Various People

Household Names

Barbara Strozzi.jpg

Barbara Strozzi

 The year 2019 marks the the 200th anniversary of composer/pianist Clara Schumann’s birth, and the 400th birthday of Baroque singer/composer Barbara Strozzi. Our new work, Household Names, celebrates the life and work of these two extraordinary women, while also taking a look at the lives of the female performers who are bringing their work to life. It is an affectionate, personal glimpse of a female artists' work/life balance in 200 year installments, designed for intimate audiences in quasi-promenade style.

There will be glorious singing, tenderness and humour, and possibly tea and homemade biscuits, or an aperitif... we'll offer some unexpected touches, both domestic and professional. 

With our trademark sophistication, warmth and irreverence, Various People Inc creates an intimate picture of two women at the peak of their musical powers, each juggling the demands of their music, their domestic worlds and the social restrictions of their times, and each bequeathing a musical legacy which continues to inspire. 


Current production



Conversations is an immersive multi-art form work involving music, film and dance, taking as its theme the journeys of those who are forced to leave their homes and seek asylum in other countries. Creative development has taken place with the assistance of the Australia Council, Arts South Australia and the Graham F Smith Peace Foundation, and venue support from Vitalstatistix.

The work unfolds through a series of spaces, asking the audience and performers to journey together through film, music and story.

The ‘conversations’ are between art forms and artists, between cultures and expectations, and ultimately between individual human beings as we approach one of the most complex problems of our time.

Conversations includes music by South Australian composer Anne Cawrse and film by James Kalisch. Development partners include the Australian Refugee Association and Baptistcare via its Friendship program. Discussions are under way with potential production partners.

Audience feedback from the November 2017 development:

I found it deeply moving. I emerged from the experience almost speechless. It had touched my innermost being.

Thank you for a magnificent show!

 The experience will stay with us for quite some time, I know.

As always, your theatrical-personal-political-humanitarian instincts are well aligned and your vision played out in an affecting way.

All the elements of the production were of the highest artistic quality and executed with the greatest restraint to create an aesthetic of rare beauty and depth.


Rachel Nyiramugisha and Stephen Sheehan in rehearsal for Conversations


Alex O Fortuna photo.jpg

Alex Roose in rehearsal for P’opera

P’opera brings opera, the story teller, back to the street, allowing this profound expression of human emotion to magnify our everyday joys and sorrows.

The music is well-loved and familiar - the stories are our own. We follow singers through shopping arcades, are serenaded from balconies, in coffee queues and while waiting for the bus, and are swept up into the musical and emotional momentum of their stories. P’opera culminates in one glorious coming together of song before the protagonists go their separate ways.

P’opera is being created by Various People Inc with assistance from Arts South Australia, Chamber Music Adelaide, the City of Adelaide and Adelaide Arcade management..


The Red Pinafore


Based on a true story, The Red Pinafore is a coming of age story at the dawn of modern multi-cultural Australia, when an OzAsia connection was created around kitchen tables and in living rooms by our parents and our grandparents.

The Red Pinafore had its first creative development as part of the InSPACE programme at the Adelaide Festival Centre in 2014.

Two little girls wearing matching red vinyl pinafores clamber awkwardly over the school fence. Safely home, they gather around a table with their family to eat a communal meal of noodles, stir fries and rice. Outside, the boys who have thrown footballs at their heads are taunting them, calling them ‘slopes’ and ‘wing-nuts’.

One day these same boys will call them to ask them out. But in Australia in the late 1970s, it is not yet cool to be mixed race, to be ‘one of those beautiful brown girls’. These girls are being raised by white mothers who fell in love with charming, charismatic men from China and Hong Kong. They are treading a precarious line between two cultures.

What do they dream of? Who will they become? What will these little girls tell their own daughters as the twenty first century unfolds?


Chiew-Jin Khut, Catherine Campbell and Jacqy Phillips, The Red Pinafore, InSPACE 2014