Christopher Hurrell

Lecturer

College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Dr Christopher Hurrell is a stage director and dramaturg who has worked nationally and internationally over a twenty-year career in the areas of new writing, Shakespeare and musical theatre.

Christopher has collaborated with leading Australian playwrights as director, dramaturg and in his former role as Literary Manager of Sydney’s Griffin Theatre company, on the creation of numerous award-winning new works of Australian theatre. His collaborators include writers such as Debra Oswald (creator of Offspring), Stephen Sewell, Justin Fleming, Glace Chase and Caleb Lewis.

At Griffin his productions of Stephen Sewell’s Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi German and Contemporary America, starring Nicholas Eadie and Debra Oswald’s Mr Bailey’s Minder starring Kate Mulvany played to standing-room only houses, and broke the company’s box office records.

He has recently returned from the United Kingdom, where his PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London investigated archival records of the acting of Shakespeare at the Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe, and his original practice-based research developed new techniques for actors working on late Shakespeare.

While in London, Christopher continued to champion Australian theatre on the world stage. With Wayne Harrison AM, he brought Alan Seymour’s classic Australian play The One Day of the Year back to the London stage for the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign in 2015, in a production starring iconic Australian actor Mark Little and in 2020 transformed the production into a live-streaming event for the Australian High Commission’s ANZAC Day commemorations co-starring Kerry Fox and Daniel Monks. In 2017, he directed the West End premiere presentation of Adelaide singer-songwriter Amity Dry’s The (M)other Life at the historic Wyndham’s Theatre. The work continues in development and is slated for an Australian tour in 2022.

Qualifications

PhD in Theatre and Performance - Goldsmiths University of London (2019) - 'Hear My Soul Speak' - Finding Prospero in the Verbal Music of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

This practice research thesis relates to the development of techniques for interpretation and live performance of Shakespeare. It develops a process model for the actor’s somatic engagement with the sonic patterns, aesthetics of the language and rhetorical devices in the verse of the late plays. The culminating multi-media performance transformed this work into a visual experience for the audience through the interaction between the actor and digital projection of a new kind of ‘sonic-kinetic’ digital text animation. The thesis was supervised by Professor Nesta Jones (Rose Bruford College, former Head of Department at Goldsmiths).

B.A.(Hons) - Drama - Flinders University of South Australia (2000) - Drama Centre: Directing.

Honours, awards and grants

Christopher collaborated as director-dramaturg on the creation of the text and premiere production of the following nationally and internationally-recognised new Australian works for the stage.

Whore by Rick Viede

Belvoir Street Theatre – June 2009

Winner – 2010 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Best New Play

Winner – 2008 Griffin Award for Best New Play

Men, Love and the Monkeyboy by Caleb Lewis

Darlinghurst Theatre and Parramatta Riverside Theatres - Shaman Productions - April 2008

Winner – 2008 Mitch Matthews Award for Best New Play

Shortlist – 2008 Griffin Award for Best New Play

The Department Store by Justin Fleming

Parnassus Den Productions - Old Fitzroy Theatre – Nov 2005

Adapted from the novel Au Bonheur des Dames by Emile Zola and played a critically-acclaimed, sold-out Sydney season.

Winner – 2004 Mitch Matthews Award for Best New Play

Shortlist - 2004 Griffin Award for Best New Play

Navigating Flinders by Don Reid

Ensemble Theatre – July 2005

Adapted from the life of Captain Matthew Flinders.

Winner – 2005 GLUG Award for Best New Play

Mr Bailey’s Minder by Debra Oswald

Griffin Theatre Company, SBW Stables Theatre – July 2004

This production broke Griffin’s box-office record and later toured throughout Australia.

Winner – 2003 Griffin Award for Best New Play

Winner – 2006 Drover Award for Best Touring Production

Shortlist – 2004 NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Best New Play

Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America by Stephen Sewell

Tangent Productions/Griffin Stablemates – SBW Stables Theatre October 2003/January 2005

The extended first season played to 110% capacity and returned for a second sold-out season.

Winner - AWGIE Stage Award 2004

Winner - NSW Premier's Literary Awards - Play Award 2004

Key responsibilities

Christopher teaches acting and directing at the internationally renowned Flinders University Drama Centre.

Teaching interests

Christopher has taught performance-training related topics including:

  • Acting for the Contemporary Australian Stage
  • Performance Fundamentals for the Music Theatre stage
  • Acting for Musical Theatre - Scene into Song
  • Collaborative Performance Making 1 - Textual Interpretation
  • Collaborative Performance Making 2 - Interdisciplinary Devised Performance
  • Playwriting Studio
  • Acting for Stage Comedy
  • Creating Character - Through the Body and the Mask
  • Political Performance-Making
  • Acting Shakespeare - The Language in Action
  • Acting Shakespeare - The Soliloquy
  • Voice and the Poetic text
  • Textual Analysis (Introductory and Advanced versions)
  • Directing for the Contemporary Stage
  • Dramaturgy