The Pioneer Play Festival

Friday, 23 November 2018 | 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Australian Voices

A celebration of pioneering Australian theatre and performance takes centre stage in the heart of The Hills with the inaugural Pioneer Play Festival .

The Pioneer Play Festival will bring together Sydney’s theatre community, schools and residents for two days of new and pioneering Australian plays, workshops, discussion and activities celebrating the inaugural theme ‘Australian Voices’.

Curated by Artistic Director Goldele Rayment the festival will present a dedicated school’s program alongside a festival program that features the Sydney premiere of Felix Nobis’ - Boy Out of the Country - a searingly funny story of contemporary Australian family, urban development and the progress of life; and a special 50th Anniversary performance of Alex Buzo’s controversial exploration of race, culture and identity - Norm and Ahmed.

The festival will also include the launch of a new national playwriting competition, the Pioneer Play Awards . The awards aim to encourage the development of new Australian theatre by rewarding an outstanding novice, emerging or established artist, in two categories – Youth (aged 0 to 17 years) and Adult (aged 18+).

The awards will be presented by Mayor of The Hills, Dr Michelle Byrne, at a gala event that will include staged readings of the winning entries and a glamorous Mayoral reception on Friday, November 23rd. Submissions for the awards are now open! Full details are on the festival website.

Schools can book tickets and ticket packages to the Friday program by contacting the festival team at or by downloading the Schools Booking Form from the festival website.

Festival Dates :

Friday 23rd November, 10am to 10pm

Saturday 24th November. 10am to 10pm

Festival events are ticketed separately OR purchase a Pioneer Pass to access all of the events in the program and get a discount as well! Pioneer Passes start at just $52.75.

Festival Events: Friday 23rd November

Norm and Ahmed (Performance) - 11am

A special 50 th Anniversary performance of Alex Buzo’s controversial 1968 play about tolerance, culture and generational difference.

“a revelatory production...a fine revival of a great classic” John McCallum, The Australian

Tickets: $25 to $35

Ticket link:

Writing for Stage with Donna Abela (Workshop) - 11am

Join critically-acclaimed playwright, director and theatre-maker Donna Abela for a 90 minute workshop designed to help you become a better writer for live theatre.

Tickets: $20 - $25

Ticket link:

Also part of our School’s program. Please contact the festival for ticket packages.

Physical Theatre & Group Devising (Workshop) - 11am

Company of Rogues presents their #1 workshop for high school students. Join professional creatives and theatre makers for this 90 minute session designed to help you become a better theatre creator.

Part of our School’s program. Please contact the festival for ticket details.

Women’s Voices in Theatre (Performance and Seminar) - 1:15pm

The seminar will compare and contrast two Australian female playwrights from different contexts and consider the ways women create, develop and assert their voice in a distinctive theatrical expression with excerpts performed from Donna Abela's Jump for Jordan and Joanna Murray-Smith’s Female of the Species. Directed by Erica Lovell.

Norm and Ahmed Unpacked (Workshop) - 1:15pm

Join actors Craig Meneaud ad Laurence Coy for a 90 minute performance workshop and Q&A session designed for drama and English students.

Part of our School’s program. Please contact the festival for booking details.


Lecoq Performance (Workshop) - 1:15pm

A 90 minute performance workshop on Lecoq Theatre of Movement and Gesture. The workshop will be led by a leading professional creative who is a graduate of the Lecoq school.

Part of our School’s program. Please contact the festival for booking details.


Pioneer Play Awards (Awards and Performances) - 7pm

A gala presentation and performance evening celebrating the recipients of the inaugural Pioneer Playwright Awards. Awards will be presented to winners by the Mayor of The Hills Dr Michelle Byrne, and the evening will conclude with a glamorous Mayoral reception.

Festival Events : Saturday 24th November

Kid’s Creative Play (Children, Workshop, Activations) - 11am to 3pm

An interactive drop-in experience for kids aged 4 to 12 including performance activities, installations and a super-fun 'open stage' opportunity - all staffed by professional creatives!

Tickets: $5 (parents free)

Ticket Link:

Meet the Writer - Felix Nobis (Workshop, Q&A) - 1pm

Join actor and playwright, Felix Nobis, for an interactive discussion and writing workshop. Felix is the writer of the Pioneer Play Festival main production, Boy Out of the Country.

Tickets: $20- $25

Ticket Link:

Australian Voices Panel (Discussion, Q&A) - 2:30pm

Join us for a panel discussion and Q & A where we will investigate the festival theme, Australian Voices .

Full panel line-up to be announced in October!

Tickets: $15 - $25

Ticket Link:

Boy Out of the Country (Performance) - 2 shows, 11am and 7pm

There's more to land than real estate. There's more to family than DNA. Written in Australian verse Felix Nobis’ searingly funny and darkly observant look at contemporary Australian families, urban development and the progress of life is the inaugural Pioneer Play Festival production.

Tickets: $25 - $35

Ticket Link:


  • Friday, 23 November 2018 | 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
  • Saturday, 24 November 2018 | 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM


The Pioneer Theatre, Cnr Pennant & Castle St, Castle Hill 2154  View Map

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