Maggie Dence in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (c) John Marmaras

Mad March Hare in association with Red Line Productions is thrilled to present the Sydney premiere of the groundbreaking theatrical drama Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph for a limited season at the Old Fitz Theatre from 12 April.

The lives of two American Marines and an Iraqi translator are forever changed by an encounter with a quick- witted tiger who haunts the streets of war-torn Baghdad. As the tiger seeks the meaning of life through witnessing the puzzling absurdities of war, the Americans and Iraqis search for friendship, redemption, and a toilet seat made of gold.

Debuting in California with a Broadway production that followed in early 2011, the Tiger was famously played by Robin Williams in his final Broadway performance. In this new production directed by Claudia Barrie (Belleville, Shivered), the role of the Tiger will be played by industry veteran Maggie Dence (The Mavis Bramston Show, The Turquoise Elephant, The Sullivans). Maggie was the 2011 recipient of the Equity Awards Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding services to the performing arts – both stage and screen – and her long involvement with the NSW Actors’ Benevolent Fund. The award, presented by Foxtel, was from Maggie’s peers and members of MEAA which Maggie has been a proud member of since 1962.

“So often characters in war stories are written as victims or terrorists,” said Barrie. “This play is a breath of fresh air, nuanced and complex. The characters are so rich, not just symbols for something. They are unique and powerful in their own right. There is no good or bad, right or wrong. Every element of humanity is examined in this play, and believe it or not, the play is actually very funny. I think that helps reach out and grab each audience member so strongly”.

“Adding to the complexities of this play is the role of women and how they are treated and seen across both Western and Eastern cultures,” said Barrie. “I was fascinated with what shift would happen if our Tiger was a grand matriarch type figure, a regal and wonderful woman who had been displaced, caged and neglected. To me this is representative of the confines and abuse women have suffered and continue to suffer across the globe”.

The diverse cast also includes Josh Anderson (Belleville, Shivered), Tyler De Nawi (Here Come the Habibs, The Principal), Andrew Lindqvist (Howl, The Canterbury Tales), Stephen Multari (Remembering Pirates, The House of Ramon Iglesia), recent WAAPA graduate Megan Smart (Breath) and Aanisa Vylet (Deadly Women, Martyrs).

Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo received nominations for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010 and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Play in 2011.

“A majestic, richly conceived play with fanciful humour and clear-eyed compassion… A savagely funny and visionary work.” — The New York Times

“A gripping, ferocious drama. Refreshing topical and stylistically daring. Bengal Tiger never loses its sight of wonder or humour.” —Time Out, New York

“The bottom line: Dark and disturbing but also corrosively funny, Rajiv Joseph’s play set during the early days of the Iraq War is an exotic original.” —Hollywood Reporter


Presented by Mad March Hare in association with Red Line Productions
Written by Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Claudia Barrie
Lighting Design by Ben Brockman
Set Design by Isabel Hudson
Sound Design by Nate Edmondson
Costume Design by Stephanie Howe
Stage Management by Brooke Kiss
With Josh Anderson, Tyler De Nawi, Maggie Dence, Andrew Lindqvist, Stephen Multari, Megan Smart and Aanisa Vylet

Venue: Old Fitz Theatre, 129 Dowling Street (Cnr Cathedral Street), Woolloomooloo

Season: 12 April – 6 May

Times: Tues-Sat 8:15pm, Sunday 6:30pm

Running Time: 2 hours (including interval)

Price: $42 Adult, $35 Concession, $30 Previews and Cheap Tuesday


*The New Fitz play Amongst Ruins (Snake Eggs Hatch) by Michael McStay and inspired by Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo will play 25 April – 6 May, directed by Madeline Humphreys. Shows start at 6:30pm Tues-Sat and at 4:30pm on Sun and runs for approximately 40mins with no interval. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit