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australian theatre live : australian plays to view on demand

Jennifer Hagan in David Williamson’s classic EMERALD CITY – Pic Brett Broadman
Grant Dodwell and Peter Hiscock – Pic Britta Campion
Grant Dodwell in his home office

If you don’t live near a theatre, or you can’t get to a theatre, or like a lot of people right now, are forbidden from actually going to the theatre, – you’ve probably spent hours online scrolling to find something you haven’t yet seen. 

Thank you to the vision of its Creative Director Grant Dodwell there now exists a website where you can rent filmed performances of well known Australian works.

The website is called Australian Theatre Live (ATL) and it already has nine Australian works which are put in the best light by outstanding Australian productions.

The works  are ‘You’re Not Special’, ‘The Dapto Chaser’, ‘This Much Is True’, ‘Diving For Pearls’, ‘The Wharf Revue’, ‘Liberty Equality Fraternity’ and ‘Emerald City’.

ATL’s principle purpose is to inspire, encourage and promote artistic achievement at every level of our community and to offer all Australians the opportunity to enjoy, critique and participate in the development of our artistic heritage. 

If you’ve ever been to a live theatre performance, whether it be a small grass-roots production or the premier of a global stage play, you’ll know that there’s no feeling and experience quite like it.

Sitting in the audience being immersed in the captivating performances, the tense dialogue, or hilarious one-liners. The lighting, costumes, and the way the actors use the space. It’s a privilege to witness, and with COVID restrictions closing down all theatres down for the time being, going online is the only option that theatregoers have at the moment.

Dodwell advises that the filmmaking process involved in capturing the performance is intricate and artful.

“We don’t just plonk a camera on a tripod at the front of the stage, hit record and post it online. We’re talking weeks in pre-production and planning, multiple cameras with the best cinema crews filming the live production, and producers and directors telling Camera A to pan and Camera D to zoom in–simultaneously. We only get one shot.

“Australian Theatre Live cameras really follow the action, the vision and audio quality is exceptional. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to live theatre in lockdown.

As Australia’s most famous playwright, David Williamson explains, “people suddenly find that theatre is something else again, that theatre can be exciting . . . you can see levels of acting skill that you will never see in the cinema”. 

Australian Theatre Live is offering Sydney Arts Guide readers a free video to watch.

The three Australian Theatre Live founders have had impressive careers in acting, directing and producing. 

Grant Dodwell trained at NIDA, he is best known as Dr Simon Bowen in ‘A Country Practice’ winning three Logie awards for the role he played for three years of its eleven year run. 

Peter Hiscock has worked with the ABC on many of its most respected news and current affairs programs, and for many years, an award winning producer on the Nine Network’s prestigious SUNDAY program. 

Raj Sidhu is a NIDA graduate and a certified trainer in Human Synergistic LSI tools. Raj has coached many of Australia’s top executives in leadership development, sales development and strategic thinking. 

Dodwell, Hiscock and Sidhu saw an opportunity to come together to record and distribute popular Australian theatre and distribute them to audiences across the country and the world.

Their aim is to make theatre accessible to arts lovers regardless of location, language or affordability.

ATLive filmed productions will also create a rich resource for students and researchers of the theatrical arts and record and preserve Australian playwriting, performing and stage production heritage for the future. 

ATLive is offering Sydney Arts Guide readers to watch one of their shows, the Wharf Revue, for free. All you need to do is click on this hyperlink and you will be taken directly to see the show :

On another note, ATLive is currently seeking funding to help with its next project, the filming of a production of the late, legendary playwright Alex Buzo’s play ‘Norm and Ahmed’.

This is the link for donations:

Here is the link to the website :

You can hear Grant Dodwell talks about some of the highlights from his long career on this podcast link :

Featured image : A scene from Michael Gow’s ‘Away’ featuring actor Liam Nunan, currently available for rent on Australian Theatre Live. Pic Pia Johnson



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