Mother heads to Brisbane

BELVOIR_Mother_C1_PhotoBrettBoardman_006903_previewMother by Daniel Keene starring Noni Hazlehurst will play a two week season this August at the Cremorne Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

Details here.

Read the Media Release.

Grace Beside Me


Magpie Pictures’ GRACE BESIDE ME is now showing on NITV every Friday at 7:30pm or if you’re super keen you can watch the entire series on SBS On Demand.

Click below for more details or to watch online:



The Campaign

A theatre project that has been in the making for around two and a half years is now officially launched for a season in Hobart in late 2018.

Working with playwright Campion Decent on the development of The Campaign has been both a professional and personal highlight. Here are the details:


“I was arrested for being gay before I’d even danced with another man.” – Rodney Croome

In 1988 more than one hundred arrests were made at Salamanca Market when the Tasmanian Gay Law Reform Group defied a ban on a stall that featured petitions to decriminalise sexual activity between consenting adult males in private. The arrests lit the spark for a campaign to change a law in Tasmania that was the most draconian in the Western world in terms of its penalty and, by the time of its repeal, the last of its kind in Australia.

From candid interviews with the people who were there, Campion Decent has fashioned a gripping account of Tasmania’s decades-long gay law reform campaign; the venomous parliamentary debates and public meetings, the individual acts of bravery and humour amidst the hurt, and the dogged march to a landmark United Nations ruling that had far-reaching repercussions in the Federal and Tasmanian Parliaments and the High Court of Australia.

Honest, raw and urgent, The Campaign chronicles Tasmania’s journey from exclusion to inclusion, from opposition to acceptance, and from hatred to embrace.

For the first time The Tasmanian Theatre Company and Blue Cow Theatre combine to tell this important Tasmanian story partnering with If Theatre & Salamanca Arts Centre.

Produced by  The Tasmanian Theatre Company and Blue Cow Theatre, in association with If Theatre and Salamanca Arts Centre

Director  Matt Scholten
Set & Costume Designer  Matt Scholten
Lighting Designer  Nicholas Higgins
Composer/Audio Designer Heath Brown
Stage Manager Adam (Gus) Powers

Cast  includes Robert Jarman

Dates October 23 – November 3

Venue Peacock Theatre, Salamanca Arts Centre

Director’s Note for Mother

Noni Hazlehurst as Christie in Daniel Keene’s MOTHER Belvoir Street Theatre January 2018

Below are my notes for the published programme for the Belvoir Street Theatre season of Mother.

In 2012, after many years of friendship, Noni and I worked together for the first time on Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of The Heretic. This experience solidified our personal connection and established our professional rapport and desire to continue working together. With that in mind, I asked Noni what she wanted to do next. To me, she is one of those rare artists in this country who can seamlessly and successfully traverse the realms of stage and screens both big and small. If she could do anything else, what would that thing be? To that question she had a fast answer – she had never done a one woman play before and wanted me to direct her in one.

Immediately I thought of approaching Daniel Keene to write something for Noni and thankfully Daniel was interested. I set up a coffee date for the three of us to meet. We sat outside on a cold Melbourne winter’s day and very quickly I saw a rapport developing between actor and playwright. We talked about things that we were interested in and our preoccupations at the time. Noni had recently been hosting the American actress Ellen Burstyn on a teaching and speaking tour and Burstyn had told her the story of her practice of Sufism, and that one of its core demands was the need to give up things. Burstyn had sworn off alcohol, cigarettes and sugar, but found the hardest thing to give up was judgement. We also spoke about fear and about our mutual love for Dorothy Hewett, whom Noni has actually worked with on the inaugural production of The Man From Mukinupin, creating the dual roles of Polly and Lily. On that day, no idea or theme emerged, just a meeting of three hearts and minds.

From that meeting we agreed to work together and planned to find a grant for Daniel to write something. Ten days later, Daniel knocked on my front door and handed me the script for Mother. Daniel writes so well for particular actors – his work with the Keene Taylor Project was based on the ensemble of actors who were part of that company. In Mother, he has created a character that reflects Noni’s unique blend of toughness and vulnerability, humour and heart, and in doing wrote her the theatrical role of a lifetime. Mother has been a unique and ongoing gift to Noni and I.

From Hobart to Cairns, our production has toured the eastern seaboard of Australia and I was fortunate enough to see the play many, many times. My heartfelt thanks to Daniel Keene for a truly remarkable script and for the many years of work together, Kat Chan for her costume, set and props design so carefully curated and beautifully wrought, Tom Willis for the wonderful light and darkness, Darius Kedros for carefully capturing the sounds of Christie’s world, and to Ainsley Kerr who steered the fleet and was a champion Stage and Tour Manager. What a generous team of collaborators. To Noni, my love and respect always. Thank you for your commitment, incredible artistry and for being at the centre of a work that I am very proud of and a performance I will never forget. Finally, to Shayne Greenman who has been the greatest supporter of my work and life for the past fifteen years, much love and thanks for giving me my home.

Image by Brett Boardman



Mother at Belvoir Street

Noni Hazlehurst as Christie in Daniel Keene’s MOTHER Belvoir Street Theatre January 2018

Mother by Daniel Keene starring Noni Hazlehurst  has recently completed its season in Sydney at the Belvoir Street Theatre.

“Noni Hazlehurst delivers the performance of a lifetime. As much as any words it is the verbs and adjectives of her body: the coiling fingers and restless toes, the aimless arcs described by hands, the twitches and spasms, the shrugs and shuffling. As well as being finely observed, these are all so organic in their implementation that, as much as her delivery of 75 minutes of a withering text, they define what may well be the performance of Noni Hazlehurst’s life.” John Shand in The Sydney Morning Herald

“Noni Hazlehurst shines in one-woman play about homelessness. Hazlehurst had the role by the throat, presenting Christie as alternately feisty and conquered, angry and loving, and someone who can tell her story with honesty, wit and self deprecation.” Elizabeth Fortescue, Arts Editor, The Daily Telegraph

“Scholten directs with great sensitivity, never letting the play slide into sentimentality. With an unforgettable performance by Hazlehurst, it’s harrowing, heartbreaking theatre.” Jo Litson The Sunday Telegraph

“Essential theatre. Keene wrote Mother for as a vehicle for Hazlehurst and under Matt Scholten’s direction it takes just seconds for her to disappear into her role. She measures every sentence, every word perfectly and delivers an hour-or-so of pitiless storytelling flawlessly.” Jason Blake Audrey Journal

“Hazlehurst’s performance is brilliant: you won’t see better. ” Diana Simmonds Stage Noise

MOTHER by Daniel Keene
Featuring  Noni Hazlehurst
Directed by Matt Scholten
Lighting Design by Tom Willis
Sound Design by Darius Kedros
Set, props and costumes by Kat Chan
Stage Manager Bella Kerdijk
ASM Raine Paul
Season: January 24-February 11, 2018

Watch the trailer

Read my Director’s Note



Images by Brett Boardman

Here We All Are. Assembled

A twisted tale of two hapless characters who dare to question. Suspended in a rotting dystopian landscape, forgotten by the world, these two are comforted by blissful ignorance, turning a blind eye to the impending Armageddon. Rising from the detritus comes the voracious, clever and manipulative ‘worm’ set to divide the slavish trust of our heroic duo. This witty, insightful and poignant play will seduce you into a collapsing world where you will bear witness to the final showdown between truth and delusion…to be or not to be?

Here We All Are. Assembled by Kathryn Ash
Sep 29 – Oct 10 2017 Cairns Centre of Contemporary Arts & October 13 2017 Bille Brown Studio, Queensland Theatre in the Undercover Artist’s Festival

Director: Matt Scholten
Designer: Simona Cosentini
Designer: Simone Tesorieri
Lighting Designer: Jason Glenwright
AV Designer: Craig Wilkinson
Sound Designer: Guy Webster
Stage Manager: Sophie McKeown
Production Manager: Sam Gibbs

Doug Robins – Jabber
Natalie Taylor – Poker
Barbara Lowing – “The Worm”

“Matt Scholten brings with him a keen sensitivity to the Shakespearean language of the play. Much of Kathryn Ash’s dialogue has a marked Shakespearean flavour. Now and then, a line we recognise as a quotation pops out, but the quotation we are expecting to hear turns on its head with a twisted logic…Scholten has succeeded in having his actors make it sound just right – neither over-the-top Pommy, nor false ‘elocutiony’. There is also his close attention to detail throughout in matching the changing moods of the play to the ongoing decay all around, through lighting, sound, and his use of the acting space on the set. The symbols of decay – the fish, the grinding of gears as assembled parts disassemble – these are nicely pointed…While it takes a spectator who is well acquainted with Hamlet and the devices of the modern theatre to take in the total impact of the play, Scholten kept the laughs coming at just the right intervals to amuse even the least experienced theatregoer. The succession of fart definitions in the second part of the play was hilarious. Yes, the audience on opening night enjoyed the play immensely to judge by the thunderous applause at the end. It is a rare treat to be able to attend a play so full of wit and repartee. Take the chance to see it while you can.” Glyn Davies, Arts Hub




Mother returns

mother201623The Helpmann Award nominated production of Mother by Daniel Keene starring Noni Hazlehurst and directed by Matt Scholten will return to the stage in 2017 & 2018.

Firstly, as a fundraiser for the Twyford Theatre Project:


and then at Belvoir Street Theatre as part of the 2018 season:





Grace Beside Me

Tjiirdm-McGuire-Kyliric-Masella-Mairehau-Grace-star-in-Grace-Beside-Me.jpegI have just competed work as the Drama Coach on Magpie Pictures’ GRACE BESIDE ME, an Australian children’s television series to screen on the NITV network in January 2018 and soon after on both the ABC TV & The Disney Channel.

The 13-part series, filmed in the Scenic Rim district of SE Queenland is adapted from the award-winning novel “Grace Beside Me” by Sue McPherson. It tells the story of Indigenous teenager Fuzzy Mac, who just wants to be an ordinary young woman and have fun with her mates, but that’s not so easy when her ancestors have other plans and she keeps seeing spirits.

Pictured above are the series’ juveline leads, Kyliric Masella as Fuzzy Mac, Mairehau Grace as Tui & Tjiirdm McGuire as Yar. The series is produced by Lois Randall and Dena Curtis, NITV executive producer is Mary-Ellen Mullane, ABC TV executive producer is Libbie Doherty. It is directed by Lynn-Maree Danzey, Beck Cole and Nicholas Verso.

The House of Bernarda Alba

The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca
August 23-26 2017 USQ Artsworx Arts Theatre Toowoomba

Directed by Matt Scholten
Performed by Company 2017 USQ BCA Students
Set Design Matt Scholten
Lighting Design Adam Speedie
Sound Design Liam Fitz-Gibbon
Costume Design Tonia Pawlyszyn
Production Manager Shaun Kelly