Three actors sitting in a Darlinghurst coffee shop on a wet and windy April morning in 1997 seems an unlikely place for the birth of a theatre company, but that’s exactly where the seeds of Monkey Baa were first sown. During its first tour of The Bugalugs Bum Thief (adapted from the book by Tim Winton) in 1998 in a long wheelbase van, the cast lugged a heavy set into classrooms, libraries and community halls across Australia, performing to over 15,000 young people. And with that Monkey Baa Theatre Company was born.
Since then, we have been creating inspiring, award-winning theatre for young audiences. Our Creative Directors Eva Di Cesare, Sandra Eldridge and Tim McGarry have adapted over 15 classic Australian stories for the stage, with the common thread through all our work that young people’s interests are valued and respected.
We believe Australian stages should be filled with stories that represent all the extraordinary cultures living in this land, and that it’s important to create work that offers young people a truly multifaceted reflection of the world we all inhabit.
Unlike other theatre companies offering work for young audiences, we take a “whole of childhood” approach, creating plays and arts education programs for ages 3-18 and providing professional development opportunities for teachers. We strive to ensure that young people, wherever they are located and whatever their economic circumstances, have the opportunity to share in fantastic theatre experiences that reflect their own lives.
We are Australia’s widest-reaching touring company, having conducted over 25 national tours to 135 regional and remote communities across every state and territory of Australia, 3 international tours and over 2,500 performances, and engaged with 1.2 million young people.
As resident company at the custom-designed, fully accessible Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre, we curate an annual season of theatre for young people in school holidays and term time, presenting Monkey Baa plays and work from other Australian and international companies.
Helpmann Award – Thursday’s Child 2010
Helpmann Award – Hitler’s Daughter 2007
Drover Award – APACA Touring Legend 2015
Drover Award – Touring Excellence 2007
Drover Award – Audience Development 2006
Glug Award – The Unknown Soldier 2015
Glug Award – Pete the Sheep 2014
Glug Award – Hitler’s Daughter 2011
Glug Award – FOX 2010
To share uniquely Australian stories, with young people at the heart of everything we create.
To be a company that exhilarates young minds and reveals a world of infinite possibilities; a place where theatre becomes an intrinsic part of a young person’s life.
Penny Cook (Chair)
Wendy Miller (Treasurer)
Eva Di Cesare (Creative Director & Producer)
Sandra Eldridge (Creative Director)
Tim McGarry (Creative Director & Producer)
Penny Watts (General Manager)
Daria O’Neill (Development Manager)
Saskia Ilott (Education Manager)
Cally Bartley (Operations & Production Manager)
Liz Raleigh (Marketing Manager)
Laura Watson (Company & Venue Administrator)
Kylie Richards (Bookkeeper)
Vicki Middleton (International Producer)