Nurturing, developing and touring
Amazing Independent Theatre.

Critical Stages Touring’s goal is to make outstanding live theatre accessible to audiences throughout Australia. Our vision is to enable regional communities to have the same access to high quality theatre as metropolitan audiences, and to foster a sustainable and diverse national independent theatre sector. We support outstanding theatre artists to achieve their touring ambitions and regional presenters to achieve their audience development goals

Since 2005, we have partnered with presenters and artists around Australia to deliver outstanding independent productions engaging audiences from Bundaberg to Bunbury and beyond.

We broker relationships, connecting artists with presenters – whether they be festivals, small or large performing arts venues, or a much-loved community hall. We bring people together to create unforgettable experiences. We support our artists’ ambitions to breathe new life into their work and build sustainable practices, and we help our presenters foster a love and passion for the performing arts in their local audiences.

Through forums, mentorship and residencies, we also work closely with industry to provide opportunities to exchange ideas, start and continue vital conversations, build skills and resilience, and establish networks across the performing arts spectrum.

What we Do

Every year Critical Stages:

  • Presents at 100+ regional, remote and metropolitan locations across Australia.
  • Performs to tens of thousands of audience members.
  • Employs over 60 performers, technicians and creative artists.
  • Engages young, emerging and regionally-based artists in skills development workshops, masterclasses, forums and Q and A’s.
  • Supports venues, presenters and communities around the country to engage new and existing audiences.
  • Mentors NSW-based independent artists through year-round sector development initiatives.


We do this in order to support audiences and artists by:

  • Increasing access for regional audiences to diverse and innovative new performances;
  • Developing opportunities for regional artists to engage in meaningful exchange with touring artists;
  • Engaging new audiences in unique theatrical experiences;
  • Providing professional employment opportunities for outstanding independent  artists;
  • Building a strong and inter-connected, healthy, diverse and vibrant national theatre sector.

Chris Bendall

Director & Chief Executive Officer

Chris has been CEO of Critical Stages since 2014. An award-winning creative producer, director and dramaturg with experience working professionally all across Australia, he has won the WA Equity Awards for Best Director (2009 & 2011) and Best Production (2011) and his production of The Magic Hour was a finalist for The Drover Awards' Tour of the Year (2014). Previous positions include: Artistic Director of Deckchair Theatre (2008-2012); Artistic Director Theatre @ Risk (2001-2007). Awards include the Queen’s Trust Australia & Foundation for Young Australians Centenary Grant (2001) and the George Fairfax Memorial Award for Theatre (2003).

Emma Corrick

Producer - Programming

Passionate about live community events and bringing people together to share cultural experiences. Emma has been working in tour brokering & development since 2011, including through Arts on Tour & Performing Lines. Her experience also includes film distribution, marketing, education, festival and events. Emma holds a Bachelor degree in Music Education and is working towards a Masters in Arts Management.

Melanie Carolan

Senior Producer

Mel joined Critical Stages in 2017. She was previously Associate Producer at Griffin Theatre Company, where projects included Angus Cerini’s "The Bleeding Tree", directed by Lee Lewis (Winner of the 2016 Helpmann Award for Best Play); Alana Valentine’s "Ladies Day"; and Justin Fleming’s "The Literati", a co-production with Bell Shakespeare. Prior to that, Mel was Griffin’s Administration & Program Coordinator where she oversaw the delivery of Griffin Independent and delivered the Griffin Ambassadors education program. Mel has also worked for Merrigong and has produced at the Old Fitz and PACT.


Production Supervisor

Kylie Richards

Finance Manager

Kylie is a finance manager and book-keeper with 5 years experience in the arts sector. She currently works as Finance Manager at Griffin Theatre where she has worked since 2013. Previously she was Book-keeper at Monkey Baa Theatre & Finance Manager to the Next Stage Recruitment Company for 6 years.

Robbi James

Marketing & Audience Engagement Coordinator

I have a passion for the creative. From individual artists to large-scale cultural organisations, I love seeing a creative project come to life. Currently managing the inaugural Pioneer Play Festival and always on the lookout for new collaborations and opportunities.

How We Can Help You







Get in Touch

We can help you program outstanding contemporary theatre for your audiences


Mark Thomas (Chair)

Chris Drummond (Deputy Chair)

Rohan Astley

Alyce Fisher

Dr Jacqueline Martin

Joel McGuiness

Claudia Rowe

Pearl Tan

Artistic Advisory Panel

Julian Louis (NSW)

Katrina Douglas (NSW)

Dino Dimitriadis (NSW)

Guy Boyce  (WA)

Julian Hobba (WA)

Elena Carapetis (SA)

Richard Watts (VIC)

Daniel Clarke (VIC)

Jo Thomas (QLD)

Our Partners

Critical Stages Touring is supported by Create NSW on a triennial grant (currently from 2016-2018), and by the Australia Council through Playing Australia as one of only four companies nationally awarded National Touring Status (2018-2020). It is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, with DGR status and on the Register of Cultural Organisations. The company is based at The Arts Exchange at The Rocks in Sydney and lead by Chris Bendall, CEO, alongside a Board of Directors.