In Repertoire

Piano Lessons

“90 minutes of pure enchantment.” – The Courier Mail

Originally commissioned by The Queensland Music Festival in 2011, Piano Lessons is a pithy two-handed stage adaptation of Anna Goldsworthy’s critically-acclaimed, award-winning memoir. Part concert piece, part storytelling, part drama, Piano Lessons takes the audience on Anna’s intriguing, humorous and profound musical journey from beginner to artist, guided throughout by her charismatic Russian piano teacher, Mrs Sivan, who inspires and challenges her young charge in equal measure as they work through a programme of sublime piano pieces, including selections from Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Schubert, Lizst, Beethoven and Khachaturian. Piano Lessons provides insight into the lives and inspirations of the great masters to expose the process of learning, interpreting and creating music.



  • Anna Goldsworthy
  • Helen Howard as Mrs Sivan

DIRECTOR: Michael Futcher


First Produced as part of the Queensland Music Festival in 2011, staged at the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC.


  • Anna Goldsworthy
  • Caroline Kennison as Mrs Sivan

WRITER/ADAPTOR: Anna Goldsworthy



Toured Queensland with Artour and QMF in 2013 to the following venues:

Church Theatre, Toowoomba, 7th and 8th July, 2013

Civic Centre, Ipswich, 9th July, 2013

Cultural Centre, Redcliffe, 10th July, 2013

Lucas Parklands, Montville, 12th and 13th July, 2013

Civic Centre, Dalby, 15th July, 2013

Leichhardt Cultural Centre, Miles, 16th July, 2013

Civic Centre, Biloela, 18th July, 2013

Qantas Founder Museum, Longreach, 20th July, 2013

Entertainment Centre, Mackay, 24th July, 2013

Riverway Arts Centre, Townsville, 27th July, 2013


  • Anna Goldsworthy
  • Carol Burns as Mrs Sivan

DIRECTOR: Helen Howard



2015 National Tour to the following venues:

Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Adelaide Festival Centre, SA, June 6-8th, 2015

Portland Arts Centre, Portland, VIC, June 12th, 2015

Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC, June 17-19th, 2015

Redland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, QLD, July 4th, 2015




PHOTOGRAPHERS: Nicholas Purcell, Michael Futcher and Queensland Music Festival.


The piano and music itself are the outstanding stars in this adaptation of Anna Goldsworthy’s award-winning memoir… a piece of music theatre that seems to have been made in heaven… It is not only an ode of joy to the piano and those who composed for it, but a wonderfully tender account of a pupil-teacher relationship…90 minutes of pure enchantment”
 – The Courier-Mail


Goldsworthy is both actor and pianist in an honest and revealing portrait of her musical and personal development from gawky child, to self-conscious and doubting adolescent, to mature adult…her performance is impressive as she flips back and forth between the demanding roles of actor/narrator/pianist with barely a moment to focus before launching into extended excerpts of some of the most challenging repertoire.”
– The Sydney Morning Herald

Helen Howard (as Mrs Sivan) has the good fortune of inheriting some memorable lines and her excellent portrayal brings to life this charismatic and passionate individual without slipping into parody…Director Michael Futcher’s touch is light and successful.”
– The Age

Piano lessons by the stunning concert pianist Anna Goldsworthy, along with an excellent portrayal of her Russian piano teacher performed by Helen Howard, is a beautiful, moving and enthralling insight into the mind of a musical student…the musical prowess of Goldsworthy is simply divine…a wonderful story with an equally wonderful ending.”
– The Clothes Line

Piano Lessons is an absorbing and inspiring book that has made a highly successful transition into a performance work…Anna Goldsworthy has devised a play that is certain to have enormous appeal. It is a work that deserves an international stage, as it will resonate with anybody who loves music or has an appreciation of what it takes to become a mature artist…As Eleanora Sivan a rather youthful-looking Helen Howard gave a convincing performance. Her accented voice was well projected and colourfully characterised while never hinting of caricature.”
 – Classic Melbourne

Howard as Mrs Sivan brings an endearing warmth and genuine care for her pupil that allows the audience to understand the strong bonds of friendship that develops between the two women…Goldsworthy’s abilities with this instrument and the immense repertoire covered (all by heart, with no evident reading of sheet music) brings a reality and absolute joy to the piece…A stunning choice for classical music lovers and anyone who has dreamed of following their passion.”

A rich adaptation of Goldsworthy’s philosophical relationship with music and piano teacher Eleonora Sivan, Piano Lessons is more than a scripted re-enactment of the student and teacher’s time together. It is a raw anecdotal selection of moments which comment on music’s ability to transcend time, and the selfless requirement of an artist to respect its form…The chemistry between Sivan and her is so authentic that their chummy exchanges in the intimate, tea-lit theatre, invite us into the practice room of teacher and pupil.

Helen Howard portrays Mrs Sivan fiercely and with great gentleness…The dialogue between the two characters is moving, intellectual and simultaneously playful, which aptly describes the piano playing too…the Liszt piece is extraordinary, and is a heady reminder that Goldsworthy is one of Australia’s finest pianists”
– Adelaide Independent News

Piano Lessons is cerebral high art; it is sophisticated comedy; it is beautiful music making; it is deeply affecting and immensely satisfying…underscored with superb piano artistry…for more than two hours Goldsworthy holds us spellbound in her hands as she traces her musical journey from the age of nine through to early adulthood”