Bringing young people to the theatre

MTC encourages parents to bring young people to experience MTC’s world-class productions but recognises that some plays may not be suitable for all ages or temperaments. Most MTC productions are likely to be unsuitable for young children. However, most are suitable for teenagers in the middle and upper years of high school and MTC publishes a free Education Pack for each production that gives students and young people insight into the play, its context and the production process. These can be found here.

MTC believes that parents and guardians are the best judge of what is suitable for their children. To assist you to choose plays appropriate for your children, MTC provides the following guide and age recommendations for each play in the season.

Note: all audience members will be required to hold a valid ticket, excluding babes-in-arms. At some shows, audience members who leave the theatre during the performance will not be able to re-enter the theatre. MTC updates the running time, interval and content advice on this website for each show closer to its season. Detailed synopsis and content warnings for each show can be found here.

Season 2019

Recommended for ages 14+ (Year 9+)

Photograph 51
by Anna Ziegler

A play about the discovery of DNA set in 1952, this is an inspiring story that is educational about the challenges that women did and continue to face in the sciences. All the characters are mature adults and it is a text-driven play, running approximately 2 hours with one interval.

Recommended for ages 15+ (Year 10+)

Black is the New White
by Nakkiah Lui

This is a riotous comedy about race, racism and Australian politics in the form of a theatrical farce. Set at a Christmas lunch at a family beach house, young people will recognise the world of the play, its characters, relationships and issues. The play will provoke both laughter and critical thinking about Australian society. Runs approximately 2 and a half hours with one interval.

Contains coarse language, nudity and drug use

Recommended for ages 16+ (Years 11 and 12)

Golden Shield
by Anchuli Felicia King

A political thriller that mixes English and Mandarin, Golden Shield explores the legality, ethics and morality of a US company doing work for a foreign government. The main characters include lawyers, corporate executives, government officials and translators. It is a text-driven play with a running time of approximately two and a half hours with one interval.

Contains coarse language, sexual references and mature themes

Kiss of the Spider Woman
Book by Terrence McNally, Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Based on the novel by Manuel Puig

The musical follows the changing relationship between two polar-opposite inmates in a South American prison: a political revolutionary and a homosexual window-dresser. Although reminiscent of the composers’ previous hits (Cabaret, Chicago), this work is arguably darker, interrogating and enacting political, sexual, physical and emotional violence. Runs for approximately 2 hours with one interval.

Contains coarse language, sexual references, violence and mature themes

Season 2020

Recommended for ages Year 6-12 (ages 11+)

As You Like It
by William Shakespeare

One of Shakespeare’s most accessible plays and popular comedies, As You Like It is filled with disguise, romance, comedy and some action. Young audience members may find some of the language difficult to understand at first, however, this production will be an accessible and entertaining introduction to Shakespeare. The performance is likely to be 2.5 hours, including a 20 minute interval.

Sunshine Super Girl
by Andrea James

Please note this is a new work and the content is subject to change prior to the performance season. The parents and content guides will be updated as changes occur.

A heart-warming true story of sporting and personal achievement, Sunshine Super Girl will introduce young audiences to Evonne Goolagong Cawley, her place in Australian history and her experience of growing up an Indigenous young woman in the 1960s and 1970s. MTC is reconfiguring the Sumner theatre into a tennis court for the production, with stadium style on-stage seating. Audiences of all ages will enjoy an exciting and unique theatregoing experience. The performance is expected to run 90 minutes with no interval.

Recommended for ages 14 years+ / Year 9+

SLAP. BANG. KISS. 
by Dan Giovannoni

Please note this is a new work and the content is subject to change prior to the performance season. The parents and content guides will be updated as changes occur.

MTC commissioned Dan Giovannoni to write this play for the company’s annual Families and Education season. The three main characters in SLAP. BANG. KISS. are 16 year olds, and teenage audience members will find the characters’ language, emotions and motivations familiar. However, the play shows each adolescent character in an extreme and emotionally intense situation, including arrest and detention, a school shooting and subsequent memorial service, and enduring homophobic aggression. The play does not depict these events gratuitously; it shows young people and their communities responding to adversity with courage, empathy and generosity. The play’s storytelling style will enable audience members to process the narrative and themes along with the characters, and each story resolves positively, affirming the agency and optimism of young people. SLAP. BANG. KISS. is likely to inspire young audiences with the power of theatre. The performance is expected to run for 70 minutes with no interval.

Home, I’m Darling
by Laura Wade

This contemporary comedy-drama shows a modern English married couple – Judy and Johnny – who have chosen to live as if it were the 1950s, despite it being 2019. Through the course of the play, their fantasy life, along with their personal and professional relationships, begin to disintegrate. In the second act, more serious issues impact their lives, including a sexual harassment complaint against their friend Marcus, and Judy contemplates an extra-marital affair. Some younger audiences may find the 1950s world at the centre of the play unfamiliar, and some of the mature themes unrelated to their experience, but are likely to enjoy the play’s bright aesthetic and quirky tone. The performance is likely to be 2.5 hours including a 20 minute interval.

True West
by Sam Shepard

True West is a modern American classic, featuring dense and muscular dialogue – aggressive without profanities – between adult American men in their 30s and 40s. The two main characters are brothers who, throughout the play, spar and fight both verbally and physically, with one brother almost killing the other towards the end of the play. Their mother is powerless to stop or control her sons’ aggression and they damage and destroy much of the house. Aspiring actors and writers, may find the performances and script inspiring. The play takes place in one location – the family home. The performance is likely to be just over 2 hours including a 20 minute interval.

Recommended for ages 15 years+ / Year 10+

Torch the Place
by Benjamin Law

Please note this is a new work and the content is subject to change prior to the performance season. The parents and content guides will be updated as changes occur.

Benjamin Law (writer of SBS TV comedy The Family Law) has written this exuberant comedy about a Chinese-Australian family on the Gold Coast. While the focus of the story is the mother, a Cantonese woman in her 60s, the perspective and experiences of the children in their 20s and 30s dominate the play. There is much swearing, some drug use, references to pornography, sex work, sex, and sexuality. Later in the play, the children discuss and address their mother’s mental illness. Young audiences with a worldly and broad outlook might appreciate the play’s sometimes shocking, black humour. The performance is likely to be 2 hours including a 20 minute interval.

Fun Home
Music by Jeanine Tesori, Book and Lyrics by Lisa Kron
based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home is a biographical musical, both a coming-of-age and a coming-out story, based on the graphic (i.e. comic book) autobiography by Alison Bechdel. Young audiences are likely to relate strongly to the central character’s journey through childhood, adolescence and adulthood, and her complex relationship with her father. The musical incudes very mature themes, mostly around her father, who Alison discovers had been private about his own sexuality (with her mother at one point referencing his infidelity with men and even 'boys…some of them underage'), and who takes his own life. Given detailed context (use MTC’s free, downloadable Education packs), young audiences are likely to find Fun Home an entertaining and engaging show. The performance is likely to be 100 minutes with no interval.

Emerald City
by David Williamson

Sydney is the emerald city of the play’s title, and the location for the story of an aspiring screenwriter who forsakes his artistic ideals for money and power. Although some young audiences may find the 1980s setting unfamiliar, they will recognise the flamboyant characters and likely be able to connect the themes of the play (greed, consumerism, art and idealism) to their experience and understanding of modern day Australia. Witty dialogue and a naturalistic setting and style will make this an accessible theatre experience for young audiences. The performance is likely to be 2 hours and 20 minutes including interval.

Berlin
by Joanna Murray-Smith

Please note this is a new work and the content is subject to change prior to the performance season. The parents and content guides will be updated as changes occur.

This is a dialogue-driven play, featuring two 20-something characters in an apartment in Berlin, playing a complex game of intellectual and emotional cat-and-mouse. The story and tone is highly sexual, with much swearing and references to sex. Young audiences with a mature outlook and familiarity with contemporary theatre will enjoy this sophisticated psychological thriller. The performance is likely to 90 minutes with no interval.

The Heartbreak Choir
by Aidan Fennessy

Please note this is a new work and the content is subject to change prior to the performance season. The parents and content guides will be updated as changes occur.

This play with songs will have a comic tone, punctuated with darker moments when the characters address the recent suicide of Caro, a choir member, and her experience of sexual assault as a child. Young audiences with a mature outlook and familiarity with contemporary theatre will likely appreciate the deft handling of confronting themes within a comic play. The performance is likely to be 2 hours and 30 minutes including a 20 minute interval.

Recommended for ages 16 years+ / Years 11 and 12

Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes
by Hannah Moscovitch

Please note this is a new work and the content is subject to change prior to the performance season. The parents and content guides will be updated as changes occur.

Jon is a prize-winning novelist and university lecturer who wants more out of life. Annie is clever, imaginative, and a huge fan of his work. This play takes the archetypal student-teacher romance genre and turns it completely on its head for a fascinating drama on contemporary gender politics. MTC recommends this play about abuse of power, privilege and position for young audiences with a mature outlook and familiarity with contemporary theatre only. The performance will be 90 minutes with no interval.

Recommended for ages 18 years+ / Year 12 with supervision

Girls & Boys
by Dennis Kelly

In this one person performance, a woman candidly tells the story of her relationship and marriage to the man who ultimately murders their children. While it is dark and heavy in content, the storytelling is beautiful and at times humorous. MTC recommends this play about family violence for young audiences with a mature outlook and familiarity with contemporary theatre only and that the Production Content Guide be consulted by a guardian prior to attending. The performance will be 90 minutes with no interval.