A message from Mitchell Butel - STCSA

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Please stay in your seats while we resolve this technical difficulty"

A message from Mitchell Butel - STCSA


So said our Stage Manager one night during our season of Dance Nation, our first show of 2020 and the first of my tenure as Artistic Director, when some of the stage lighting momentarily fritzed during the show – no doubt because of the heat coming off the incredible women (and Tim Overton, the only boy in the dance troupe!) electrifying the stage with their widely-acclaimed performances.

The world is experiencing a serious and more alarming difficulty at the moment and it’s important that you DON’T stay in your seats. You need to stay at home when you can until it’s safe to gather again. Together we will flatten this curve. Together we must.

It’s hard to perform theatre when there’s no one in the seats though. Theatre is a two-way street. An actor speaks, an audience responds. An actor who speaks to himself – well, he’s a little bit crazy.

The theatre only works when audiences and artists gather together.

We were so keen to gather and share the brilliant and heart-warming The Gospel According to Paul and Single Asian Female with you. After the shock and burn of Dance Nation, I know these shows would have been the most entertaining, laugh-filled and feel-good theatrical calamine lotions with which you’d ever been soothed. These shows are gone for now but they may appear down the track… Watch this space.

We can’t perform without you. But while it’s not safe to perform for you, we can do a whole lot of other things. We can dream of stories we want to share with you, we can look at the strange times we find ourselves in and ask how we can explore them more honestly and deeply with you. We can also take this time to take stock of the many adventures we’ve shared with you over your years as our valued audience.

The next few months will be performance free for State Theatre Company South Australia while the Adelaide Festival Centre is closed, but we’re using this time to embark upon one of the busiest development periods of new work that the company has ever seen.

We have four South Australian writers under commission who will be undergoing creative development for their new plays. We have expanded our Resident Artistic Team to include Resident Director Anthony Nicola, Resident Writer/Director Alexis West and Artistic Counsel Sasha Zahra who will be supporting work on these commissions, devising other productions, mentoring diverse artists and performing arts students, creating pathways for the next generation of great South Australian theatre makers and assisting in the programming of what is already shaping up to be a dynamite 2021.

And all this work will be happening at an appropriate social distance. Our office staff and production crew, tech-savvy bunnies they are, have digitally transformed the company so those of us who are not in the office can work and stay remotely connected and germ free. I just wish I’d bought shares in Zoom sooner. (Please note that we’re still contactable through our main phone number 08 8415 5333 between 9.00am and 5.00pm on weekdays for any of your ticketing or other inquiries, or you can contact us online through our website). 

Adelaide is a city that has always been a great host to exceptional international artists, but a border closure won’t stop excellent work being created locally because the talent here is so rich and diverse. Voltaire encouraged Candide and friends to make their garden grow in times of crisis. This is our seed-planting time.

We’d rather be performing for you alongside all this development. I won’t lie. And losing box office income for the next few months will take an enormous toll on the company. Although we can, and soon will, offer you a little bit of home delivery with some exciting and free online offerings (and glimpses into previous work that Company has done and will be doing), we alas can’t make any money from takeaway.

To those who have chosen to donate the amount of money they would have spent on tickets in the coming months to ensuring that we can keep the Company going, we are so incredibly grateful. Your support means the world and will help pull us back from the edge. You’re helping too to pay our artists who have been hit by these cancellations and to whom we remain deeply committed. For anyone else who would like to support the Company and our artists in this difficult time, please click on the Donate button below.

We know too that you will be navigating your own challenges and struggles in the coming months and your lives will need their own rebalancing. We won’t knock on your door too many times – it’ll be hard to do that in any case while we’re down in the caves performing alchemy on new creations. We hope that you’ll be there for us when it’s time to come into the light with new stories to share with you. And we want you to know that we can’t wait to share them.

Said the Stage Manager, “Thank you for your patience, ladies and gentlemen, the show will recommence in a few moments….”

The kindest (and safest) regards,


Mitchell Butel
Artistic Director