The best shows to catch on the stage this summer

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The best shows to catch on the stage this summer

Words by Chester Ogilvie

Welcome to Forte Stage Spotlight – your monthly passport to the finest live entertainment gracing our vibrant cultural scene.

As the curtains rise on a new month, we’ve curated a stellar guide to ensure you’re in the know about the must-see shows, performances, and theatrical wonders across the region.

Whether you’re a theatre aficionado, or someone just seeking an evening of laughter and awe, our Stage Spotlight is your go-to source for navigating the bustling world of live performances. From dazzling Broadway-style productions to intimate local plays, we’ve scoured the stages to bring you a diverse array of events that promise to captivate and entertain.

Stay up to date with what’s happening within the region’s art scene here

A Taste of Ireland

Christmas comes with a touch of the Emerald Isle this year as the dance and music sensation A Taste of Ireland provides a good craic. Join some of the world’s best Irish dancers as they twirl under the mistletoe for A Celtic Christmas, accompanied by a mix of traditional tunes, heartfelt ballads and some of your favourite carols.  

A Taste of Ireland will dance their way into your heart at COPACC on December 14, WCPA, Wendouree on December 15 and Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo on December 16 


Comedy Gold, Frankincense & Mirth

While there is no consensus as to the wiseness of these wise men, Damian Callinan, Rusty Berther and Kel Balnaves are, at the very least, adamant they can deliver a drama-free Christmas with some solid laughs. Each will perform a solo set before taking to the stage together for some unconventional carols and the world’s fastest nativity play.  

Comedy Gold, Frankincense & Mirth will put something special under the Christmas tree at Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool on December 20 & Apollo Bay Community Hall, Apollo Bay on December 21 


The Nutcracker

In 1892, one week before Christmas, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker premiered to less-than-stellar reviews. In 1944, Ballet West founder Willam Christensen staged the first complete performance in the US – and ever since, it has become a festive staple beloved by all ages. Adventurous and enchanting, it tells the story of Clara as she helps her beloved Nutcracker prince defeat the evil Mouse King and travel into the Land of Sweets. The Victorian State Ballet tells the tale here.       

The Nutcracker will take you to a faraway land at Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo on December 17 


You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

What makes you happy? It can be a difficult question to answer, but it is the question at the heart of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, a musical production from Clark Gesner based on the characters by Charles M. Schulz in his comic strip Peanuts. This particular production is from Geelong’s new creative venture What’s On? Production Company and features the beloved gang of Charlie Brown, Sally, Lucy, Schroeder, Linus and Snoopy.  

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown seeks the joy in life at The Story House, Geelong from January 11-13, 2024 


Holiday Lights & Broadway Nights

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, but here it is Geelong that lights up like a Christmas tree for the Geelong Dance Movement’s end-of-year spectacular. Enter the worlds of Broadway and Hollywood as they’re brought to life through electrifying performances and costumes that pop, taking you on a red carpet trip to a world full of glamour. They say there’s always magic in the air.     

Holiday Lights & Broadway Nights will dazzle at The Story House, Geelong on December 16 


Treasure Island: The Pantomime

With a script written by community and committee member Conor Cunningham, Treasure Island is a pantomime retelling of the Robert Lewis Stevenson classic. After failing to find a suitable script, Conor spent two years crafting his own to provide a family-friendly summer holidays swashbuckling adventure about the hunt for the treasure of Captain Flint. Be entertained with laughs, innuendo, double entendre, silliness and audience participation. Shiver me timbers! 

Treasure Island: The Pantomime will take you on a rollicking adventure at the BTC Shed, Golden Square from January 11-21, 2024


Legally Blonde: The Musical

Revenge is a dish best served pink. When Elle Woods is dumped by her Harvard Law boyfriend Warner, she charms her way to a position at the prestigious school to win him back. She soon realises, however, there is much more to her than good looks. Presented by Warrnambool youth theatre Holiday Actors, Legally Blonde: The Musical gives a singing and dancing touch to the much-loved 2001 Reece Witherspoon film. 

Legally Blonde: The Musical will have you bending and snapping at Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool from January 6-14, 2024


Ozact presents As You Like It

Travelling outdoor theatre company Ozact is at it once again with the wondrous words of William Shakespeare. Based on a prose romance by Thomas Lodge, Shakespeare’s five-person pastoral comedy As You Like It follows the adventures of Rosalind as she flees her uncle’s court with the aid of her cousin Celia. It features one of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches, ‘All the World’s a Stage’,    

Ozact will awaken your inner bard at Kirks Reservoir Park, Ballarat on December 26 & 27 and Geelong Botanic Gardens on January 13 & 14, 2024