Theatre for your ears

Melbourne Theatre Company will premiere MTC Audio Lab on Friday 17 July, a new series of audio dramas beginning with a collection of Great Australian Speeches followed by an episodic reading of Henry James’s classic horror novella, The Turn of the Screw.

In launching MTC Audio Lab, MTC Artistic Director & CEO Brett Sheehy AO said,

A solely audio project is different to anything we’ve done before but while we’re currently offstage, it is a fantastic way to offer audiences a style of performance that is theatrical, evocative and intimate. It’s exciting – we’re thinking of it as theatre for your ears. It was also a joy to have actors back in the rehearsal room and to bring artists together in the process of creative storytelling.

Curated by MTC Associate Director Petra Kalive, the collection of Great Australian Speeches herald from the 1800s to today, focusing on times of great change in Australia’s history. The collection captures a cross-section of notable voices including political leaders, First Nations activists and a legendary opera singer.

Ms Kalive said, ‘Speeches are not literature that we read, hear or return to often, but they nevertheless have had a dramatic impact on our cultural conversation. We revisit these particular speeches at a time when there is very little inspirational oratory, which I think highlights their significance even more.’

For the second series, MTC Associate Artistic Director Sarah Goodes chose to direct Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, citing it as one of the most influential Gothic thrillers ever written.

Ms Goodes said, ‘Dark and claustrophobic, The Turn of the Screw is perfectly suited to an audio format. The story’s relentless tension builds slowly and surely through a very clever and precise manipulation of sound and silence. Its ambiguity and suspense has provided endless fascination and been the source of debate between critics, readers and scholars for many years.’

Great Australian Speeches will be available from Friday 17 July and performed by Shareena Clanton, Mark Coles Smith, Marg Downey, Greg Stone, Leonie Whyman, and Izabella Yena.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James will be available from Friday 31 July, read by Laurence Boxhall, Marg Downey, Robert Menzies and Katherine Tonkin.

MTC Audio Lab will be available for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Soundcloud, and at

Series 1

Great Australian Speeches
Director Petra Kalive
Cast Shareena Clanton, Mark Coles Smith, Marg Downey, Greg Stone, Leonie Whyman, Izabella Yena

Texts include
Faith Bandler’s Faith, Hope & Reconciliation read by Leonie Whyman
Shareena Clanton’s The Age of Ignorance is Over read by Shareena Clanton
John Curtin’s Japan Enters the War read by Greg Stone
Miles Franklin’s Henry Lawson Tribute read by Izabella Yena
Vida Goldstein’s Open Letter to Parliament read by Marg Downey
Ned Kelly’s Cameron Letter read by Greg Stone
Dame Enid Lyons Maiden Speech read by Marg Downey
Dame Nellie Melba’s Farewell read by Marg Downey
Robert Menzies’s The Forgotten People read by Mark Coles Smith
Lowitja O’Donoghue’s opening of the National Congress of Australia’s First People read by Shareena Clanton
Banjo Paterson’s The Man From Snowy River read by Mark Coles Smith
Jack Patten’s opening address to the Day of Mourning Protest read by Mark Coles Smith
Senator Dorothy Tangney’s Maiden Speech read by Izabella Yena
Ellen Van Neerven’s poems Politicians Having Long Showers on Stolen Land, White Excellence and All That is Loved read by Leonie Whyman

Series 2

The Turn of the Screw
by Henry James

Cast Laurence Boxhall, Marg Downey, Robert Menzies, Katherine Tonkin
Director Sarah Goodes
Composer & Sound Designer Clemence Williams

Peter J Snee

Peter is a British born creative, working in the live entertainment industry. He holds an honours degree in Performing Arts and has over 12 years combined work experience in producing, directing and managing artistic programs & events. Peter has traversed the UK, Europe and Australia pursuing his interest in theatre. He is inspired by great stories and passionately driven by pursuing opportunities to tell them.

Peter J Snee

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