The Speechmaker: Working Dog in the theatre

They’ve written and produced television series, films and phrases that have entered the national psyche, but Working Dog hasn’t set foot in the theatre until now. Santo Cilauro, Rob Sitch and Tom Gleisner, the writers behind The Castle, The Dish, Frontline and The Panel, have created The Speechmaker, a political satire set aboard Air Force One, for Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2014 season.

Starring Erik Thomson (Packed to the Rafters) as the US President and Offspring’s Kat Stewart, Lachy Hulme and Jane Harber, the show has already attracted plenty of attention, with many performances throughout the season already sold out.

But how well equipped are three writers completely new to the theatre to take on one of MTC’s premiere mainstage slots?

MTC Associate Director Sam Strong, the man charged with the task of bringing The Speechmaker to the stage, said: “It’s been fascinating for me to see how much of the qualities you would associate with Working Dog’s work — its sense of rhythm, the quality of its observation, the pointedness of its satire — how much of that has transposed really seamlessly into the dramatic context.”

Daily Review caught up with the Working Dog crew on the eve of the opening night of The Speechmaker.

Listen to Ben Neutze’s interview with Cilauro, Sitch and Gleisner about writing for the theatre, the word “exeunt” and the enduring success of The Castle.

The Speechmaker is at the Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne, until 5 July. Tickets are available at

Featured image by Jeff Busby


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