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Theatre Makers: Michael Futcher

Directors at Work

Year: 2021, 20 mins
Code: MLA-Makers4

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Ever wondered how directors bring their vision to life?

Theatre Makers: Directors at Work is a four part docu-series that follows innovative theatre directors and their process in devising theatre.

From interviews, working with actors on the floor in both workshops and rehearsals, to the polished scene, see how these contemporary directors bring their work to life.

Each episode focuses on a specific director, and explores their personal philosophies, methodologies and approaches to theatre making. Includes practical exercises for immediate application in the classroom or rehearsal room.

Michael Futcher is a writer, director, actor, dramaturg, acting coach, and is also the co-Artistic Director, with Helen Howard, of the acclaimed Matrix Theatre. Over the last 30 years Michael has worked on more than 100 professional stage productions in various capacities, and has appeared on screen in a variety of roles.

He has been the recipient of numerous Queensland and national awards and nominations including a Green Room Award, Matilda Award and an AWGIE Nomination for his play A Beautiful Life, a Playlab Award for his outstanding contribution to Queensland writing, two APACA Drover’s Awards for his productions, eleven other Matilda Awards and a Helpmann Award Nomination.

See the rest of the series here

Over the last 30 years Michael Futcher has worked on over 100 professional stage productions in various capacities, and has appeared on screen in a variety of roles. He has been Co-Artistic Director of Matrix Theatre, with Helen Howard, since 1994, Co-Artistic Director of Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre 2011-2013, Resident Artist of World Interplay 2006-2007, and has had a close association, throughout his career with all of Queensland’s leading arts organizations as director, writer, actor, drama coach and dramaturg. He has been the recipient of over 30 Queensland and national awards and nominations, including a Green Room Award, various Matilda Awards, AWGIE and Helpmann Award nominations, and a Playlab Award for his outstanding contribution to Queensland writing. He was also the recipient of the Arts Queensland Creative Fellowship in 2007/2008.

Michael’s visionary and innovative leadership of Matrix Theatre has been lauded by critics, the profession and audiences alike for over twenty years and has resulted in several landmark productions, including: A Beautiful Life, written by Michael and Helen Howard, which was originally co-produced with The Brisbane Festival and La Boite, then toured nationally with Performing Lines in 2000, winning 4 Green Room Awards, a Matilda Award, was nominated for an AWGIE, short-listed for the Queensland Premier’s Drama Awards and was recorded for ABC Radio, and has developed into a modern Australian classic, currently appearing on the HSC lists and syllabuses of many schools and universities around Australia; the 2009 national tour of The Kursk with Critical Stages, which was then one of the largest tours of an independent theatre production ever undertaken in Australia’s history, travelling to 34 venues in 6 states and territories, and winning three Matilda Awards, and a Helpmann Award nomination; the Matrix/La Boite production of The Drowning Bride at The Roundhouse in 2005, written by Michael and Helen, which received 3 Matilda Awards, and was called “the best Queensland play and the best Queensland production in years” by The Australian; the hit production of Treasure Island adapted by Matrix (in co-production with QTC), which toured nationally in 2012, and the Brisbane Festival in 2013; the highly acclaimed The Wishing Well, also written by Michael and Helen, performed at the Roundhouse in 2008, and for which Michael received a Matilda Award for best director; and Piano Lessons co-produced with Metro Arts, which toured nationally in 2015 and 2017.

Alongside running Matrix Theatre, Michael has collaborated with some of Australia’s most exciting artists and worked with a diverse range of companies and organizations both within Queensland and nationally, including STC, Performing Lines, the Malthouse, Critical Stages, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, the Brisbane Festival, the Queensland Music Festival, the Brisbane Cabaret Festival, the Sydney Olympics Festival, the Brisbane Writer’s Festival, World Interplay, La Boite, Shake and Stir, JUTE, Queensland Theatre, Tropic Line, QPAC, QAC/Artslink, Opera Queensland, Qld Conservatorium, QUT, USQ, UQ, NIDA, Griffith University, Playwriting Australia, Out of the Box Festival, Backbone Youth Arts, ATYP,  Playlab and The Brisbane Powerhouse.

Other directing highlights include: Queensland Theatre Company: 1001 Nights (co-production with Zen Zen Zo/Qld Music Festival), Grimm Tales, Rabbit Hole, The Glass Menagerie, A Life In The Theatre (Noosa Long Weekend), Oz Shorts, Explosions, Blithe Spirit (assistant director); Shake and Stir: Animal Farm, 1984 and Dracula, which toured nationally in 2013, 2014 and 2017 respectively, Endgame and Tequila Mockingbird; La Boite: Pale Blue Dot, Walking By Apple Tree Creek, James and Johnno, Salt; Matrix Theatre: The King and the Corpse! (co-production with The Brisbane Festival), 1347, Cutting Loose, Lunch/The Woods; Queensland Music Festival: Piano Lessons with Anna Goldsworthy, Dirty Apple – a youth opera (co-produced with Opera Queensland and Backbone Youth Theatre); Zen Zen Zo: Vikram and the Vampire, Marcus and the Manic Music Makers/Macbeth A Porter’s Tale (co-production with Artslink); Out of the Box: Bear With Me and Beeware; Queensland Arts Council: Citizen Jane and The Bush Genie; Rheingold Theatre Club, London: Macbeth; Latchmere Theatre, London: What Are You Afraid Of?; Krakajak Theatre Company: Rapunzel and The Robin Hood Show. Since 1999, Michael has also had a close association with QUT, directing several productions including: Enemies, Children of the Sun, The Seagull, As You Like It, Jane Eyre, Cymbeline, The Crucible, Three Sisters, The Duel, The Cherry Orchard (twice), Camille, Outside In, Connections, The Gypsy’s Gift. Michael has also directed The King and The Corpse!, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and The Master and Margarita for Griffith University, and Jane Eyre for the University of Southern Queensland.


Michael’s writing credits, with Helen Howard, include: The Wishing Well, The Drowning Bride, A Beautiful Life (all Currency Press); Citizen Jane and The King and the Corpse!  (both Playlab Press); Cutting Loose, 1347, The Gypsy’s Gift, Disobediently Yours, Edmund Kean; and stage adaptations of: 1001 Nights, Treasure Island, Therese Raquin, The Duel, Memoirs of a Physician and The Master and Margarita.


As an actor on stage Michael’s credits include: Words and Music (Kupka’s Piano/QMF); An Oak Tree, Constance Drinkwater and the Final Days of Somerset, Arcadia, The School for Scandal, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Animal Farm and Three Sisters (QTC); The Mayne Inheritance, Svetlana in Slingbacks, First Asylum, As You Like It, The Zoo Story and The Kelly Dance (La Boite); Hamlet, Lunch, The Woods and Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Matrix); Empire Burning (Metro Independents); The Elephant Man, Deathtrap, Noel Coward Revue, Duck Variations, Under Milkwood, The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria, The Ur Sonata, The Woods, The Shearer’s Strike, Private Lives and The Importance of Being Earnest (Tropic Line); Dracula (Fractal); Grendel (Brisbane Ensemble); The Caucasian Chalk Circle and As You Like it (Harvest Rain); All’s Well That Ends Well and Macbeth (Rheingold Theatre Club, London); Disobediently Yours, Edmund Kean (BK Productions, London); and Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra (Performance Theatre Company, UK).

On screen as an actor, Michael’s credits include: Fire and Steel (Channel 4, UK), Wombat, Medivac, Fire 11, The Day of the Roses, Green Sails, Paradise Found, Hey Sista, Fat Cow Motel, The Sleepover Club, and Monarch Cove. As an acting coach for screen Michael’s credits include: The Family Law 1 and 2, The Sleepover Club and Answered by Fire.

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