Book in for the best Melbourne shows with our guide to new and upcoming theatre in Melbourne. Our theatre critics recommend the best shows to see right now, as well as the most exciting upcoming shows in Melbourne. For more Melbourne theatre information, check out our latest reviews and our guide to scoring cheap theatre tickets.
Critics' choice Melbourne shows
J.K. Rowling's West End play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is set to open in Melbourne in early 2019, and is almost certain to break as many records locally as it has in London. But before Harry, Hermione and Ron make their Australian theatrical debut, another group of Hogwarts students will take to the stage. Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic tells the story of students unlucky enough to be sorted into Hufflepuff (and let's face it – even though Rowling claims that she is herself a Hufflepuff, nobody wants to be sorted into the house whose most famous student is Cedric Diggory). The characters in Puffs might not be destined for greatness, but that doesn't mean they don't make for fascinating theatre. The play is set across the seven years when Harry Potter attended the school of witchcraft and wizardry. And while the Gryffindors and Slytherins get most of the attention of Hogwarts staff – and constantly threaten to derail the basic wizarding education most students are seeking – there's plenty happening to three students who went through school with the most famous boy wizard of all time. The show will start performances at the Alex Theatre in St Kilda on May 26, with playwright Matt Cox and American director Kristin McCarthy Parker travelling to Australia to oversee the local production. The show's protagonist, Wayne, will be an Australian boy wizard played by Ryan Hawke. His best friends are goth girl Megan (Ev
Patricia Cornelius is one of the most fearless and unique voices in Australian theatre, and although she’s won just about every prize available to a playwright in the country, she tends to fly under the radar at our biggest theatre companies. Now her work is coming to the Melbourne Theatre Company mainstage in this adaptation of The House of Bernarda Alba that transports the action to Western Australia where four daughters and their mother are mourning the death of their mining mogul father. Leticia Cáceres, who last year won the Helpmann Award for directing Leah Purcell’s The Drover’s Wife will helm an all-star cast with Candy Bowers, Peta Brady, Julie Forsyth, Bessie Holland, Sue Jones, Melita Jurisic and Emily Milledge. Creating this uniquely Australian world is the always inventive designer Marg Horwell.
Winter in Melbourne means many things: it's time to bust out those boots and jumpers, you'll find hot mulled wine in big vats in bars around the city (and remember why you love it so much), and the circus is in town. Circus Oz sets up its (heated!) big top at the Royal Botanic Gardens one June 26 to unveil its new show, Precarious. Expect acts like foot juggling, aerial rope and tippy ring, roué cyr (giant hoop), Chinese pole and hula hoop, all accompanied by the famous Circus Oz band. As always, the new show has a strong social justice and environmental message. The co-directors of Precarious say the new show is designed to ask hard questions: "We are in precarious times environmentally. How much more can our ecosystem take? Are we approaching the tipping point? Can humanity restore the natural balance before it is too late?” The circus offers 'relaxed' performances for people who experience a sensory or communication disability or autism spectrum disorder, along with AUSLAN-interpreted and audio description performances. Circus Oz is now celebrating its 40th anniversary, and its commitment to social justice causes is as strong as ever. If you like your circus mixed with a strong political message, enthusiasm and bucketloads of fun, get tickets now.
You're watching someone creep through deserted hallways in a house with a violent past. There's an ominous creak, and you think you see a flash of movement out of the corner of your eye. You tense as the music swells, knowing a scare could shock you at any moment. To calm your breathing, you tell yourself: "It's only a movie. It's only a movie." But at Arts Centre Melbourne this September, it won't be just a movie. Jakop Ahlbom's critically acclaimed (Time Out London gave it four stars) Horror is like a scary movie unfolding before your eyes, with no screens separating you from the terrifying action. Part circus, part mime, part dance, part theatre, all terrifying, Horror uses all the cinematic tropes that scary movie fans love, but by putting them on stage reifies the experience more than any movie ever could. This is the first time Horror has been seen in Australia, but it has delighted (and scared the bejeezus out of) audiences all around the world. It is not suitable for people under 15 – we are talking serious scares here, people. It will only be in Melbourne for a few days, so get in quick. The real terror would be missing out.
The Melbourne Festival is a world-renowned celebration of the finest art from across the country and the globe. Melburnians have come to expect some serious talent headlining their festival; past names include New York performance artist Taylor Mac doing a 24-hour popular music spectacular, and legendary Canadian theatremaker Robert Lepage. The 2017 festival was the second under artistic director Jonathan Holloway, and possibly boasted the most ambitious program yet. Relive all the action with our wrap-up of the 10 best things we saw at the Melbourne Festival. The 2018 Melbourne Festival will be held in October.
After winning season nine of RuPaul’s Drag Race and delighting audiences with her experimental drag aesthetic, New York’s own Sasha Velour is coming back to Melbourne. Velour will be bringing her 75-minute one-woman show Live and in Colour to the Plenary for one night only on Friday January 11, 2019. This show takes inspiration from Brooklyn’s drag scene with Velour set to perform a few of her favourite songs including ‘Cellophane’, ‘This Woman’s Work’ and ‘Don’t Cry Out Loud’. The show will bring Velour’s signature hyper-gendered queer fantasy to life – and maybe a little rose petal wig reveal, if we play our cards right.