Photo by Patrick Boland

Photo by Patrick Boland


Roslyn Oades is a Melbourne-based theatre maker known for her innovative work in the field of headphone verbatim and audio cued performance. She was the 2013 Female Director-in-residence at Malthouse Theatre where she created Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday for the 2014 Melbourne Festival. Her other works include: I’m Your Man (Belvoir/Sydney Festival/Mobile states national tour), Cutaway–A Portrait (Vitalstatistix), Stories of Love & Hate (Urban Theatre Projects/STC) and Fast Cars & Tractor Engines (UTP/BYDS). Roslyn's signature works are predominantly audio-focused and she collaborates closely with sound artist extraordinaire Bob Scott

Roslyn was writer/director on Helpmann Award nominated show In A Deep Dark Forestan immersive storytelling adventure for children (produced by The Inhabitors), and scripted At the Hip, a commission for HotHouse Theatre’s Studio Ensemble. I'm Your Man was recently adapted by SBS into an online interactive documentary.

Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday received a Green Room award for outstanding writing/adaptation for the Australian Stage and toured Australia with Performing Lines in 2017. I'm Your Man was nominated for 2 Sydney Theatre Awards (Best direction & Best new Australian work). A trilogy of her plays, Acts of Courage, was recently published by Currency Press. She is a contributing author on VERBATIM Staging Memory & Community edited by Paul Brown (Currency Press, 2010). For the Sweatshop collective she has directed two performing writing events: #Three Jerks (Sydney Writers Festival/Emerging Writers Festival, 2014) and Alleyway Honour (Sydney Writers Festival, 2009). Roslyn is also a sought after dramaturg and mentor in the field of documentary and audio-driven performance projects. 

Outside of theatre, she works as a voice artist, performer and puppeteer in film, TV and radio. She particularly enjoys voicing cartoon characters and can be heard on many well-loved TV animations, such as: Bananas in Pyjamas, Tracey McBean, Dogstar, Sherazade, the Untold Stories, Zigby, Sea Princesses, ZuZu & the SuperNuffs, Kangaroo Creek Gang and the upcoming series Kitty is not a CatVoice/Actor Bio >>

Roslyn Oades & Collaborators was a recipient of the Sidney Myer Fund, Arts & Humanity Capacity Building Stream (VIC/TAS Round: 2015-16) 


ACTS OF COURAGE - by Roslyn Oades (Currency Press, 2014) Order online >>
Headphone-verbatim theatre takes real life and fuses it into storytelling, with the aid of headphones. Acts of Courage presents three of headphone-verbatim pioneer Roslyn Oades' work. Fast Cars & Tractor Engines weaves a diverse range of intimate conversations to create a smorgasboard of Australian voices of cohesive unity. Stories of Love & Hate tells the complex story of the Cronulla Riots; and I'm Your Man shines a light on some of the best-known boxers in Australian. Acts of Courage forges immediacy and honesty between a vast range of Australian stories, generating forgiveness and hope in the act. Oades' unwavering loyalty to the words, sounds and silences of every day conversations conveys a steadfast loyalty to the experiences and the people from which they come. This trilogy celebrates not only the human spirit in times of hardship but everyday extraordinary acts of courage. 

Applications for play text production rights can be submitted via Australian Plays >>

VERBATIM: Staging Memory & Community - Edited by Paul Brown (Currency Press, 2010) Order online >>
A guide intended for both teachers and students at senior high school level. This publication emerges from a series of workshops with high school teachers in 2008 and 2009, and is written by educators and theatre makers who have practical experience of verbatim theatre and other documentary styles. Contributors include: James Arvanitakis (UWS), Paul Brown (UNSW), Paul Dwyer (USYD), Ulrike Garde (Macquarie Uni) Meg Mumford (UNSW), Roslyn Oades (Theatre maker) and Caroline Wake (UNSW). 

Headphone-Verbatim Theatre

“...resolutely truthful and non-actorly work, with a beautifully accurate rendering of the cadences, timing and slippages of real speech as opposed to the well crafted phoniness of actors reciting lines" - The Sydney Morning Herald
“I’m happy about (the show). Before I die I like to give people something. My family couldn’t believe it. They didn’t believe my stories were so popular ...” - Hildegard Zywko, 84yr old interviewee, Fast Cars & Tractor Engines

Rather then reciting memorised lines, the actors wear headphones and speak along to a sequence of carefully edited audio interviews word-for-word. By confining the actors to the discipline of accompanying a recording with absolute precision (including every inflection, cough, stumble, breath and overlap), a curious, hyper-real performance style is established. While the actors often adopt characters with an accent/background/age/gender obviously not their own, the discipline of this technique prevents parody or interpretation. It also allows the many quirks and imperfections of human speech to be acknowledged with integrity. As a theatre-maker, Oades operates from the principle there is as much information embedded in the way someone speaks as what they are saying. By meticulously preserving the vocal print of real-life interviews in performance, her cast sets out to mine the rich nuances of conversational speech like musicians following a score. 

Roslyn's experimentations with headphone-verbatim performance began in 2001 at the London Actors Centre. She gratefully acknowledges the early mentorship of UK director Mark Wing-Davey; the generous contribution of long-term Australian collaborators: Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Katia Molino, Tim Carroll (BYDS), Bob Scott, Neil Simpson and Alicia Talbot (UTP), as well as choreographer Lee Wilson (Branch Nebula) - all of whom have had a profound impact on the development of her practice.