Hayes Theatre Co expands and conquers

Hayes Theatre Co has only been operating for 18 months. Since their first production – the runaway smash hit re-imagining of Sweet Charity, directed by Dean Bryant and starring Verity Hunt-Ballard, who won a Helpmann Award for it, the company has leapt from strength to strength.

When the doors re-opened at the old Darlinghurst Theatre, re-named to honour Nancye Hayes, the mission was clear: to provide “a permanent home for small-scale musical theatre and cabaret.” In its short time open, the Hayes has done just that, staging classic shows and Australian and worldwide premieres; curating a cabaret festival; producing Australian musicals; organising a cabaret ‘Month of Sundays’ program.

Last week the company held an invitation-only “Coming Soon” announcement to launch their shows for the second half of 2015, and to toast their well-earned successes.

Producer and performer David Campbell emcee’d the evening, which featured performances from upcoming shows, brief talks about the new season, and a lot of love and laughter.

It’s not often that a venue and company can change the state of theatre in a city, but the Hayes has done just that. Not all of the shows at the Hayes have been successes, but they have managed to really connect with audiences in shows that explore, in particular, issues that are deeply resonant to today’s audiences, like class and gender divides, like love and loss and war and the societies we struggle, sometimes, to live within (for example: Sweet Charity, Blood Brothers, Dogfight).  By showcasing the breadth of depth of the musical theatre form, and the versatility of cabaret, they have managed to make a case in Sydney for its endurance, viability, and artistic importance. Sydney is now lucky enough to find this kind of exploration in a few different places, and to know it all has a home at the Hayes.

AKIO! | 4 – 12 July

is a shy young boy who is bullied at school and spends his waking hours immersed in video games – the only thing that can draw his attention away is Harumi, the girl of his dreams. The adventure begins when a strange chain of events lead AKIO! and Harumi to be sucked into a video game world. When Harumi is kidnapped by a powerful, villainous creature, AKIO! has to save her but where will he get his strength? Where will he find his bravery? How will he stand up and face fear head on?

Heathers | 16 July to 9 August 2015.
Director Trevor Ashley. Musical Director Bev Kennedy. Starring Jaz Flowers and Lucy Maunder.

HEATHERS THE MUSICAL is the darkly delicious story of Veronica Sawyer, a brainy, beautiful teenage misfit who hustles her way into the most powerful and ruthless clique at Westerberg High: The Heathers. But before she can get comfortable atop the high school food chain, Veronica falls in love with the dangerously sexy new kid J.D. When Heather Chandler, the Almighty, kicks her out of the group, Veronica decides to bite the bullet and kiss Heather’s aerobicized ass… but J.D. has another plan. In addition to Jaz Flowers and Lucy Maunder, HEATHERS will star Stephen Madsen, Erin Clare, Libby Asciak, Vincent Hooper and Jakob Ambrose.


MASTERCLASS | 12 August to 30 August 2015
Director Daniel Lammin. Musical Director Cameron Thomas. STARRING Maria Mercedes, Blake Bowden, Cameron Thomas and Georgia Wilkinson

Inspired by Maria Callas’ 1971 visit to New York’s Juilliard School of Music, Terrence McNally’s Master Class is an insightful look at the life and art of opera’s most beloved and controversial diva.


High Society | From 4 September
Directed by Helen Dallimore. Musical Director Mark Chamberlain. STARRING Amy Lehpamer, Bert Labonte, Bobby Fox, and Virginia Gay

Tracy Lord is adored by a society that worships her beauty, stature and grace – but underneath her cool reserve, her heart yearns for something real. Wayward family members, wise-cracking interlopers and an inconvenient ex-husband all converge to make Tracy’s wedding preparations a battle against temptation, blackmail, and sobriety. What a swell party this is!

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High Society will star @amylehpamer #hayes2015!

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RENT | 8 October to 1 November 2015
Director: Shaun Rennie. Musical Director: Andrew Worboys

Over the course of a year at the dawn of the 1990s, in the heart of New York City’s East Village, Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning RENT follows a group of friends as they stake their claim on their survival, explore the depths of love, and discover the gift of today.

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RENT at the Hayes!

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New Musicals Australia Winning Musical | 6 – 22 November

Hayes Theatre Co is proud to present a world premiere production of an Australian Musical – we just can’t tell you what it is yet. New Musicals Australia is an initiative dedicated to the development and production of original music theatre. We assist emerging writers and composers to get their work off the ground through a series of developmental programs. In 2014 writers were invited to submit their shows for assessment by a professional panel of industry members including other writers, directors, producers and performers. From these submissions a shortlist of new works was created. Each of these productions will present a short excerpt for the panel and from this two musicals will be chosen to go through to a workshop development. One of these shows will be selected for presentation at Hayes Theatre Co from 6 November to 22 November 2015 in its premiere production.

Violet | 2 November to 20 December
Directed by Mitchell Butel. Musical Direction by Lucy Bermingham. STARRING Samantha Dodemaide as Violet

Violet is a musical, with music by Jeanine Tesori and libretto by Brian Crawley, based on the short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts. It tells the story of a young disfigured woman who embarks on a journey by bus from her farm in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, all the way to Tulsa, Oklahoma to find the preacher she believes can heal her.

Also announced on the night:
As part of A Month of Sundays, Jai Higgs and Dash Kruck in association with Hayes Theatre Co will present Dash Kruck in I Might Take My Shirt Off. From the mischievous mind of Dash Kruck and with original music by Chris Perren this will be an evening of cabaret not soon forgotten.

The next Neglected Musical staging will be Dear World, directed by Nicholas Hammond on August 3, 2015.

Hayes Theatre Co has launched TALK through its website, a page dedicated to communicating with our audience and exploring in more depth our productions, artists, creative and other aspects of the performing arts. TALK consists of a regular podcasts AT THE HAYES, and TALK with Ben Neutze, a series of editorials about the many different aspects of musical theatre and cabaret – At The Hayes and TALK are now live on the website.

This is a huge half-season, and tickets are sure to sell fast, so to grab yours – and for more information on all of these shows and mored – stop by the Hayes Theatre Co website.

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and was the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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