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60 Little Malop St
Australia 3220

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Australia 3220

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ABN 95 834 484 241

Image: Jeff Busby


“…never lets you settle into passive acceptance of anything it does. It’s a vital sense-sharpening tonic for theatregoers who feel they’ve seen it all.” New York Times

Image: Jeff Busby

GANESH VERSUS THE THIRD REICH is poignant, beautiful, disarming, full of vulnerability and sly transparency.

The story begins with the elephant-headed god Ganesh travelling through Nazi Germany to reclaim the Swastika, an ancient Hindu symbol. As this intrepid hero embarks on his journey a second narrative is revealed: the actors themselves begin to feel the weighty responsibility of storytellers and question the ethics of cultural appropriation.

Cleverly interwoven in the play’s design is the story of a young man inspired to create a play about Ganesh, god of overcoming obstacles. He is an everyman who must find the strength to overcome the difficulties in his own life, and defend his play and his collaborators against an overbearing colleague.

The show is made before our very eyes and takes on its own life. It invites us to examine who has the right to tell a story and who has the right to be heard. It explores our complicity in creating and dismantling the world, human possibility and hope.

Devisors: Mark Deans, Marcia Ferguson, Bruce Gladwin, Nicki Holland, Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price, Kate Sulan, Brian Tilley and David Woods

Director and Design: Bruce Gladwin

Performers: Mark Deans, Simon Laherty, Scott Price, Luke Ryan and Brian Tilley

Additional Performance: Georgina Naidu

Lighting Design: Andrew Livingston, Bluebottle

Set Design and Construction: Mark Cuthbertson

Design and Animation: Rhian Hinkley

Composer: Jóhann Jóhannsson

Mask Design and Construction: Sam Jinks and Paul Smits

Costume Design: Shio Otani

Translation: Karen Wittuhn and Greg Bailey

Script Consultant: Melissa Reeves

Creative Development Actors: Brian Lipson, James Saunders and Sonia Teuben

Developed with support from
The Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria, the City of Melbourne, Sidney Myer Fund, Keir Foundation, 2009 Kit Denton Fellowship, National Theatre Studio (London), Geelong Performing Arts Centre and Goethe-Institut (Melbourne).

The premiere season of GANESH VERSUS THE THIRD REICH was co-produced with Melbourne Festival and Malthouse Theatre.


  • 2014 Edinburgh International Festival Herald Angel Critics’ Award
  • 2014 Kunstfest Weimar Very Young Jury’s All Round Award
  • 2012 Green Room Award Best Direction in Theatre
  • 2012 Green Room Award Best Ensemble Performance in Alternative & Hybrid Performance
  • 2012 Green Room Award Best Production in Theatre
  • 2012 Helpmann Award for Best Australian Play
  • 2011 Melbourne Festival Age Critics’ Award
  • 2009 Kit Denton Fellowship for Theatrical Courage
Image: Jeff Busby