writing and producing independent australian theatre
2011- 2013 Seasons


The Political Hearts of Children
11 April to 21 April 2013



Photo by Zorica Purlija

Everyone has childhood stories.
They tell us 
who we were,
who we are,
and who we can become.
With some of Sydney’s most exciting established and emerging artists we’re going to share these treasured tales – tales of humour and wonder, fear and loss.

Created directly from the personal experiences of the actors, The Political Hearts of Children is a journey back to the lost land of childhood.

Join us as we rediscover its secrets.
What can we retrieve?

What must we leave behind?

What the critics said: 

"Stark white walls. Seven scripts. Seven actors. Who needs 'big' theatre when 'little' theatre can be so blindingly brilliant?"
 Australian Stage Online

“this show, with such a deceptively simple premise, is a vastly important piece of theatre. …. This is a rare find for theatre-hunters, the opening night audience laughing, crying and so privileged to find insight into not one but seven beautiful minds. I’m going back again.” 5th

“All seven stories are touching in their own way. To see each of them performed by an actor who lived the moment, let it go, and turns it into something else on the stage is thrilling. The Political Hearts of Children is a wonderfully engaging piece of original theatre.” lisathatcher.wordpress

"The Political Hearts of Children is a curious set of tales. Thought provoking certainly, and young enough at heart to make it an intriguing (noisy!) little gem." Aussie Theatre

"a beguiling series of childhood memories. Some are familiar and some feel like they're from another world, yet all of them are bewitching.....The Political Hearts of Children is a beautiful journey that I thoroughly enjoyed embraking on. This is a wonderful production." Weekend Notes

“a delightful and charming foray into memories….. the performances were all enjoyable, exuberant and sometimes enthralling…..Well done subtlenuance!” Sydney Arts Guide


The Political Hearts of Children

Performed by James Balian, Mark Dessaix, Rosanna Easton, Carla Nirella, Kelly Robinson, Kathryn Schuback and Stephen Wilkinson.

Written by Alison Rooke, Katie Pollock, Kimberley Lipschus, Victoria Haralabidou, Benito Di Fonzo, Didem Caia and Jame Balian.

Directed by Paul Gilchrist
Produced by Daniela Giorgi
Stage Manager Angharad Lindley
Sound Design Ashley Walker

Rocket Man 
by Paul Gilchrist

4 - 14 July 2013

Photo by Zorica Purlija

What the critics said:

"Unsettling, wry, dark, rich in humour and tension. Everything a play should be. And yet, something more. And reaching to break the constraints of its form....This is original work, it's new, it's distinctively Australian, it should be setting off alarm bells in our literary departments."

"Gilchrist crafts the build up of tension and disquiet very well over the play's 65 minutes....four well shaped performances draw us in."   
Sydney Morning Herald

"The way playwright and director Paul Gilchrist manages the tension and spark between the four characters is masterful and fun to watch....Its characters are whole, affectionately shaded and genuine in a way that outshines the irony. Performances are sensational."  
Concrete Playground

"Given the breadth and depth of Rocket Man, it is incredible that it's only a little over an hour long. Paul Gilchrist successfully and oh so skillfully waves his audience around so many seemingly conflicting subjects with the aclarity and verve of a ballroom dancer....It's an enormously clever play.....It's a fantastic night of theatre."

"A powerful universal tale.....a good night's entertainment from an energetic and creative company"
Stage Whispers

"this is an engaging show, which I enjoyed a lot...Daniel Hunter balances the charisma and the darkness of his character wonderfully....pointed and entertaining."

"utterly convincing, sometimes extremely funny, at at others very moving."   
South Sydney Herald

"The performances are all very strong....well worth the trip."

"Rocket Man is an insightful exploration....a production of subtlety and nuance, this is a well acted, thinking person's play that guarantees a long and intense post performance chat."


'You tell every girl you're an astronaut?'

'No. Only the ones who say they're actors.'

Veronica has an audition. 
This morning. 
But first she has to get rid of the man she brought home the night before.
But Neil wants to stay. And wants her to stop.
He loathes her profession, 
with a passion shockingly precise and white hot.

Blast off is always the most dangerous moment.

Fiercely funny, Rocket Man is an evocative exploration of theatre and stories and their power to rocket us to new worlds.




Production photos by Zorica Purlija  (


Rocket Man
Written and directed by Paul Gilchrist
Performed by Daniel Hunter, Sylvia Keays, Alyssan Russell and Stephen Wilkinson.
Produced by Daniela Giorgi
Design by Rachel Scane

Cristina in the Cupboard
by Paul Gilchrist

6 - 17 November 2013

The reviews are in!

"Gilchrist has assembled a strong cast, led by Keays, who delivers a clear and strongly felt performance and she’s very capably supported by Alice Keohavong as Cristina’s little sister. 
Kelly Robinson, Sonya Kerr and Sinead Curry offer vivacious cameos as Christina’s narcissistic, social media-obsessed friends. Stephen Wilkinson is a sympathetic Gabriel, flummoxed by Cristina’s withdrawal. Peter McAllum and Helen Tonkin pair well as Cristina’s parents.
Gilchrist’s text is a rich and frequently humorous one...."
Jason Blake from The Sydney Morning Herald

'the script is poignant and beautiful....the performances are strong and effective.....Cristina in the Cupboard is a timeless work that speaks with intellectual and emotional clarity, and should be staged every place there is a thinking audience' 

'a surprise joy.....a must for serious theatre-goers with a sterling cast, some of which may be household names in the not too distant future. As an audience member I entered a little theatrical cupboard in a gallery basement, and left with a feeling of being part of the grand magic of theatre"
Sydney Arts Guide

'a stunning performance by Sylvia Keays.....once again subtlenuance has intrigued and entertained.....insightful and evocative writing; economically but imaginatively presented with a well chosen and very convincing is often side-splittingly funny'

South Sydney Herald

'Gilchrist has done a deft job....Sylvia Keays demonstrates enormous resolution in her characterisation. Her skills draw the audience in and they are compelled to listen to her story. …Stephen Wilkinson has a unique presence on stage …(he) is a treat to watch ….Alice Keohavong matched Keays’ skill and warmth. With a voice to fill the room, Keohavong showed great versatility. It was great fun and quite impressive to watch her perform … the supporting cast pulled together to perform as the chorus of concerned friends – there were certainly no weak links in this production. …Gilchrist surely has a knack for writing. As an experiment in comic magic realism it certainly serves its purpose.'
Dinner and a Show

“I found Cristina in the Cupboard both deeply fascinating and profoundly troubling. For the eighty five minutes of the show, I found myself mesmerised...”
Theatre from the Backseat

'There's plenty to like about the enjoyable Cristina in the Cupboard especially a dedicated performance by Sylvia Keays in the lead role'

'Sylvia Keays provides us a strong performance as Christina. She has an ethereal quality that evokes just enough magic, without appearing too whimsical..... Erica and Belinda are played ...brilliantly by Sonya Kerr and Sinead Curryin an amusing display of one upmanship...... Alice Keohavong, Helen Tonkin, Peter McAllum, Stephen Wilkinson and Kelly Robinson, all give first-rate performances.....don't miss this'
the buzzfromsydney


Everyone needs time out. 
Everyone needs to get away. 
Not everyone does it like this.

 Cristina in the Cupboard is a spellbinding experiment in comic magical realism. 

The story of an unusual retreat, and a remarkable victory, it’s the latest work by critically acclaimed writer director Paul Gilchrist. 

Playful and provocative, Cristina in the Cupboard tells of one woman’s quest to live life entirely on her own terms.

Join Cristina on a breathtaking inner journey, as she navigates illusion, weathers dismay, and discovers wonder.


“Of all the things to fear, the worst to fear is joy” 


Written and directed by Paul Gilchrist
With Sinead Curry, Sylvia Keays, Alice Keohavong, Sonya Kerr, Peter McAllum, Kelly Robinson, Helen Tonkin and Stephen Wilkinson
Sound Designer Ashley Walker
Stage Manager Tom Massey


Blind Tasting

written and directed by Paul Gilchrist
performed by Sylvia Keays

She talks wine. She sells wine. But, now, Sophie has every reason to drink it. Join her hilarious razor-sharp discovery of the unexpected truth hidden in each glass. 

See Blind Tasting page for reviews.

Lucy Black
written and directed by Paul Gilchrist
24 May - 3 June 2012

Bloody, bawdy, beautiful – a renaissance tale. 


What the critics said:


 “The language is beautiful and flows easily from the actors…. See this play to experience the beauty of Elizabethan language that was not written by Shakespeare or Marlowe.”  Stage Whispers
"The themes are presented thoughtfully and intelligently. The dialogue is rich. The characters are complex, thoughtful and well rounded. There are some nice touches of humour…..Lucy Black is played wonderfully by the doleful Corinne Marie.”  Sydney Arts Guide


”it's great to see such a foreign world on stage. Domestic Aussie drama this ain't.” Concrete Playground 

“a fine play, replete with passionate performances, restraint, wit and darkness. …..Gripping, intelligent theatre.”  5th Wall  

With Richard Hilliar, Sonya Kerr, Corinne Marie, Joshua Morton and Zara Zoe
Written and directed by Paul Gilchrist
Produced by Daniela Giorgi
Stage Manager Angharad Lindley
Designer Chloe Lawrence-Hartcher
Musical Director Heidi Lupprian


 Photo by Zorica Purlija


Toy Box

 written and directed by Paul Gilchrist 
April 7 – 17 2011.

Comedy plus tragedy equals family.

"You hate family. What a thing to say! I hate our family."
Liv, at twenty-four, has her whole life ahead of her. The last thing she wants is to start a family.
She’s too busy escaping the one she’s in.
Judith and Peter have three adult children. They've grown old waiting for them to grow up.
But when do you grow up?
When you become a parent?
Or when you lose one?

Toy Box
Written and directed by Paul Gilchrist
With Jennie Dibley, Sylvia Keays, Dave Kirkham, Sarah Loxley and Chris Turner
Produced by Daniela Giorgi
Assistant Director Erica J Brennan
Stage Manager Annabelle Marieza
Design Brad Loxley


Some reviews:
"fierce and darkly funny. The joy of Paul Gilchrist's new play is that the examination is both witty and truthful, and the performances match the quality of the writing. Worthy and engaging independent theatre!"  Stage Whispers

"drenched in an exceptional ability to observe human behaviour and thought....This play could be staged anywhere in the world and it will resonate with the audience." TicketStubbies
FOUR stars out of FIVE!” Toy Box is a great opening salvo for the subtlenuance theatre 2011 season. …. Sarah Loxley is a continually engaging performer… Sylvia Keays was excellent. Her radiance on stage was refreshing and captivating.” The Primate Perspective
"A sound ensemble performance draws this unnamed family well......Toy Box is a well drawn take on the most universal of themes....[it] forges a strong emotional connection" Time Out
“a penetrating interrogation…. jump in, close the lid and lose yourself in this moving tale.”  (small)LUSTS
"informed by incisive observation, wry comment, wit and even wisdom...[a] world class script...poignant and credible performances" Crikey

“utterly relatable…….a darkly funny and engaging meditation on a subject that, sooner or later, many of us will have to confront. Sylvia Keays shines ” Alternative Media

 a festival of solo performances
21 – 25 June 2011

 An actor alone on a bare stage.
subtlenuance joined with some of Sydney’s most exciting emerging and established artists to launch six solo flights of the imagination. Whether hilarious or poetic, quirky or shocking, each was theatre stripped back to its essentials – extraordinary acting and writing. Each was simple in execution, precise in performance, and utterly engaging.


Sharks Can Smell Fear
by Alison Rooke 
directed by Zoe Carides 
performed by Bridgette Sneddon  

The Line We Draw
written and performed by Skye Loneragan

Unsex Me
devised by Nick Atkins and Michal Imielski
performed by Nick Atkins

From a Great Height
by Mark Konik
directed by Kai Raisbeck
performed by Luke Carson

It’s Ok to Ask
by Carol Dance 
directed by Beverley Callow 
performed by Renee Lim 

So It’s That Kind Of Quest 
by David Finnigan 
directed by Erica J Brennan 
performed by Corinne Marie

Artistic Director Paul Gilchrist
Producer Daniela Giorgi
Stage Manager Elly Goodman

What the critics said:

"Billed as 'six bold expeditions into the human heart, they more than suffice as such. Sharks Can Smell Fear [is] a powerful the pairing of Sneddon and Carides, Rooke has found the most wonderful expression of her work.

The Line We Draw was written by Skye Loneragan and is performed by same. In a kind of acute free verse rendering that might’ve come from Shakespeare were he alive today and on uppers, Loneregan poses provocative questions, with the most vigorous, surefooted delivery imaginable……It’s powerful stuff, delivered with incisive wit and utterly compelling confidence. It’s OK To Ask …Renee Lim excels and is spellbinding as a courageous paraplegic……Dance, Callow and Lim dance their way through this insightful, connective, deceptively short and sweet, but significant work. So It’s That Kind Of Quest is fun and featherweight…It’s good-natured, entertaining and a ruthless parody…. Marie pulls it off with aplomb. Gilchrist and Giorgi rarely disappoint and, here, they’ve excelled themselves; in their own right, but also in showing, on the whole, profound programmatic judgement. I sure hope Bare Boards becomes a regular thing."  Crikey

“4 stars out of 5.  It’s cold, it is bare and Artistic Director Paul Gilchrist was brave in staging this work ….. but it certainly paid off….. [Unsex Me] is a fantastic lyrical contemporary dance piece that evoked great emotion and commanded attention. ..Director Michael Imielski showed great creative vision….......Mark Konik’s script [From A Great Height] is light, funny and very true to life…Carson holds the audience in the palm of his hand and delivers a winning performance…......It’s OK to Ask is the stand out of the entire work… a stunningly emotive performance from Renee Lim.”  The Primate Perspective 

“a slew of talented writers, directors and performers in a festival of solo performances…….The Line We Draw written and performed by Skye Loneragan was one that ticked all the boxes. Clever story and a great use of space…Nick Atkins’ acting is brilliant……a fabulous night of theatre.” Ticket Stubbies


A Quiet Night in Rangoon

Written by Katie Pollock
Produced in association with The Spare Room at the New Theatre
18th August - 10 September 2011


"I opened my heart and they poured in their pain and their grief.  And I just knew this was going to make a great story."

RANGOON, Burma, 2007. Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is under arrest and the democratic movement has suffered years of brutal oppression. But the Saffron Revolution is about to shake the military dictatorship to its very core.Piper, an Australian journalist in Burma on a personal quest, senses the scoop of a lifetime. But when confronted by conflicting beliefs and threatened with death, she must ultimately choose between the victims and the spoils of this covert war.

Written by Katie Pollock
Directed by Paul Gilchrist
Produced by Daniela Giorgi
Assistant Director Georgia Symons
Set Design Chloe Lawrence-Hartcher
Lighting Design Liam O'Keefe

With Shauntelle Benjamin, John Buencamino, Felino Dolloso, Aileen Huynh, Sonya Kerr, Kathryn Schuback, and Barton Williams

Some reviews:

A Quiet Night in Rangoon by Katie Pollock is a new Australian play of some note and heralds for me a playwright I want to see more from. The talent scouts of the Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir St. and the Griffin ought to see this play and jump with enthusiasm at this interesting emerging talent….. Written with a heightened sense of reality and fascinating poetical gestures and daring characterisations the form of the piece is totally transgressive and thrilling….. Her control of her material and the explorations in the dramatic form of her storytelling modes is immensely impressive. Surprising, amusing and stimulating.”
Kevin Jackson’s Theatre Diary 

 “sections sing with an almost musical suppleness. Paul Gilchrist's production makes fluid the story's dislocations of time and place…. It is worthy, sometimes compelling theatre, highlighting an even worthier cause.” Sydney Morning Herald

 “While Pollock's play is grounded in history and the everyday it is quickly lifted out of docu-drama by bold theatricality…[she] has observed and crafted her characters with considerable humour and insight…The telling of the stories is rich and fascinating… Recommended.” Stage Noise 

 "This is an intimate story that weaves beautifully between the reality of personal freedom, spiritual cost and individual responsibility."
Sun Herald

 “With a minimalist approach to the set and direction, director Paul Gilchrist has put his fine cast front and centre….letting the comic moments pierce through with a gentle truth….. it not only draws you in but educates, provokes thought and discussion. Important, political theatre that’s not clear-cut or moralising – a rare thing.” 5th Wall‎ 

 “subtlenuance would seem to be going from strength to strength. …. Pollock raises confronting spectres with implicit skill…standout performances from Benjamin, Buencamino, Dolloso and Williams. Strong stuff.”Crikey 

 “As personal as it is political, an intensely gripping new Australian play...Pollock spins her parallel plots with deft confidence….underscoring each scene with a touching, human sensibility, and occasional humour. Director Paul Gilchrist’s production is sparse, but effective, trusting his wonderful ensemble of actors to drive the narrative. As the independent, debut season of a brand new work, A Quiet Night in Rangoon shows extraordinary promise…..don’t be surprised if it gets a main-stage season sometime soon. In the meantime, it’s a rare chance to see a new Australian work in such great shape its first time out.”Same Same 

 ‎"The strengths of this production lie in its well-drawn and developed characters. Each of these characters has a rock-solid inner truth... and is brought to the stage by actors who have carefully done their homework and weighed up the nuances required”
Australian Stage Online 



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