Gilly McInnes


Gilly McInnes is based in Melbourne and has spent over 20 years as a freelance writer, director and performer in the area of theatre for and by young people across Australia. She has also worked as a high school and university level drama teacher. Gilly has written 26 plays, which have been professionally produced in Australia by Polyglot Puppet Theatre, Patch Theatre, Company Skylark, Handspan Theatre and Arena Theatre in particular. Seventeen of her plays are puppetry specific. Her plays include adaptations of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Charlotte’s Web by EB White, The Hobbit By JRR Tolkien and The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate by Margaret Mahy.

Gilly spent years touring her one woman shows featuring her characters “Mad Hattie” and “Grandma Mad”. She wrote and presented for Radio National (Australia), winning a Gold Medal at the International Radio Competition of New York (for Hi Tech /Lo Tech, 1988). Her original play Timebender explored through time travel, puppetry and humour, the effect on a young teenage boy of a deepening relationship with the history of his place. Timebender won the Drama Victoria award for The Best Performance (Primary) in 1998. Sunflowers, which palyed at the Victorian Arts Centre, was based around four Australian Paintings and Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh and told the story of how postcards of artworks provided a refuge, a place of reflection, a window of opportunity and a chance for a new perspective on life for young boy at a difficult time in his life.

Her original play No Right Angles in Paradise, developed with Ken Evans and Handspan Theatre, was performed at the Adelaide Festival in 1992 and toured to Kawaguchi, Japan for the Festival of Australian Theatre in 1992. This piece combined magic, illusion and black theatre puppetry in an eccentric cabaret style performance for adults, based around Love. More recently Gilly has written Living Things, an adult puppetry murder mystery piece directed by Peter J Wilson, designed by Richard Roberts and performed by the puppetry students of the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. She was also dramaturge for Dispatch, performed by Barking Spider Theatre at ASSITEJ International Festival, Adelaide May 2008 and The Brisbane Festival 2008.

Gilly’s other original plays have all been written for younger audiences. They have toured throughout Australia, both in schools and in Youth Programs in major International Arts Festivals in Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra. Her adaptation of The Hobbit toured Australia with great commercial success from 1997 to 1998 as well as from 2000 to 2001. It will be produced by The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, USA, in their 2004-2005 season.

Gilly has also worked as an Artist in Residence as a performer, clown, writer and director, for young people in schools, universities and community health and theatre settings, from large cities to small country communities. She was a member of Handspan Theatre for 19 years and was formerly on the Board of Management of both Handspan and Polyglot. She was Artistic Director of Polyglot from 1997 to 2000.

Gilly lives in the hills outside of Melbourne, Australia, with her husband and son and she lectures in “Play Making” and coordinates the Post Graduate Puppetry courses at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.