Combining the worlds of contemporary theatre, Australian folk music and academia, the result is musical theatre in the Australian vernacular


It is April, 1833 and a ship full of women leaves from Britain, bound for Australia. With only a single box of necessities below deck, 287 single and free women must endure four gruelling months at sea. What waits for them at sea will determine their survival. What waits for them in Sydney will determine their success.

Until now, there’s been little crossover between contemporary theatre, Australian folk music and academia. These three worlds collide in the new work Voyage by Helen Begley with a story that emerged from the work of Australian historian, Dr Liz Rushen. In the midst of convict ships arriving each week from Britain, a different cargo leaves for Australia. On board are 287 immigrant women enticed by promises of a better life. Voyage features two actors, thirteen characters, seventeen songs, three onstage musicians and is directed by Ruby Rees.


 ‘…a finely tuned and beautifully executed piece of theatre.’
- Stage Whispers

‘…lively musical theatre, well-researched and imaginative, that gets under the skin of colonial history.’
The Age

‘…Voyage…deserves as many passengers to fortyfivedownstairs as it can get.’
Australian Arts Review


Cast - Carly Wilding, Penny Larkins

Musicians - Helen Begley, Kylie Morrigan, Penelope Swales

Venue - Forty-Five Downstairs

Director - Ruby Rees

Writer - Helen Begley

 © Victorian Theatre Company Inc. 2020

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