When Allison Hilbig came to me on March 20th, 2016 with the suggestion of me taking on-board the task of writing a new column for Australian theatre publication Theatre People, I jumped like a newt onto Miss Trunchbull’s leg and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. We have had our challenges throughout the year but I have enjoyed every moment of this journey and hope you enjoy keeping up to date as we enter into our second year.

It was a hard task picking just ten highlights, but I believe this list encompasses the reason I fell in love with theatre in the first place: the sense of community, the celebration of achievements, the fight to always improve and better ourselves and how we assist others so that they too can be apart of the magical world of theatre.

– Nichole Conolly


1. Aladdin – Autism Friendly performance 

November 4th, 2016 saw the announcement that Disney and Autism Awareness Australia would partner again to put on an autism friendly performance of the much loved family musical Aladdin to the Capitol Theatre in Sydney on March 4th, 2017. Autism friendly performances allow families and individuals who live with ASD and other disabilities to attend the theatre. Many families find it difficult to attend regular performances due to a variety of reasons. We hope in the future more shows take the initiative to nurture inclusiveness.


2. Kinky Boots cast perform at AFL pride game

On August 13th, the Australian cast of Kinky Boots together with the OCPAC choir performed at the inaugural AFL Pride Game held at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. Kinky Boots and the message behind the AFL’s pride game is the same “just be who you want to be.”


3. Arts well- being collective established

February 9th, 2017 saw the announcement of the establishment of the Arts well-being collective. The arts well-being collective is a consortium of close to 90 Victorian arts and cultural organisations who shared vision is to better effect the mental health and well-being of Victorian arts workers.



4. Side Show wins the award for most outstanding independent musical at GLUGS

For those who don’t know me, my day job is a circus performer and teacher, so the day they announced that Side Show would be performed at the Hayes Theatre I was there. The announcement of their win at the GLUGS awards night on February, 6th 2017 was a nice surprise for those in attendance including Director Richard Carroll and performers KerrieAnne Greenland, Laura Bunting and Daniel Belle.


5. Following Maryann Wright’s journey on The Voice 

Australian theatre publicist Maryann Wright made it through to the Super Battles on Season 5 of The Voice. After coaches Delta Goodrem and Ronan Keating turned during her blind audition rendition of ‘Maybe This Time’, Wright chose to work with Delta Goodrem. Wright then won through to the super battles after battling Natasha Hoeberigs with well known musical theatre song ‘Memory’ from CATS. Unfortunately, Wright was eliminated in the next round, but not before a beautiful performance of ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ from Jesus Christ Superstar.


6. Jacqui Dark wins Alumna Award at Federation University 

Acclaimed Australian Mezzo- Soprano Jacqui Dark was announced as a winner of the distinguished alumna award at the Federation University awards held on June 28th, 2016. It was a big year for Dark who portrayed Mother Abbess in the recent Australian production of The Sound of Music.

7. Matilda wins 13 Helpmann Awards 

Hit musical Matilda (currently showing at Perth’s Crown Theatre) took out 13 awards including the prestigious award for Best Musical at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre on July 26th, 2016.

Their other awards included Best Male Actor in a Musical- James Millar for his role of Miss Trunchbull and Best Female Actor in a Musical – Molly Barwick, Dusty Bursill, Tiana Mirra, Alannah Parfett, Sasha Rose, Georgia Taplin, Bella Thomas and Ingrid Torelli for their role of Matilda.


8.  Establishment of Underground Broadway in Brisbane 

August 8th, 2016 saw the premiere of Underground Broadway, an initiative by Spencer Bignell and Jarrad Lindsay. Held at the New Globe Theatre, the event which is held bi-monthly is a showcase of Australian talent within the atmosphere of a New York piano bar. Bringing together established musical theatre performers from visiting productions as well as talented up and coming and junior performers.


9. Home Grown in Melbourne 

Held frequently at Chapel of Chapel in Melbourne, Home Grown is the best place to experience the best and newest material written by Australia’s own musical theatre writers. I was lucky enough to be in attendance at their 2nd birthday celebrations on June, 5th 2016.

10. My Fair Lady breaks Sydney Opera House record 

On October 6th, 2016 it was announced that much loved musical My Fair Lady (currently playing at Brisbane’s QPAC Lyric Theatre) had broken the Sydney Opera House record, smashing box office sales and selling more tickets than any other show ever at the venue.


And … an Honourable Mention

In August 2016, I set out to cover Songs for a New World which was playing at Hayes Theatre in Sydney. The problem was that by the time I had sent the draft away for editing another cast member had fallen ill and I would rewrite it to accommodate this. Everyone involved in the show dug deep and proved “the show must go on” and what a remarkable and tear jerking show it was. Props to Teagan Wouters, Sophie Carter, Cameron MacDonald, Hilary Cole, Natalie O’Donnell, Joshua Robson and Christopher Scalzo who carried the show. The season included moments such as flying O’Donnell up from Melbourne, Cole’s fantastic on book performance after being called in on Friday day to rehearse for a performance that night, co- producer Robson jumping in to play Man 2 and the fact Scalzo managed to come out the other side sickness free.