Past Production

The Kursk (2007/2009)

“Moving, horrifying and lyrical…a stunning production.”  – The Brisbane Times

The Kursk

The Kursk was the tragic, gripping story of the K-141 Kursk submarine disaster, a story which possessed the imagination of its author, Sasha Janowicz, who offered his play as a possible answer to the question of how the tragedy occurred. The Kursk sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea, in August 2000, during a Russian Naval exercise, with the loss of all 118 men on board, engrossing the attention of the world as the story unfolded. For several days, news sources reported the desperate attempts to rescue the submariners inside the stricken submarine, and published harrowing images of their similarly marooned relatives, starved of information. No-one emerged from the wreckage, and, controversially, no satisfactory answers to the cause of the accident were forthcoming. Over the next five years, Sasha interviewed many of the victim’s families, as well as many Russian naval experts, gradually separating fact from fiction, as he put together a first draft of what was to become The Kursk. It was an enormously difficult task, and one which may not have been completed had not an anonymous gift arrived – the uniform of a Russian submariner, complete with medals, with a note offering it as a donation to the show from a widow of a Kursk submariner. There was no return address.  Encouraged by this heart-felt message, Sasha finished the first draft, then offered it to Matrix for further development with a view to producing it at Metro Arts. Matrix was immediately engaged by this moving act of remembrance for lives lost, and lives destroyed, and the production was further workshopped with Michael and the cast in an exceptionally brief rehearsal period, before stunning audiences in its first performance in August 2007 in the tiny Sue Benner Theatre. In 2009 Critical Stages produced the national tour, which at the time, was one of the largest ever tours of Australia of an independent theatre company work, touring to 34 venues and playing to over 16 000 people. In the manner of A Beautiful Life and The Drowning Bride, The Kursk continued Matrix’s tradition of bringing true stories to the stage in a bold theatrical way which connects poignantly with our audiences.




Presented by Metro Arts Independents Programme 8-25th August, 2007 at the Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts.

Jonathan Brand: Dmitry Kolesnikov, AS-34 Commander, Officer 1, Envoy, XO
Eugene Gilfedder: Admiral Popov
Dirk Hoult: Rashyd Aryapov, AS-32 Commander, Officer 2, Sonar Operator, Navigator
Sasha Janowicz: Bosun, the “Kursk” Commander, Officer, Father
Amanda Mitchell: Woman in Black, Mother, Nadezhda Tylik
Julienne Youngberry: Olga

WRITER: Sasha Janowicz


DESIGNER: Michael Futcher

LIGHTING DESIGN: Jason Glenwright

SOUND DESIGN: Luke Lickfold

AV DESIGN: Freddy Komp


ASM: Scott Barton


National Tour by Critical Stages

Edward Foy: Dmitry Kolesnikov, AS-34 Commander, Officer 1, Envoy, XO
Eugene Gilfedder: Admiral Popov
Dirk Hoult: Rashyd Aryapov, AS-32 Commander, Officer 2, Sonar Operator, Navigator
Sasha Janowicz: Bosun, the “Kursk” Commander, Officer, Father
Amanda Mitchell: Woman in Black, Mother, Nadezhda Tylik
Julienne Youngberry: Olga

WRITER: Sasha Janowicz


PRODUCER: Luke Cowling


LIGHTING DESIGN: Jason Glenwright

SOUND DESIGN: Luke Lickfold

AV DESIGN: Freddy Komp


PRODUCTION/TOUR MANAGERS: David Murray, Micah Johnson

PHOTOGRAPHY: Amelia Dowd, Michael Futcher and Scott Barton



Orange Civic Theatre, Orange, NSW: June 19th, 20th, 2009

Jetty Memorial Theatre, Coffs Harbour, NSW: June 25th – 27th, 2009

Clocktower Theatre, Moonee Ponds, VIC: July 1st, 2009

West Gippsland Performing Arts Centre, Warragul, VIC: July 2nd, 2009

Westside Performing Arts Centre, Shepparton, VIC: July 4th, 2009

Kyneton Town Hall, Kyneton, VIC: July 7th, 2009

Harrison Theatre, Swan Hill, VIC: July 9th, 2009

E.B.B.W Entertainment Centre, Sale, VIC: July 11th, 2009

Her Majesty’s Theatre, Ballarat, VIC: July 16th, 2009

Portland Arts Centre, Portland, VIC: July 18th, 2009

Esperance Civic Theatre, Esperance, WA: July 22nd, 2009

Boardwalk Theatre, Mandurah, WA: July 25th, 2009

Bunbury regional Entertainment Centre, Bunbury, WA: July 26th, 2009

Margaret River Cultural Centre, Margaret River, WA: July 29th, 2009

Walkington Theatre, Karratha, WA: August 5th, 2009

Darwin Entertainment Centre, Darwin, NT: August 8th, 2009

Mackay Entertainment Centre, Mackay, QLD: August 12th, 2009

Townsville Civic Theatre, Townsville, QLD: August 14th, 15th, 2009

Jute Theatre, Cairns, QLD: 18th-22nd August, 2009

Oakey Cultural Centre, Oakey, QLD: August 26th, 2009

Ipswich Civic Hall, Ipswich, QLD: August 27th, 2009

Events Centre, Caloundra, QLD: August 29th, 2009

The Roundhouse Theatre, La Boite, Brisbane, QLD: September 3rd – 12th, 2009

Lennox Theatre, Riverside Parramatta, Sydney, NSW: September 14th – 19th, 2009

Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, Queanbeyan, ACT: 21st – 26th September, 2009

Eva Gasper Theatre, Warrnambool, VIC: September 30th, 2009

Capital Theatre, Bendigo, VIC: October 2nd, 3rd, 2009

Wyndham Cultural Centre, Werribee, VIC: October 9th, 2009

Drum Theatre, Dandenong, VIC: October 10th, 2009

Colac Otway Performing Arts Centre, Colac, VIC: October 12th, 2009

Civic Theatre, Newcastle, NSW: October 15th – 17th, 2009

IMB Theatre, Wollongong, NSW: October 19th – 24th, 2009

Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, Bathurst, NSW: October 28th, 29th, 2009

Darlinghurst Theatre, Sydney, NSW: November 3rd – 21st, 2009




 One of the best pieces of independent theatre I have had the pleasure of seeing in some time…the strong cast of six glides seamlessly in and out of their multiple roles in this fast-paced piece which will have you on the edge of your seat…Michael Futcher has again proved himself to be a talent of national significance…the type of drama that will have you thinking long after you have left the theatre.”  
– ABC Brisbane

 Janowicz’s award-winning play is an elegy for all of humanity…a powerful theatrical experience…Michael Futcher’s intensely moving and riveting production…a powerful theatrical experience that reminds us that we all share a common humanity…not to be missed.”
– The Canberra Times

 A gripping theatrical performance…taut and tense, and not a single word is wasted…as Admiral Popov, Eugene Gilfedder gives a masterful performance…the other members of the cast, Edward Foy, Dirk Hoult, Julienne Youngberry and Amanda Mitchell move effortlessly between their multiple roles…Another triumph for Matrix Theatre.”
– Australian Stage Online

 Janowicz’s straightforward storytelling and Michael Futcher’s clever directing convey the tragedy and the way political and media agendas encourage us to avoid too much reflection, rendering others’ suffering trivial and distant…the most interesting local play for some time.”
– The Courier Mail

 Sasha Janowicz’s tense, moving and intensively researched documentary play…a dark and deeply poignant thriller, fact-laden yet poetically written…utilizes some of Brisbane’s most outstanding theatre talent to tell a riveting triptych tale of terrible loss…Likewise assured is Michael Futcher’s incisive and imaginative direction, and The Kursk’s well-chosen and gifted cast…Jason Glenwright’s green-tinged lighting of a bare-boned stage further enhances the claustrophobia…there are truly some heart-stopping moments.”
– Time Off, Brisbane

 A compelling and highly theatrical script…exceptional…Michael Futcher fresh from directing QTC’s excellent production of The Glass Menagerie, proves he is equally as adept at pulling together great theatre with limited resources…will certainly stand-out as one of the best productions of 2007.”  
– Rave Magazine

 Director Michael Futcher has exercised wise restraint. He skilfully recreates an event of Hollywood proportions with a stripped-back set, minimal cast, and few effects. The result is a painfully poignant account of the human tragedy…overall, the director and writer must be credited for exercising a gentle minimalist touch to achieve powerful results.”
– Scene Magazine, 2007

 Full credit must go to playwright Sasha Janowicz for his extensive research on the Kursk disaster and to director Michael Futcher for telling the story so effectively and convincingly… this is theatre at its very best.”
– Stage Whispers, Cairns

 The dialogue and narration mix seamlessly together thanks to the watchful eye of awarded director Michael Futcher…the entire production is one of cohesive success.”
– Scene Magazine, 2009

 Sasha Janowicz travelled to Russia to research the tragedy and the result is this powerful and humane 90-minute play staged by Queensland’s Matrix Theatre under director Michael Futcher…The  play excels in the evocation of the undersea rescue attempts. Futcher uses torchlight, dry ice and an eerie sound score to transport us underneath the icy Barents Sea – we’re kept near the edge of our seats as submersible vehicles attempt to dock with the fatally wounded Kursk. This is strong stagecraft in a production very much worth catching at Darlinghurst Theatre before its short run is up.”  
– Time Off, Sydney

 Strong design work by director/designer Michael Futcher…there is a palpable feeling of being trapped in the depths.”  
– The Australian

 Sasha Janowicz’s gripping and enlightening play…the acting as performed by Sasha Janowicz, Eugene Gilfedder, Jonathan Brand, Amanda Mitchell, Dirk Hoult and Julienne Youngberry, was charged with emotion and saturated with a sincerity that exemplified the sadness and inexplicable grief suffered by the Russians as a result of the disaster…Director Michael Futcher has beautifully constructed this production with a bold approach, while still displaying immense sensitivity to the tragedy”.
– Absolute Theatre

 Incredibly moving and beautiful…the ensemble cast is marvellous…a stunning production”  

– Our Brisbane

 A brilliantly-crafted script, breathed to life by inspired, sensitive actors…Jason Glenwright devised one of the simplest but cleverest lighting designs I have seen…the eerie Luke Lickfold soundscape sucked us into the arctic depths…at the end the audience sat silent and reflective, needing time to resurface.”  
– Stage Whispers, Brisbane

 Director Michael Futcher’s production is efficient and imaginative. Metal benches become rescue submersibles, picking their way through the gloom. Lighting designer Jason Glenwright’s hand-held lamps pinpoint faces trapped in the dark.”  
– Sydney Morning Herald

 An excellent script which translates into a compelling theatre piece in the docudrama style. It tells a story of hope, courage, survival and love in the face of an overwhelming tragedy….Eugene Gilfedder delivers an exceptional performance as Admiral Popov…Julienne Youngberry delivers a heartfelt performance as Olga…Amanda Mitchell is particularly haunting as the Woman in Black…an extraordinary lighting design by Jason Glenwright and soundscape by Luke Lickfold…director and designer Michael Futcher has succeeded in creating a cold, murky and claustrophobic underwater world.”
– Curtain Up