The Lifespan of a Fact

15 May — 16 July 2021

Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio

Nadine Garner, Steve Mouzakis and Karl Richmond star in the Australian premiere of this hit Broadway comedy, a somewhat accurate, sort of fictional, mostly true story about the slippery nature of facts.

Approximately 90 minutes without an interval.

Due the most recent lockdown in Victoria, all MTC performances on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 July have been cancelled. Ticketholders will be contacted directly. Learn more >

Find Tickets
This is rated 4 out of 5 stars

'An absolute hoot'

Time Out Melbourne
This is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars

'Tight, intelligent and thought-provoking'

Limelight Magazine
This is rated 4 out of 5 stars

'Provocative and intelligent and oh so relevant'

This is rated 4 out of 5 stars

'The performances are electric'

Australian Book Review
This is rated 4 out of 5 stars

'Brilliantly realised'

Theatre People


A somewhat accurate, sort of factual, non-fiction story, this comic Broadway hit makes its Australian premiere in a production directed by Petra Kalive (Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes). Nadine Garner (Photograph 51) stars alongside Steve Mouzakis (Death and the Maiden) and Ngāti Toa actor Karl Richmond (Punk Rock) – making his MTC debut – in a play about an epic ideological battle over the nature of truth and the value of storytelling.

While interning at an eminent literary magazine, recent graduate Jim Fingal is thrilled when his editor offers him a career-making opportunity: fact check venerated essayist John D’Agata’s exploration of a disturbing Las Vegas reality, which is going to press in five days. It sounds simple enough, but when Fingal is still unravelling the inconsistencies and literary liberties of the first sentence three days later, he realises he has a problem. So he does what any thorough young up-and-comer with something to prove would do: he goes straight to the source. It could be the biggest mistake, or the best decision, of his life.

Are facts negotiable? Is art more accurate at showing the heart of the matter? Can there ever be a justifiable reason to distort reality for the greater good, and who gets to decide? Based on the critically acclaimed book of the same name, The Lifespan of a Fact is a tightrope walk of playful debate on the virtues and vices of creative non-fiction. As it cleverly dissects the slippery slope from authenticity to fakery in today's world, whose side will you be on?


  • Wheelchair Accessible

  • Hearing Assistance

  • Audio Described

  • Open Captioning

  • Auslan Interpreted

Performance Type Performance Date(s)
Audio Described
by Vision Australia
Saturday 5 June at 2pm
Tuesday 8 June at 6.30pm
Open Captioning
via screen
Saturday 12 June at 2pm
Auslan Interpreted
Auslan Stage Left
Saturday 19 June, 2pm
Nadine Garner

Nadine Garner

Emily Penrose

Steve Mouzakis

Steve Mouzakis

John D’Agata

Artwork for Karl Richmond

Karl Richmond

Jim Fingal

Artwork for Petra Kalive

Petra Kalive


Petra trained at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and has extensive experience as a director, writer and dramaturg of new works for the stage. Her acclaimed adaptation of Peter Goldsworthy’s novel Three Dog Night toured nationally. She was Dramaturg at Red Stitch from 2009 – 2012, Assistant Dramaturg at The Malthouse in 2010.  Petra was Artistic Director of Union House Theatre (UHT) 2015-2020.

At Melbourne Theatre Company Petra has directed Laurinda, Touching the Void, The Lifespan of a Fact, Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes (Green Room nom Best Direction), Hungry Ghosts, Melbourne Talam (Green Room nom Best Director) and Beached.

Petra has also worked for Belvoir Street, Sydney Theatre Company, Arena Theatre Company, Complete Works Theatre Company, Union House Theatre, St Martins Youth Arts Centre, La Trobe, Monash University & Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) performing arts programs. 

Her notable independent directing credits include the much-acclaimed Taxithi, which had two sell-out seasons at fortyfivedownstairs (Green Room nom Best Director), her own work Oil Babies at Northcote Town Hall (shortlisted for the NSW Premier Literary Awards 2019) and new Australian musical, My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin adapted by Dean Bryant and Matthew Frank.

Andrew Bailey

Andrew Bailey

Set Designer

Artwork for Kat Chan

Kat Chan

Costume Designer

Artwork for Paul Lim

Paul Lim

Lighting Designer

Emma Valente

Emma Valente

Composer & Sound Designer


Geraldine Cook-Dafner

Voice & Dialect Coach

Artwork for Alice Qin

Alice Qin

Assistant Director

Learn more about the show

Fairfax Studio

100 St Kilda Road

Melbourne , Victoria 3004