Various People

Household Names

Kate Macfarlane

Kate Macfarlane

 Various People Inc’s new work, Household Names, explores the work-life balance of female artists in 200 year instalments.

Inspired by the birth anniversaries in 2019 of Barbara Strozzi (400 years) and Clara Schumann (200 years), Household Names celebrates the life and work of these two towering musicians, and introduces a specially commissioned work from leading South Australian composer Anne Cawrse.

Household Names is an affectionate, personal glimpse of a female artists' work/life balance, the glorious music accompanied by the sophistication, warmth and irreverence that Various People’s audiences have come to expect. Depending on the venue, accompaniments may also include tea and biscuits, or a drink with canapés.

 Household Names will be presented in concert form at Flinders University in September 2019, and will then be presented in a specially created experience for the Merrijig Inn as part of the 2019 Port Fairy Spring Festival. 

Household Names is particularly well-suited to intimate, non-traditional venues, and can be tailored to suit individual spaces. In smaller venues it is possible to use just a piano – in larger venues, both a piano and a harpsichord are preferred.


Current production



Conversations is an immersive multi-art form work 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