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  • The Age Critics’ Award for beste nye verk på Melbourne Festival 2011
  • Australian Green Room 2011 for beste regissør, beste produksjon og beste ensemble
  • Helpmann Award 2012 for beste skuespill
  • Herald Angel Critics’ Award 2014

In English

Ganesh Versus the Third Reich is poignant, beautiful, disarming, full of vulnerability and sly transparency.

The story begins with the elephant-headed god Ganesh travelling through Nazi Germany to reclaim the Swastika, an ancient Hindu symbol. As this intrepid hero embarks on his journey a second narrative is revealed: the actors themselves begin to feel the weighty responsibility of storytellers and question the ethics of cultural appropriation.

Cleverly interwoven in the play’s design is the story of a young man inspired to create a play about Ganesh, god of overcoming obstacles. He is an everyman who must find the strength to overcome the difficulties in his own life, and defend his play and his collaborators against an overbearing colleague.

The show is made before our very eyes and takes on its own life. It invites us to examine who has the right to tell a story and who has the right to be heard. It explores our complicity in creating and dismantling the world, human possibility and hope.

Ganesh Versus the Third Reich premiered at Malthouse Theatre on Thursday 29 September 2011. Winner of the 2011 The Age Critics’ Award for best new work at the Melbourne Festival, three 2011 Australian Green Room Awards for Best Director, Best Production and Best Ensemble, the 2012 Helpmann Award for Best Play and the 2014 Herald Angel Critics’ Award.

The winner of The International Ibsenaward 2022, Back to Back Theatre, creates new forms of contemporary performance imagined from the minds and experiences of a unique ensemble of actors with a disability, giving voice to social and political issues that speak to all people. Based in the regional centre of Geelong, the company is one of Australia’s most globally recognised and respected contemporary theatre companies. In addition to its profes sional practice Back to Back collaborates intensively with communities around the world, with a focus on artistic excellence and elevated social inclusion for people with disabilities.


Devisors: Mark Deans, Marcia Ferguson, Bruce Gladwin, Nicki Holland, Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price, Kate Sulan, Brian Tilley & David Woods. Director and Design: Bruce Gladwin. Performers: Mark Deans, Simon Laherty, Scott Price, Brian Tilley & David Woods. Additional Performance: Georgina Naidu. Lighting Design and Technical Direction: Andrew Livingston, Bluebottle. Set Design and Construction: Mark Cuthbertson. Design and Animation: Rhian Hinkley. Composer: Jóhann Jóhannsson. Mask Design and Construction: Sam Jinks & Paul Smits. Costume Design: Shio Otani. Translation: Karen Witthuhn & Greg Bailey. Script Consultant: Melissa Reeves. Creative Development Actors: Brian Lipson, James Saunders & Sonia Teuben. Sound Engineer: Marco Cher-Gibard. Stage Manager: Pippa Wright. Production Manager: Bao Ngouansavanh. Company Manager: Erin Watson. Artist Support: Nikki Watson. Senior Producer: Tanya Bennett. Executive Producer: Tim Stitz.

The premiere season of Ganesh versus the third reich was supported by Keir Foundation, Melbourne Festival, Malthouse Theatre, National Theatre Studio (London) and ANZ Trustees.

Back to Back Theatre is supported by Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, City of Greater Geelong and acknowledges the support of the Department of Education & Training, Victoria, through the Strategic Partnerships Program.


Simon Laherty

Foto: Jeff Busby


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