School Dance

The story of three awkward teens and their hormone-fuelled quest for social acceptability.

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This is a story of three teenage boys. They’re going to the school dance. They’re on a mission. But they are losers

First, there’s Matt. He’s 15, although he doesn’t look it. Then there’s Luke, also 15. Luke likes dancing. And for a loser, he’s pretty good at it. Neither Matt nor Luke has a girlfriend (if you hadn’t already guessed).

Then, there’s Jonathon. Even though he’s taller, he’s only 14. He’s excited about the dance – as long as he doesn’t run into Derek Sturgess, who threatened him with certain death if he appeared tonight.

These three are the awkward kids. The invisible teens. Fuelled by a diet of raging hormones and mee goreng noodles, they exist in a misfit realm, navigating complex waters with little success.

A highly personal work that, just like its central protagonists, is funny, sad, scary, weird, really stupid, endearing and repulsive.

  • For ages 14+
  • Theatre
  • 70 minutes
  • Depictions of violence
  • Occasional coarse language
  • Strobe effects


  • 2013 Sydney Theatre Awards Winner: Best Production for Young People
  • 2013 Sydney Theatre Awards Nomination: Best New Australian Work
  • 2013 Sydney Theatre Awards Nomination: Best Score or Sound Design in a Mainstream Production
  • 2013 Helpmann Awards Winner: Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play: Amber McMahon
  • 2013 Helpmann Awards Winner: Best Presentation for Children: School Dance
  • 2013 Helpmann Awards Nomination: Best Sound Design: Luke Smiles
  • 2013 Helpmann Awards Nomination: Best Direction of a Play: Rosemary Myers
  • 2013 Helpmann Awards Nomination: Best New Australian Work: Matthew Whittet
  • 2013 Helpmann Awards Nomination: Best Scenic Design: Jonathon Oxlade
  • 2012 Adelaide Curtain Call Award Winner: Best Show/Comedy: School Dance
  • 2012 Critics Circle Award Winner: Group Award: School Dance
  • 2012 Ruby Award Winner: Best Show: School Dance

Highlights from the Show

Meet the Cast and Creative Team

  • Rosemary Myers


    Under Rose’s leadership as Artistic Director, Windmill creates and presents work inspired by the vibrancy, sophistication and inventiveness of young people and the exhilarating challenges they pose to creating theatre of relevance in this modern time.

    Rose is a multi-Helpmann Award nominated director, her productions regularly visit leading stages and festivals around Australia and the world, including the Sydney Opera House, Hong Kong’s Arts and Leisure Centre and New York’s New Victory Theatre. Her directing credits for Windmill include Rumpelstiltskin, Pinocchio, The Wizard of Oz, Fugitive, School Dance, Big Bad Wolf and Girl Asleep. Prior to Windmill, Rosemary was the Artistic Director of Arena Theatre Company and Artistic Director of Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Out of the Box Festival in 2010. In 2015, she directed her first feature film Girl Asleep with Windmill Theatre Co, and in 2017 she was awarded the prestigious Australia Council Theatre Award.

  • Matthew Whittet

    Writer, Performer

    Matthew is an actor and writer who has worked extensively in theatre, film and television for the past 19 years. As an actor, Matt has performed for Belvoir many times, most recently in productions Cinderella, The Book Of Everything and Conversation Piece.

    His film credits include Girl Asleep, The Great Gatsby, Australia, You Can’t Stop the Murders and Moulin Rouge. Matt’s collaboration with Windmill has resulted in four plays with Girl Asleep being the most recent. Its predecessors are the Helpmann and Sydney Theatre Awards winning School Dance and Big Bad Wolf. Matt’s feature film adaptation of his play Girl Asleep (supported by The Hive Production Fund) debuted at the Adelaide Film Festival and went on to open the 2016 Generation 14 Plus Program at Berlin International Film Festival. Matt’s latest play Fight with All Your Might the Zombies of The Night, winner of the 2015 Foundation Commission Award, will premiere at ATYP in November 2016. Matt was among the seven Sidney Myer Creative Fellows chosen in 2012.

  • Luke Smiles

    Original Soundtrack, Performer

    Luke creates highly detailed soundtracks for theatre, dance and film, working across all areas of music composition, sound design, foley and sound effects editing. His work is enjoyed by audiences both nationally and around the world.

    Working under his business name motion laboratories, Luke has composed and produced soundtracks for many Australian and international artists & companies. Various credits include: ʻGʼ (Australian Dance Theatre), Double Think (Byron Perry), Glow (Chunky Move), I left my shoes on warm concrete and stood in the rain (Gabrielle Nankivell), The Maids (Sydney Theatre Company), Wildebeest (Sydney Dance Company), Fugitive, School Dance and Girl Asleep (Windmill Theatre Co).

  • Jonathon Oxlade

    Designer, Performer

    Jonathon studied Illustration and Sculpture at The Queensland College of Art and has designed sets and costumes in Australia for Windmill Theatre Co, Queensland Theatre, LaBoite Theatre, Is This Yours?, Aphids, Circa, Arena Theatre Company and many more.

    Jonathon has also designed for venues and festivals including the Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Festival, Brisbane Festival, Asia TOPA, Adelaide Festival and Fringe, The Malthouse, Performance Space and the Queensland Art Gallery. He illustrated the picture book The Empty City for Hachette Livre/Lothian and the Edie Amelia series by Sophie Lee. Jonathon is currently the Resident Designer at Windmill Theatre Co and won his first AACTA Award for Costume Design in 2016 for his work on Windmill’s debut film, Girl Asleep. Jonathon is also a recipient of the 2017 Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship.

  • Amber McMahon


    Amber McMahon is an award-winning actor who has worked extensively in theatre for the past 12 years. She graduated from Flinders University Drama Centre in 2002 and has since worked across the country and abroad with a host of leading companies.
    These include Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir Theatre, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Queensland Theatre Company and Windmill Theatre Co. Amber’s most recent theatre credits include Belvoir’s Twelfth Night and Angels in America, Ensemble Theatre’s Tribes, Malthouse Theatre’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, State Theatre Company South Australia’s The Popular Mechanicals, Melbourne Theatre Company’s North by Northwest, Windmill Theatre Co’s Girl Asleep and School Dance, for which she won the 2013 Helpmann Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Play.

  • Richard Vabre

    Lighting Designer

    Richard is a freelance lighting designer. He has lit productions for Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Victorian Opera, Windmill Theatre Co, Arena Theatre Company, NICA and The Darwin Festival.
    He has also designed the lighting for Stuck Pig’s Squealing, Chambermade, Rawcus, Red Stitch, Polyglot, Melbourne Worker’s Theatre, Aphids and many productions at La Mama Awards. Richard has won 4 Green Room Awards including the Association’s John Truscott Prize for Excellence in Design (2004). He has also been nominated for 7 other Green Room Awards.

  • Gabrielle Nankivell

    Movement Consultant

    Gabrielle has worked independently and been commissioned by leading dance companies and training institutions. She maintains a collaborative creative practice with composer Luke Smiles. Her work has been widely presented across the world.
    This includes Australia, Europe and Asia. 2016 commissions include the critically acclaimed Wildebeest for Sydney Dance Company, Thorn for Tasdance and Focus for Frontier Danceland Singapore. Gabrielle also provides choreography and movement consultancy across various stage and film productions. Recent engagements include State Theatre Company of South Australia’s The Popular Mechanicals, Windmill Theatre’s award-winning School Dance, Girl Asleep and Girl Asleep the film. Gabrielle honed her dance career in Europe performing for Belgian artists Alexander Baervoets and Ultima Vez/Wim Vandekeybus and collaborating with Jurij Konjar (Slovenia), Raul Maia (Portugal) and Thomas Steyaert (Belgium).

  • Chris More


    Chris studied Electronic Design and Interactive Media at Swinburne. His work with the moving image has led to creative collaborations for live performance and theatre, including Starchaser (Arena Theatre Company), Half Real (The Border Project). He has also worked on Wizard of Oz and School Dance for Windmill Theatre Co, Girl Who Cried Wolf for Arena Theatre Company, Criminology for Arena Theatre Company (co-production with Malthouse Theatre), and Skid 180 with Arena Theatre Company (co-production with Contact). Chris runs the creative design practise Studio Organic, an interdisciplinary studio working in visual design.

  • Andrew Howard

    Sound System Designer

    Andrew is a founding member of the The Border Project and a sound engineer at the Adelaide Festival Centre. Credits include Despoiled Shore Medeamaterial Landscape with Argonauts (The Border Project) and Disappearance (The Border Project).Andrew has also worked on the productions of The War (The Border Project), The Rope Project (Brink Productions), Please Go Hop (The Border Project), One Long Night In The Land Of Nod (Floogle Productions), Highway Rock ‘n’ Roll Disaster (The Border Project), The Birthday Party (Flying Penguin Productions), The Homecoming (Floogle Productions), Trouble On Planet Earth (The Border Project). Andrew was sound designer for Helly’s Magic Cup (Windmill Theatre Co) and Highway Rock ‘n’ Roll Disaster (Sydney Theatre Company).

Show moreless


"Windmill has all bases covered... open-hearted and quick on its feet, School Dance is a Festival hit"

The Australian

"A brilliantly fun night ou"

Vogue Australia

"One of the funniest things I’ve seen on stage in years"

Jason Blake, Sydney Morning Herald

"School Dance is what we have come to expect of Rosemary Myers and Windmill a dashing, daring and decidedly lateral production for young people of all ages"

The Advertiser

"The cast overall is outstanding - as is the compilation of familiar tunes"

The Age

"Witty, gloriously anarchic and bracingly honest"

ABC Arts

"Smiles… is an exuberance to behold. Oxlade is deliciously dorky"

The Advertiser

"Get out your dance cards... you'll need to make room for this one"

Sydney City News

"Great fun. Don't miss it"

Sun Herald

"Simply wonderful in all aspects"

Adelaide Theatre Guide

"Myers pulls out all the stops to produce an extremely entertaining night at the theatre"

Adelaide Theatre Guide


  • Director Rosemary Myers
  • Writer, Performer Matthew Whittet
  • Original Soundtrack, Performer Luke Smiles
  • Designer, Performer Jonathon Oxlade
  • Performer Amber McMahon
  • Lighting Designer Richard Vabre
  • Movement Consultant Gabrielle Nankivell
  • Animator Chris More
  • Sound System Designer Andrew Howard

Listen to the Soundtrack


School Dance is a Windmill Theatre Company production.



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