Home Podcasts The Ballarat theater firm makes use of Lockdown to create award-winning podcasts

The Ballarat theater firm makes use of Lockdown to create award-winning podcasts

Lockdowns have dropped the curtain on live performances, but savvy actors at the Ballarat National Theater have found new ways to keep their productions going.

Important points:

  • Technology has helped regional theater groups reach new audiences through podcasts
  • The Ballarat National Theater is doing well online by staging dramatized audio versions of popular books
  • An academic says investment is needed to support the troubled theater industry

Since it wasn’t possible to have a live audience or even bring a cast together to film a performance, the organization switched to audio production and turned Jane Austen’s beloved tome Pride and Prejudice into a podcast.

The results were a hit, earning the nonprofit theater company an award from the leading international digital arts organization, the Webby Awards, earlier this year.

Success has spurred them on, with the group following their version of Pride and Prejudice with a JM Barries Peter Pan production in which more than 20 voice actors from all corners of the country contribute on Zoom.

Her Majesty’s Theater in Ballarat has been sitting idly during the pandemic, but a local theater company has found a new level of success off-stage.

Delivered: Her Majesty’s Theater


Forget the pandemic, we’re going to Neverland

Under the direction of the first directors Marli Van Der Bilj, Elizabeth Bradford and Olivia French, the latest adaptation of the children’s classic has proven to be another success.

“The response we have received shows that there is great interest and increasing demand in such projects,” said the directors.

Actor Jono Lukins as Mullins in the Ballarat National Theater production of Peter Pan, recorded from his bedroom. (

Supplied: Ballarat National Theater


The radio play has been listened to more than 8,000 times on various podcasting platforms since April, the equivalent of around 70 full-capacity shows at Ballarat’s Courthouse Theater on the Federation University campus in the heart of the city.

“We really tried to build a sense of community with our listeners through social media and it was heartwarming to see how many people tell us how much the audiobook means to them,” the directors said.

“Barrie’s language is beautiful and the connection to the text through the narrative in our production is thought-provoking as well as a means of escape,” the Peter Pan directors told ABC Ballarat.

Directors said that while the effects of the lockdown on their work were demoralizing at times, the production of this audiobook proved that performing artists can continue to create engaging work.

Find more local news

“Bulletproof” online theater

Ballarat National Theater President Liana Skewes said attempting to put on live theater during the pandemic meant that performance schedules were often accompanied by an asterisk.

“In the meantime, interacting with our online productions is a little more bulletproof,” she said.

What did Australian theater learn and lose in 2020?

The Sydney Opera House's light guide, Ange Sullivan, illuminates a lonely sphere in the empty auditorium

While the exact extent of the damage this disastrous year is difficult to determine, there have been successes for diversity and accessibility.

Continue reading

Skewes said the audience feedback was that the podcasts made them feel “less lonely” during difficult times, which was one of the goals of the productions.

“Pride and prejudice broke a lot of ground here and after Peter Pan we have three more works in this format ahead of us,” she said.

The Senior Lecturer of the Federation University for the Performing Arts, Dr. Kim Durban stated that “democratic participation” in an online audio production meant that these types of productions could pave the way for the industry.

“Many companies and artists have turned to online and virtual resources to keep their art alive and produce readings,” said Dr. Durban.

While admitting that nothing can replace a live theatrical performance, she said that “the whole field of adapting work to a wider audience requires attention and investment”.

“Anything that keeps actors, writers, and producers involved, engaged, and busy gets my vote,” she said.

Local news straight to your inbox

ABC Ballarat delivers a round-up of the week’s news, stories and photos every Wednesday. Sign in to stay connected.

Latest articles

web optimization encourages oblique investments | Monetary tribune

With the flood of new investors on the stock market in a relatively short space of time, the regulator has stepped up its efforts...

6 causes Maxime Bernier needs you to vote for PPC

This article is part of a Narcity series that highlights the key points you need to know about where Canada's political party leaders stand...

PPC candidate apologizes for being requested to kill Trudeau – in some way

It could be the most insincere excuse in political history. Popular Party candidate and pot-backer Mark Emery was beaten up on Twitter Monday night after...

The state of search engine optimisation 2021 [New Search Engine Journal Research]

Do you love dates? Are you looking for help to successfully steer your SEO strategy and career in the right direction for 2022?Then...