Various People

Orpheus Underground

Orpheus Underground Scene 1 Various People Inc May 2017.jpg

Bethany Hill, David Hidden and audience, Orpheus Underground, Treasury Tunnels, Adina Hotel Adelaide May 2017

Orpheus Underground, created for the Treasury Tunnels beneath the Adina Hotel in the centre of Adelaide, invites intimate audiences to join Orpheus and Eurydice’s wedding party. They are greeted with glasses of champagne and included in the reception chatter like old friends, before joining a toast to the bride and groom.

As the story unfolds, the audience venture further into the tunnels with the singers and musicians, following Orpheus on his quest to recover his beloved Eurydice from the underworld. All pay a token to Charon to cross into the underworld, a third space deep below the surface where Eurydice resists Orpheus’s pleas and finally returns to her new abode, to the strains of Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Eurydice and Vaughan William’s beautiful art song Orpheus with his Lute. Other music is by Monteverdi, Peri, Gluck and Pergolesi, accompanied by archlute, with additional poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Conceived and directed by Cheryl Pickering

Designed by Emma O’Neill

Performed by Bethany Hill, Cassandra Humble, Kate Macfarlane, David Hidden and David Cox, with Andrew Byrne on archlute.

Orpheus Underground was truly adventurous... intense and memorable.

Gillian Dooley, Australian Book Review

The cast...was fantastic

Melanie Walters, The Advertiser

Orpheus Underground overflowed with creativity. Theatrically vivid and studded with some exceptional singing...

Graham Strahle, The Adelaide Review


La Virtuosissima Cantatrice


La Virtuosissima Cantatrice is a ‘Baroque cabaret’ created by Cheryl Pickering for Baroque specialist and captivating singer/actor Kate Macfarlane. LVC tells the stories of extraordinary women in the world of seventeenth century Florence and Venice in music of passion and fire, and honours a time when a woman choosing to sing was an act of defiance against her society.

With Various People’s characteristic warmth and irreverence, LVC draws contemporary parallels with our own performer (Timtams and all…)

Concept and direction: Cheryl Pickering

Costume design: Emma O’Neill

Performed by soprano Kate Macfarlane with Glenys March on harpsichord.

Winner Best Music and Best Production, Cabaret Fringe 2018

Kate with drum cropped.png

Kate Macfarlane La Virtuosissima Cantatrice, Cabaret Fringe 2018

The Velvet Gentleman


Various People Inc in association with the 2012 Adelaide Cabaret Festival

the odd story of Erik Satie (some of it is true)

An actor, a singer and a pianist journey into the curious world of eccentric French composer Erik Satie coaxing musings and music from his piano and paraphernalia. By turns humorous, surreal and deeply moving, the show is an affectionate tribute to one of the fathers of cabaret.

Music by Erik Satie | Text by Erik Satie & friends

This production was supported by Arts SA

Richard Chew: Le Maitre d’Musique
Graeme Rose: Le Maitre d’Hotel
Cheryl Pickering: La Chanteuse

Devised by Graeme Rose & Cheryl Pickering
Music Director: Richard Chew
Designer: Bec Francis
Production Manager: Emma O’Neill


Cheryl Pickering & Graeme Rose The Velvet Gentleman, Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2012

Instructions for an Imaginary Man

IM image #3.jpg

Graeme Rose, Instructions for an Imaginary Man, Adelaide Festival of Arts 2012

Various People Inc in association with the 2012 Adelaide Festival of Arts and the Old Adelaide Gaol

…a stunning, moving and ultimately uplifting expression of the human spirit…

Instructions for an Imaginary Man interweaves song, physical theatre and projection in a spellbinding glimpse into the experience of prisoners of conscience.

Two singers, an actor, a pianist and a string quartet evoke the words of poets from all corners of the globe.

…this is an aesthetic work of art…original and moving, and probably the most memorable theatrical production I’ve seen in years…
Heather Taylor Johnson, InDaily

 Theatre that truly removes you from one’s comfortable world and places you in that of the production is rare and this aspect was a triumph.
Peter Maddern, Kryztoff RAW

 …beautifully crafted miniatures with only hints of dissonance and darkness… the ideal balance between tension, melancholy, and cantabile…
Melissa Leslie, Limelight Magazine


The Magic Flute

MF image #1.jpg

Joanna McWaters as Queen of the Night
The Magic Flute, or the Sevenfold Seal of the Sun, State Opera Studio 2011

In partnership with State Opera of SA, Tutti Arts and Cirkidz, Various People Inc created a circus-based Magic Flute with a kaleidoscope of colourful characters, warmth, humour and downright fun.

Director: Cheryl Pickering
Musical Director: Richard Chew
Designer: Bec Francis
Lighting Designer: Nic Mollison
For Cirkidz: Glen R Johns, Jascha Boyce, the Livewirez Troupe
For Tutti: Pat Rix, Juha Vanhakartano
Performed by Robert Macfarlane, Andrew Turner, Deborah Caddy, Naomi Hede, Joanna McWaters, Alistair Braested, Jayne Hewetson, Kate Macfarlane and Simon Follett, with the Tutti Choir & Performing Arts Ensemble, Cirkidz Livewirez and musicians Richard Chew, Lyndon Gray & Jarrad Payne.

That was the greatest possible fun...
Anthony Steel AM exuberant, physical take on Mozart’s much-loved work... gob-smackingly good...
InDaily - Steve Evans

...real entertainment for real people and Mozart, I'm sure, would be delighted with this ingenious take on his masterpiece... adapted with a generous helping of creativity and wit...

Director Cheryl Pickering has achieved an amazing balancing act and delivered a genuinely entertaining show that should put a smile on anyone’s face.

Adelaide Theatre Guide - Tony Busch

Director Cheryl Pickering (has) fashioned a show that radiates colour and warmth…full of memorable moments…a host of exhilarating images…

The Advertiser - Ewart Shaw


Vesalius: A Requiem


a body lies in state on a mortuary table;
in a distant corridor a choir sings Kyrie Eleison

Renaissance anatomy and the Catholic mass for the dead collide in this spectacular piece of choral theatre. Two morticians and a pathologist examine the body of a drowned man. In the process of dissecting the corpse, they begin to re-invent his history. Fragments of text and music weave in the air like incense as the audience is drawn into the clandestine ritual of the autopsy.

Vesalius: A Requiem was first performed in London at the Old Operating Theatre Museum in 1996 and was a winner of a Barclay’s New Stages Award. The show toured to Teatri di Vita, Bologna, in 1998. The June 2010 performance in RiAus, The Science Exchange in Adelaide, was its Australian premiere.

Music: Richard Chew
Text: Alan Hay, Graeme Rose & Andreas Vesalius
Director: Cheryl Pickering
Lighting and Projection: Nic Mollison
Designers: Bec Francis & Diwani Oak
Production & Stage Manager: Ali O’Connell
Performed by: Graeme Rose, Richard Chew and Philip Griffin
with Jane Ruckert (hurdygurdy and bells)
and The Fabrica Singers
Developed from an original concept by Graeme Rose, Richard Chew and Henk SchutSelected in the ‘Top 10 for 2010 Shows’ by the Arts Editors of The Adelaide Advertiser, December 2010

A witty, charming and unusual evening.
Time Out, London (Critics Choice)

Scholarly, artistic, theatrical, funny, tender.
The Advertiser

Intelligent, uncompromising, and above all, grown-up.
Anthony Steel AM

Presented in association with RiAus
Supported by Arts SA and Choralworks Inc


Graeme Rose, Vesalius: A Requiem, RIAus 2010

The Shouting Fence

Sh F image #3.jpg

The Shouting Fence
Adelaide Fringe Festival 2009

The Shouting Fence is a choral theatre work highlighting the experiences of communities in the Golan Heights, separated by wartime land annexations. On Friday evenings the villagers gather at the boundary fence and shout their news across No Mans Land through megaphones. The Shouting Fence asks the audience to become the ‘barrier’ between two choirs. A children’s choir, professional singer/actors and two percussionists lead the two community choirs.

For The Shouting Fence, Adelaide Fringe 2009:
Music by Orlando Gough and Richard Chew
Directed by Cheryl Pickering
Musical Director: Richard Chew
Assistant MD: Philip Griffin
Designer: Louise Dunn
Lighting Designer: Nic Mollison
Produced for Tutti by Pat Rix
Performed by Kate Macfarlane, Catherine Campbell, Jo McWaters, Robbie Macfarlane, Andrew Turner, Peter Deane, Philip Griffin and Bortier Okoe
with choir members from Adelaide Harmony Choir, Tutti Ensemble, Sudanese St Bhakita Choir, Adelaide Secondary School of English, Big Country Choir, and participants from Families SA Refugee Services.