Theatre

International Women's Day

Own the Spotlight: powerful female roles in theatre

This International Women's Day, we are highlighting some of the best female-led theatre currently, or preparing, to tour Australia

International Women’s Day is all about celebrating the power of women and women’s stories.

That’s why this International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate some of the most powerful characters on stage.

And the best bit – you can experience them all. Whether they are currently showing, or getting ready to open, these incredible stories are coming to a stage near you.

Anna & Elsa – Frozen: The Musical

What’s not to love about Frozen? Ever since the 2013 animated film was released, the story – about bravery, and adventure, and unconditional love – and the incredible soundtrack, including the Academy and Grammy Award winning ‘Let It Go’, ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman?’ and ‘In Summer’, have been enchanting audiences the world over.

But, when it comes to life on stage, Frozen: The Musical takes on a whole new, spectacular life entirely. New songs expand the Frozen world we’re already accustomed to, and marvellous costumes and lavish sets transport us to Arendelle with ease.

And then there are, of course, our Anna and Elsa. As the powerful, dazzling Elsa, Jemma Rix is flawless. From show-stopping musical numbers to finding the perfect balance in such a complexly emotional role, onstage Elsa is a true queen. Her iciness is perfectly balanced by Courtney Monsma’s Anna. As playful and giddy as we’ve come to love – together these two sisters are the best friends we all want.

Frozen: The Musical is now showing at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre. Tickets are on sale now.

Beverly Bass – Come From Away

If you are unfamiliar with Come From Away‘s incredible story, let us get you up to speed. The production is based on the true story of thousands of passengers diverted to the isolated community of Gander, Newfoundland in Canada following the events of September 11, 2001. It’s a story of comradery and the capacity for human kindness, even in the hardest of times.

The ensemble cast is incredible, taking on multiple characters throughout the show with effortless success. One of our favourite characters is absolute icon, Beverly Bass. The trailblazing pilot made history as the first female American captain in history. Bass has seen the musical more than a hundred times and commends the show for telling an important story that many people don’t know. Make sure you don’t miss this wonderfully heartwarming night.

Come From Away is now playing at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre before heading to Sydney’s Capitol Theatre from June 2021. Tickets for both cities are on sale now.

Drummer Queens

With stunning staging and world-class percussionists, original Australian theatrical experience Drummer Queens delivers live musical performances like you’ve never seen before.

Featuring eight incredible women, Drummer Queens was created as a celebration of female percussionists and a forum for celebrating their incredible skill, passion, and energy. Described as a combination of STOMP, SIX The Musical, and Tap Dogs, there is a lot to love about the spectacle and talent on show.

Drummer Queens will take over Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre from Wednesday 28 April. Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster.com.au.

Eliza & Angelica Schuyler – Hamilton

We couldn’t be more excited for Hamilton to finally land in Australia, and while the story centres around the work of men, one of the things we love about Hamilton is the way it gives voice to women in a period where they had none. While the musical follows Alexander Hamilton, it may just be his wife Eliza. Not only does she play a pivotal role in his life, but she also championed his legacy and collected 22,000 letters he wrote, meaning that essentially there would be no play without her. Maybe she even deserves a musical of her own – spending the 50 years following Hamilton’s death raising her family and helping to educate more than 700 orphans. Ultimately standing on her own.

Her sisters, too, leave a lasting mark on Hamilton. Angelica Schuyler shows us a woman who is pushing for change in all the ways she is able to, even if that means sacrifice. Not only does she own one of the show-stopping numbers ‘Satisfied’, but her ambition sees her push against the societal restrictions placed on women despite any disapproval.

Hamilton will make its Australian debut at Sydney Lyric Theatre in March 2021. Tickets are on sale now.

Elle Woods – Legally Blonde

Elle Woods is one of those forever-memorable roles because of the way that she turns the tables on what it means to be a strong female character. Sure, she follows a guy across the country and tries to change who she is to be what he wants, but that’s just the beginning of the narrative. By the end of the first act, Elle realises that her own personal success feels ‘so much better’ than what she came to Harvard for, and by the end of the second act she’s kicking butt as a lawyer while also keeping true to her genuine self.

Fighting against society’s stereotype that beautiful women who are interested in fashion can’t also be intelligent, driven, and powerful – Elle powers home the truth that expressing yourself through traditionally feminine means is not a sign of weakness.

Legally Blonde: The Musical will arrive at Crown Theatre, Perth from Friday 16 April. Tickets are on sale now.

Stop Girl

Suzie’s at the top of her game. She’s devoted the best years of her life to reporting from the dangerous frontlines all over the world. But even the most resilient foreign correspondents need to come home one day. What happened to Australia while she was away? And what happened to her?

That’s the premise of the brilliant new play Stop Girl,  the debut theatre work by ABC journalist Sally Sara, loosely based on her own life as a foreign correspondent.

The experience of being a female war reporter is different in some ways to that of a male reporter – it was about both danger and access. But more than just a story about a female reporter returning home, it is also about trauma, and war, and re-entering society when you feel so changed.

Stop Girl will take over Belvior St Theatre, Sydney from Saturday 20 March. Tickets are on sale now.

Read more: Women to the Front: Celebrating our favourite musicians
Read more: Changing the game: The Australian athletes you need to know

International Women’s Day takes place on Monday 8 March. Don’t miss when these incredible productions take to stages around Australia throughout the year. Tickets to all these shows are on sale now.