MAPA Commissions New Australian Theatre and Musical Works

MAPA Commissions New Australian Theatre and Musical Works

Committed to supporting the current generation of performance makers, the Monash Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA), in conjunction with the Monash University Centre for Theatre and Performance and the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, has commissioned two new Australian works - a physical theatre piece: Death Match and a musical: Jack of Two Trades.

MAPA Executive Director, Professor Paul Grabowsky AO, explains, "Our programming reflects our commitment to diversity, excellence and inclusivity. Commissioning new Australian writing and allowing our students to learn from professional artists is an extremely important practice for their learning and development."

Since 2015, Monash University has partnered with The Coopers Malthouse to allow performing arts students to apply their academic learning through collaboration with professional artists who have included Daniel Keene, Angus Cerini, Patricia Cornelius, Susie Dee and Emma Valente.

This year, playwright Morgan Rose and director Katrina Cornwell will develop and present Death Match - a fast-paced, breathless examination of triumph and failure set in a sporting arena.

As the inaugural recipients of the Pratt Foundation Music Theatre Artists in Residence Program, Lucy O'Brien (composer) and Andrew Strano (book writer and lyricist) are writing and developing a new original Australian musical: Jack of Two Trades adapted from The Servant Of Two Masters.

The first outing of Jack of Two Trades at Monash University will allow audiences the chance to see something totally new evolving right before their eyes - it will be a significant milestone in the long development of any new musical theatre work.

The Pratt Foundation has contributed $1 million over three years to support the Pratt Music Theatre Artists in Residence Program, where three original musicals will be commissioned - the 2018 recipients are Peter Rutherford (Matilda Musical Director) and James Millar (Matilda Miss Trunchbull).

"The Monash model of commissioning theatre makers to create work that is then immediately produced is the ideal process of creation. It allows artists to create work and encourages non-traditional ways of creation - we are given the time, support and resources to make new work. Monash is supporting artists, creating high-quality work and pushing boundaries at the same time," said Morgan Rose.

"The development of successful musicals can take approximately five years - there is a lot of trial and error. Through this wonderful program, Monash can provide an initial foundation to allow musical theatre writers to create and try ambitious new works - this is a crucial process that is often lacking in the creation of new works in Australia," said Andrew Strano.

28 Sep - 7 Oct 2017 Death Match

19 - 22 Oct 2017 Jack of Two Trades


Death Match

28 Sep - 7 Oct 2017

If you can't win, what's the point?

An explosive new physical theatre work, Death Match tackles the big issues - life, death and ambition - against the backdrop of a sporting arena in front of an audience of spectators.

Playwright Morgan Rose and director Katrina Cornwell have teamed up to collaborate with third year Monash University performing arts students to create a new Australia theatre work that is a fast-paced, breathless examination of triumph and failure.

Questioning the impulse and desire to win, Death Match will see the ensemble pushed to their limits as they attempt to succeed in four increasingly violent rounds of gruelling physical trial.

Death Match will investigate the human instinct to turn everything into a competition, including job interviews, art, Instagram and vacations.

Cornwell questions the common phrase 'winning at life', "I feel like people take this quote quite seriously. What does it actually mean? How exactly do you win at life and at what lengths do we go to get what we want? Does winning mean living and losing mean dying?"

Playwright Morgan Rose

Director Katrina Cornwell

Assistant director Cody Baldwin

Lighting designer Georgie Wolfe

Sound designer James Walker

Set designer Grace Ulrich

Costume designer Amy Porter

Stage manager Charlotte Armstrong

Performers Stephen Amos, Rebecca Catalano, Elly D'Arcy, Aleeah Gabriel, Earl Marrows and Ursula Searle

Season 28 Sep - 7 Oct 2017

Times 7pm Tue - Sat

Venue The Coopers Malthouse, Tower Theatre

Address 113 Sturt Street, Southbank

Tickets $10 - $22

Bookings 03 9685 5111 or


Jack of Two Trades

An original musical adapted from The Servant Of Two Masters

19 - 22 Oct 2017

Adapted from the surprisingly relevant, classic comedy by Carlo Goldoni, Jack of Two Trades is a brand new, original, fast paced and laugh-out-loud musical theatre comedy.

Incredibly ridiculous, crude and silly, Jack of Two Trades embraces big characters full of soaring melodies, mistaken identities, disguises, trickery, declarations of love and everyone's favourite F-words: fighting, farting, fornicating, foolishness, a whole lot of food ... and even some feelings

Written and developed by Lucy O'Brien (composer) and Andrew Strano (book writer and lyricist), Jack of Two Trades is the inaugural commission of the Pratt Foundation Music Theatre Artists in Residence Program at Monash University.

Set in Melbourne during the 1990s and inspired by some of the greatest most over-blown rock and pop styles, Jack of Two Trades is directed by Nathan Gilkes and features a cast including third year Monash University theatre and performance students, students from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and the Jeanne Pratt Music Theatre Ensemble along with professional performers Jane Clifton, Laura Burzacott, Eddie Muliaumaseali'i, Kayla Hamill and Karlis Zaid.

Expanding on its commedia roots and away from all the farts and fun, Jack of Two Trades adds a whole new dimension into a simple and genuine love story (with horse cum).

Composer Lucy O'Brien

Book writer and lyricist Andrew Strano

Director Nathan Gilkes

Musical director Dominic Woodhead

Lighting and set designer Rob Sowinski

Sound designer Marcello Lo Ricco

Costume designer Lucy Wilkins

Stage manager Jacinta Anderson

Performers Jane Clifton, Laura Burzacott, Eddie Muliaumaseali'I, Kayla Hamill and Karlis Zaid

Season 19 - 22 Oct 2017

Times 7.30pm Thu, 1pm & 7.30pm Fri, 7.30pm Sat and 5pm Sun

Venue Monash University - Clayton Campus, Drama Theatre

Address 55 Scenic Drive, Clayton

Duration 120 minutes (including interval)

Tickets $10 - $20

Bookings and information 03 9905 1111 or

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