Critical Stages

From Brisbane, QLD.


By Sasha Janowicz

A Matrix Theatre production


2007 Bell Award for Best New Play
Best New Australian Play, Matilda Awards
Best Direction, Matilda Awards
Best Independent Production, Matilda Awards

Genre: Drama
Duration: 80 minutes
Suits: Proscenium Arch and Black Box
Minimum Stage: 7m x 7m
Available to Tour: 2009 and 2010

List of Dates and Venues

 “....possibly one of the best pieces of Independent Theatre I have had the pleasure of seeing... a fast paced piece that will have you on the edge of your seat.” -  Nigel Munro-Wallis, 612 ABC Brisbane

A clever, thrilling and masterful production about the trapped survivors of the Kursk disaster. Winner of a 2007 Bell award for Best New Play.

After a decade of inactivity caused by the turmoil of the 90s The Russian Navy undertook a major naval exercise in August 2000. During the training, the pride of the Russian fleet, a nuclear submarine the Kursk, vanished. The wreckage was eventually discovered on the bottom of the ocean with the sailors trapped inside. The Russian Navy faced severe weather conditions and an impossible rescue.  On top of this a serious international crisis was brewing with suspected foreign involvement in the disaster. In the meantime the whole world waited desperately for the survivors to be rescued.

This extraordinary and inspired play is the true and human story behind the ill-fated Kursk. Australian Playwright, Sasha Janowicz, travelled to Russia to seek out the truth behind the controversy.

Sasha was also sent an anonymous package. In it he found a submariner captain’s uniform complete with medals. The Russians donated their time, artefacts and pieces of uniforms for the project. It was clear that the true story of The Kursk had to be told.

We meet Admiral Popov, a proud and obstinate man, deeply distrustful of the foreigners who have come to help. We meet the sailors, their wives, their friends and their families who wait as the rescuers’ fight against the impossible while the fate of their loved ones hangs in the balance.

This unique production magically captures the submariners’ claustrophobic world and the terrifying ordeal that the trapped sailors endured as they awaited rescue.

“...proves yet again that the best theatre really is about the best stories”-Time Off

Michael Futcher’s clever and masterful direction captures the suspense and the humanity of this potent story. Inspired lighting and haunting sound design accentuates the extreme suspense and tension of this unique production.

Michael Futcher is an established Brisbane based artist who has won several Matilda awards and a Green Room Award (for the direction of his play A Beautiful Life) as well as being nominated for several other awards including The Queensland Premier's Literary Awards, The AWGIES and the Green Room Awards for best play.

The Kursk features prominent Queensland performer Eugene Gilfedder, who is a tour de force as Russian Admiral Popov. He has received 5 Matilda Awards and has also won a Green Room Award for Best Actor for his role in 'A Beautiful Life'.

“One of the best productions of 2007...a compelling and highly theatrical script...Exceptional” William McBride, Rave Magazine

“the type of drama that will have you thinking long after you have left the theatre.” Nigel Munro-Wallis – 612 ABC Brisbane

“The strong cast of six slides seamlessly in and out of their multiple roles in this fast paced piece that will have you on the edge of your seat.” Nigel Munro-Wallis – 612 ABC Brisbane

“a gripping theatrical performance” Vanessa Lahey,  Australian Stage

Featuring Sasha Janowicz, Eugene Gilfedder, Edward Foy, Amanda Mitchell, Dirk Hoult, Julienne Youngberry

Director Michael Futcher
Lighting Design Jason Glenwright
Composer Luke Lickfold

Originally co-produced by Sasha Janowicz and Matrix Theatre with Metro Arts, Brisbane

For more information email Luke Cowling: or phone: 02 9331 3107

Click here to see a You Tube video about the play

Click here to view the powerpoint presentation on The Kursk





19-20 June 2009 Orange Civic Theatre Orange NSW
25-27 June 2009 Coffs Harbour Jetty Memorial Theatre Coffs Harbour NSW
1 July 2009 The Clocktower Theatre Moonee Ponds VIC
2 July 2009 Westgippsland Performing Arts Centre Warrragul VIC
4 July 2009 Westside Performing Arts Centre Shepparton VIC
7 July 2009 Kyneton Town Hall Kyneton VIC
11 July 2009 Esso BHP Billington Wellington Entertainment Centre Sale VIC
16 July 2009 Her Majesty's Theatre Ballarat VIC
18 July 2009 Portland Arts Centre Portland VIC
22 July 2009 Esperance Civic Centre Esperance WA
25 July 2009 Boardwalk Theatre Mandurah WA
26 July 2009 Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre Bunbury WA
29 July 2009 Margaret River Cultural Centre Margaret River WA
1 August 2009 Queens Park Theatre Geraldton WA
5 August 2009 Walkington Theatre Karratha WA
8 August 2009 Darwin Entertainment Centre Darwin NT
12 August,2009 The Mackay Entertainment Centre Mackay QLD
14-15 August 2009 Townsville Civic Theatre Townsville QLD
18-22 August 2009 The Jute Theatre Cairns QLD
26 August,2009 Oakey Cultural Centre Oakey QLD
27 August,2009 Ipswich Civic Hall Ipswich QLD
29 August,2009 The Playhouse Caloundra QLD
1-12 September 2009 The Roundhouse Theatre Brisbane QLD
15-19 September 2009 Lennox Theatre Parramatta NSW
22-26 September 2009 Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre Queanbeyan ACT
30 September 2009 Warrnambool Entertainment Centre Warrnambool VIC
2-3 October 2009 The Capital - Bendigo's Performing Arts Centre Bendigo VIC
9 October 2009 Wyndham Cultural Centre Werribee VIC
10 October 2009 The Drum Dandenong VIC
12 October 2009 Colac Otway Performing Arts Centre Colac VIC
15-17 October 2009 Civic Theatre Newcastle NSW
20-24 October 2009 The IMB Theatre Wollongong NSW
28-29 October 2009 Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre Bathurst NSW
3-21 November 2009 Darlinghurst Theatre Sydney NSW