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Michael Dean


Portfolio

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Michael Dean


Portfolio

"Adventurous, playful and iconoclastic, Dean’s presentation is a surprising and delightful show...made even more wonderful by sheer, undeniable talent and exquisite taste." - Suzy Goes See

"Thanks to direction by Michael Dean...the main set piece...becomes a conduit for all of the ideas that pulse through the show." - Great Scott 

"a new, daring, experimental and bold voice on Sydney’s independent theatre scene." - The Spell of Waking Hours

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Lies, Lies and Propaganda


2014-present

Lies, Lies and Propaganda


2014-present

messy, colourful, provocative theatre

"Lies Lies and Propaganda is shaping up to be one of the most interesting theatre companies in Sydney, whose vision and dedication to theatrical integrity go hand in hand to make powerful creative statements about what theatre is capable of and where it is headed."
Lisa Thatcher

I am founder and co-artistic director of independent theatre company Lies, Lies and Propaganda. Lies, Lies and Propaganda creates theatre that is messy, colourful and provocative. Theatre that is not afraid to draw blood, be art, or rejoice in its theatricality. Theatre that does more than reinforce stereotypes or preach to the choir. 

Please click on the photos below to explore the work of Lies, Lies and Propaganda.

ORPHEUS. Blood Moon Theatre, 2016

ORPHEUS. Blood Moon Theatre, 2016

BICYCLE by Danielle Baynes. Old Fitz Theatre and Adelaide Fringe, 2016.

BICYCLE by Danielle Baynes. Old Fitz Theatre and Adelaide Fringe, 2016.

ROADKILL CONFIDENTIAL by Sheila Callaghan. Kings Cross Theatre, 2015.

ROADKILL CONFIDENTIAL by Sheila Callaghan.
Kings Cross Theatre, 2015.

ZEROVILLE. Parramatta Justice Precinct, 2015.

ZEROVILLE. Parramatta Justice Precinct, 2015.

PHAEDRA by Euripides. TAP Gallery, 2014.

PHAEDRA by Euripides. TAP Gallery, 2014.

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other projects:


the best corn chip in the universe

2016

other projects:


the best corn chip in the universe

2016

Michael Cullen. Photo Samantha Hickey.

helping performers bring their stories to life

I regularly ask actors, designers and other creatives, "What do you want to do?" Many have never been asked this by a director before, but it's an essential part of my role in independent theatre: helping artists make the work they really want to make.

Following the success of Bicycle, the one-woman show I directed earlier this year, performer Michael Cullen approached me to direct his first ever one man show for Sydney Fringe. 

Mike yearns for a change. But when an ancient and powerful force actually gives him what he wants, he may need your help to establish some sort of reality again.

Featuring a props list a mile long, the creation of the universe, and lots of confetti, The Best Corn Chip in the Universe was a physical, interactive and joyous meditation on life, existence and the universe.

Written and performed by Michael Cullen
Directed by Michael Dean
The Old 505 Theatre, Newtown
13-17 September 2016
Produced as part of Sydney Fringe

 

Michael Cullen. Photo Samantha Hickey.

Michael Cullen. Photo Samantha Hickey.

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Visiting Hours


2016

Visiting Hours


2016

Arisa Yura. Photo Suzanne Millar. 

Jim McCrudden. Photo Suzanne Millar. 

immersive and interactive performance

Audience member. Photo Suzanne Millar.

What can live theatre do that film can't? Interact and immerse. Most of my productions have made it very clear that you are in another world as soon as you enter the theatre space, and Zeroville took this further while maintaining the "audience sits and watches stuff" paradigm. Visiting Hours was something different - a truly immersive performance, in which audiences were taken though the environment in groups.

Take a wild ride through a mysterious old hospital filled with ghosts of the past and re-imagined fragments of history. All is not what it seems, as twists and turns await those who venture into forgotten places. The Doctor will see you now

Created for Vivid Sydney, every level of the Kings Cross Hotel was turned into a thrilling new environment using only sound, lights, music and performances. 

Written by Con Costi, Michael Costi and John Harrison
Directed by Michael Dean and John Harrison
Kings Cross Hotel, Kings Cross
1-16 June 2016

Presented by bAKEHOUSE and Mandylights, as part of Vivid Sydney

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The Big Funk & Love Field


2015 & 2013

The Big Funk & Love Field


2015 & 2013

Alixandra Kupcik and Jasper Garner Gore. Photo Tom Massey.

Lizzie Schebesta and Ben Wood. 

Danielle Baynes. Photo Sasha Cohen.

transforming spaces

When bAKEHOUSE Theatre Co. opened the Kings Cross Theatre in late 2015, they asked me to do the first production there (Roadkill Confidential), because they knew I would show it to be a space "where you can do anything". This year's Orpheus recently performed the same service at Blood Moon Theatre. I love a big, proper theatre, but that doesn't mean that a weird little space (or a glass box in Parramatta) can't be just as expressive. In three productions - 2013's Love Field, 2014's Phaedra and 2015's The Big Funk - I showed the versatility of a seriously undervalued space, the TAP Gallery, by putting it to three very different uses: a realistic play set on Air Force One, a strange New Romantic ritual, and a Shanley play in which the characters are aware they're in a play and directly address the audience. 

THE BIG FUNK

“Human beings are the absolute home of the unexpected.” Omar throws knives for a living and muses about the state of the world. Fifi is suddenly pregnant with twins. Austin believes the world would be a better place if everyone would do even one small act of kindness. And Jill is sitting in a bar, covered with grease. Love and life over neurosis and death - what will you choose?

Written by John Patrick Shanley
Directed by Michael Dean

March 2015
Produced by Suspicious Woman Productions

love field

On the morning of 22 November 1963, Lyndon Baines Johnson was languishing in the powerless and ceremonial position of the Vice President of the United States. Jackie Kennedy was the most powerful woman in the world, and her fierce intelligence and unique public persona had made the First Lady a position of glamour and influence. Then all of a sudden Jack was dead, LBJ was President, and Jackie was unemployed and homeless. And these two people with nothing in common were on Air Force One, flying back to Washington. Love Field imagines how that extraordinary conversation might have gone.

Written by Ron Elisha
Directed by Michael Dean

November 2013
Produced by bAKEHOUSE Theatre Co.

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Death and the King's Horseman


2008

Death and the King's Horseman


2008

Jonathan Dent. 

Nick White. 

Intercultural performance and diversity

Katherine Cooper, Fedna Jacquet and Samantha Ressler.

During my final year at Brown University, I was selected to direct the 2008 Senior Showcase Production. I chose Death and the King's Horseman by Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka, a play that was read by every Brown theatre student, but has rarely been performed anywhere. Many considered it unstageable. I staged it using actors from a variety of ethnicities and backgrounds, live Taiko and Ghanain drumming, Afro-Cuban dance and science-fiction influences. I believe drawing on the incredible multiculturalism of our society and our artists is the only way to create uniquely Australian theatre. 

The King is dead, so the King’s Horseman must die. But ritual suicide is easier said than done. Based on real events in 1940s Nigeria, Death and the King's Horseman is at once an intercultural work of postcolonial science-fiction and a heartbreaking drama of family, responsibility and the erosion of culture. 

Written by Wole Soyinka
Directed by Michael Dean

Leeds Theatre, Brown University, Providence RI
December 2008
Produced by Brown University Department of Theatre and Performance Studies