capable and eager to contribute in all areas of theatre, including writing, directing, designing and producing. Festival Fatale encourages theatre goers to see performance work by women and reminds producers that equity matters to their audiences,” Gaul said.

Tickets on sale now! Buy single tickets or subscription packages here.



Gr8 Skin

Tee O’Neill

Gr8Skin is a feminist satire exploring the myths of beauty.


Dana McMillan

D+NA is a conceptual work about how collective feminism might look. The performance is framed by data and looks to results that can be charted concerning our identity and politics.


Katie Pollock

Abigail faints. She’s developed uncontrollable tics. Soon the whole town is afflicted. Normal asks questions about mass hysteria and the struggle for teenage girls to fit in.


Presented by She Said Theatre (Melbourne)


Australian Booty

Australian Booty is a work consisting of a series of jokes, songs, stories and spoken word tracking Candy B’s journey from booty shame to booty pride. The work explores fierce intersectional feminism and empowerment in Australia in a delicious way.

Writer/ Performer: Candy Bowers

Composer/ Sound Designer/ Performer: Kim “Busty Beatz” Bowers

Lighting Designer: Daniel Anderson

(Note Original Director: Nelly Thomas)


Slut aggressively explores the sexuality of young women in contemporary society. Lolita is the only named character, and is a slut. The play maps her rise and fall, her navigation of the line between sexy and slutty. It examines young women’s politics and the crucible of adolescence.

Writer: Patricia Cornelius

Director: Erin Taylor

Assistant Director: Laura Johnston

Actors: Maryann Wright, Julia Dray, Jessica Belle-Keogh, Danielle Stamoulos, Bobbie-Jean Henning

Set & Costume Design: Isabel Hudson

Sound Design: Nate Edmondson

Producers: Edgeware Forum and Rue de la Rocket


Ronnàd is a selkie – a mythical being that is a seal in the water but a human on land. She finds herself trapped on the beach and is taken in by Séan, but struggles to fit into “human” life. Selkie is a play about “other”, cultural assimilation and emotional abuse from an intimate partner.

Writer: Finn O’Branagain

Director/Producer: Nicola James

Composer: Helen Grimley

Designer: Shelly Jam

A Little Piece of Ash

The play is about a young Aboriginal woman dealing with grief. It explores how to deal with loss and the survival of the modern Aboriginal woman.

Writer: Megan Wilding


A comedic, satirical, cabaret-style piece that draws from famous cinematic female duos in order to subvert notions of power, beauty and age.

Writer/Performer/Producer: Kate Smith

Writer/Performer: Liesel Badorrek

Designer/Stage Manager: Annete Twenlow

Too Rude

Too Rude takes inspiration from television Variety Hours and explores the complexity and problems of gentrification: renewing neighbourhoods, pop-up galleries and art in the city. The work is a comedic and experimental interdisciplinary work.

Writer/ Musician/ Performer: Emma McManus

Performer: Maria White


Toy Choir

A group of young women who sing and accompany themselves on the ukulele. They have a repertoire of 22 (and counting) original songs. The group is encouraging young women, their families and schools to get involved.

Director: Danielle O’Keefe

Sarah Gaul

Sarah Gaul’s cabaret tells the story of her life and the people she knows – all the stories feed back into her identity as a woman. Through song and comedy, she explores issues such as LGBTQI equality and the ethics of religion. She aims to empower through her show.


Come on a rural journey of a small town with big problems, sink holes, deadly snakes, diesel shortages!

Writers/Performers: Hannah Reilly, Eliza Reilly

Alysia Rose

Alysia Rose’s music is lyrically compelling and speaks to female issues such as abortion, objectification of women, love and the unspoken sisterhood all women share regardless of race and age.

Six Quick Chicks

CHICKS performances are different every time; they all rely heavily on audience interaction and provide quirky and empowering entertainment. They’re a collective of independent female artists who each have their own 5-10 minute piece in a Variety Show style format.

Kate Walder

One-woman cabaret act.

Billie Rose

Billie Rose sings her original work coming off the back as the successful lead singer/rapper of Daily Meds.


Curtains shows showbiz disasters accumulating through the style of black comedy and lesser-known music theatre songs. A bio-cabaret recounting O’Reilly’s life and the theatrical disasters that went with it.

Blockhead & Singing Saw

Marlena Rosenthal’s acts focus on typically “masculine” skills such as comedy and dangerous stunts, which aim to subvert female roles in entertainment. She presents a powerful, queer, funny woman on stage.

Why did She Leave Me?

An interactive cabaret featuring originals and covers about a feminist comedy duo splitting up.

Performer: Irene Nicola


Kate Hood performs a selection from her play reading application for Triple Take. 

Playwright Patricia Cornelius, whose play SLUT is programmed for a full staged production at Festival Fatale said on the news, “I’m delighted to have SLUT in Festival Fatale. It’s timely for a festival of Australian women’s work. In fact it’s long overdue.”



ANNOUNCING… WITS Game Changer Launch for Festival Fatale & the WITS on AustralianPlays.org showcase.

WITS on AustralianPlays.org – A New Showcase for Women Playwrights


On the eve of International Women’s Day Australianplays.org, in conjunction with WITS (Women in Theatre & Screen), will unveil a new showcase of work by Australian women playwrights.

WITS on Australianplays.org will highlight a collection of over five hundred playscripts amassed over nearly forty years. The online Showcase will feature the capacity to search for scripts written by women or containing significant and complex female roles.

Director of Australianplays.org Gail Cork said:

“Australianplays.org is delighted to be collaborating with WITS to highlight the extraordinary body of work by Australian women playwrights.

“Australianplays.org is the definitive online repository of Australian playscripts, featuring over 2,000 works. WITS on AustralianPlays.org makes that vast collection accessible in a brand new way that advances gender equity, an issue that the theatre sector has struggled for years to address.

‘When this collaboration between Australianplays.org and WITS was first suggested we immediately recognised it as an idea whose time had come.”

WITS spokesperson Matilda Ridgway said:

“The WITS on AustralianPlays.org database is a tool for vigilance. For promoting female playwrights, promoting stories that have a significant and complex female experience at their heart, and promoting plays that have great roles for female actors.

“We hope it leads to a richer and more diverse theatre ecology and to true parity for Australian women writers for performance.”

See the database here: http://australianplays.org/wits/welcome

Festival Fatale – Making HERstory


On the eve of International Women’s Day, Women in Theatre and Screen (WITS) proudly announce WITS will produce a two-day women’s theatre festival, Festival Fatale, in October at the Eternity Playhouse, supported by Darlinghurst Theatre Company and Creative Partnerships Australia through the Match Program.

The festival will include main-stage performances, cabarets, play readings and workshops by female-driven independent theatre companies. All programmed writing will be by women and all leading protagonists on stage will be women.

Festival Fatale comes as a response to the gender gap in Australian theatre company’s 2016 Seasons, where roughly 30 per cent of women make up the writer and director creative teams. The festival attempts to bridge that gap by showcasing groundbreaking, relevant and significant work by women.

“WITS want to demonstrate that by not providing women with equal opportunity, Sydney audiences have been missing out on experiencing women tackle the human condition in the theatre in a complex, challenging and significant way,” festival director and co-founder of WITS Lizzie Schebesta said. “We hope that ‘Festival Fatale’ will excite and encourage other theatre companies to follow our lead in programing significant female content for their audiences.”

In order to raise required funds for the festival, WITS has launched a Pozible campaign, asking the Australian theatre community to put their money where the women are and pledge today: http://www.pozible.com/project/204514.

WITS is a Sydney-based arts collective fighting to ensure that women are represented equally and with integrity across all creative fields in the theatre and screen industries in Australia. Founded in October 2015, WITS works to steer energy and resources towards positive advocacy and support for women in the industry, as seen in their Think Tank events previously hosted at the Seymour Centre, Belvoir and Carriageworks.

Submissions for Festival Fatale open in May. More information at www.festivalfatale.com. Connect with WITS on Facebook: www.facebook.com/witsaus



Monday, March 7th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Equity Courtyard MEAA, 245 Chalmers Street, Redfern NSW

RSVP to info@wits.org.au


Australianplays.org: Gail Cork 0412 106774

WITS rep: Matilda Ridgway: 0433 753583

Media and Publicity: Maryann Wright: 0414 621 917