Print Page

The Sapphires


Lennox Theatre


24 September - 28 September 2019

Event Type

Live Event

Riverside presents Christine Harris and HIT Productions


Written and directed by Tony Briggs

The multi award-winning musical play inspired by the remarkable true story of writer Tony Briggs’ mother, returns to the stage for a limited season.

Set in the heady days of the late ’60s, a quartet of young, talented singers from a remote Aboriginal mission, are discovered and guided by a kind-hearted, soul-loving manager.

Plucked from obscurity, the four spirited women with powerhouse voices, called The Sapphires, are given the opportunity to entertain American troops in Vietnam. Catapulted onto the world stage as Australia’s answer to The Supremes, their journey of discovery offers them not only the chance to show off their musical skills, but also to find love and togetherness and experience loss and grow as women.

This uplifting Australian classic, full of comedy, heart and romance, together with unbeatable soul music, will stay with you for years to come.

FYI this production contains mild coarse language, simulated warfare and adult themes.

The Sapphires
won 11 AACTA Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay, and Tony Briggs also received AWGIE Awards for the Most Outstanding Script of 2012 and Best Feature Film Adaptation.

The Sapphires theatre production enjoyed triumphant sell-out seasons in Sydney and Melbourne, winning two Helpmann Awards for Best New Australian Work and Best Play in 2005.

Dates & Times

Schools Performance
Thursday 26 September at 11am

General Public Performances
Tuesday 24 September at 7:45pm
Wednesday 25 September at 7:45pm
Thursday 26 September at 7:45pm
Friday 27 September at 7:45pm  (Auslan Interpreted performance)
Saturday 28 September at 2:15pm and 7:45pm

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.


Tony Briggs is an acclaimed actor and writer for film, television and theatre. His acting career began on stage in the 1980’s and his many credits include lead roles in The Broken Shore, Seven Types of Ambiguity, The Slap, and the internationally acclaimed television series Cleverman. Tony’s feature film The Sapphires, which he co-wrote for the screen, was adapted from his award-winning theatre production and grossed over $14.4 million at the box office in Australia, making it the most successful Australian film of 2012. The film received a standing ovation at its world premiere at the 65th Cannes Film Festival and was released in the U.S.

In 2013, Tony was awarded the Bob Maza Fellowship to attend an intensive directing course in New York and received development funding from Film Victoria for his documentary William Cooper. Tony co-created and wrote on the 8-part tv series, The Warriors with acclaimed director/producer Robert Connelly, which aired on ABC Television in 2017. Tony was also Executive Producer for the show while completing a Directors Attachment on the series. Prior to The Warriors Tony completed an extensive directors’ attachment on the acclaimed television series Jack Irish. Tony is currently writing and developing a slate of film and television projects which have been supported by the ABC, Film Victoria, NITV and Screen Australia. Back on stage in 2017, Tony appeared in Black Is The New White for the Sydney Theatre Company and in 2018 he will be associate director for Astroman for the Melbourne Theatre Company.


Mark Howett is an award-winning director and designer for theatre and film. Originally from Australia, Mark now works on international projects with international collaborators. As a LX Designer, Mark has designed the lighting for many productions that have toured extensively in Australia and overseas. Cloudstreet, which Howett won the Robert Helpmann Award for Lighting Design 2002, toured to New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, National Theatre London and The Kennedy Centre Washington, Zurich, and nationally in Australia.

Over the years Mark has made many collaborative pieces with traditional people from all over his country. In 2003 Mark designed the lighting for the international tour of Crying Baby for Stalker Theatre Company, working with the traditional people of Arnhem Land. Howett designed the lighting for Australian Ballet and Bangarra’s production of Rites, which was simulcast nationally on the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and toured to New York’s City Centre in 1999, also playing later at the Paris Opera House.

(Bass/Guitarist on The Sapphires)

Nathaniel Andrew is a Yorta Yorta, Tattyara and South Sea Islander man, recognised internationally as a bassist, guitarist, vocalist and music teacher. He holds a Bachelor of Jazz Studies (Distinction) from the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music (2007) and Masters Of Music at the Cincinnati College Conservatorium of Music (2010) and is currently the Head of Music at QLD’s Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts (ACPA).

Nathaniel has demonstrated ensemble conducting and arranging skills including conducting the CCM Jazz Ensemble (2009 – 2010) and the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts/Queensland Performing Arts Centre collaboration Blak Electric (2014), Knock Knock (2015), Flight (2016), Melodies from Heaven (2016 & 2017) and Queensland Music Festival’s You’re The Voice event with Isaiah Firebrace. He has an international reputation as a bass guitarist and guitarist and has performed extensively in different groups, and as a soloist in the United States, New Zealand and Australia,  as a vocalist, guitarist, bassist, musical director and conductor leading Jazz, Funk, Country, Blues, Rock and contemporary music ensembles and has worked with many distinguished musicians and soloists in these contexts including the Sydney Opera House, Madison Theatre (Covington KY), and Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati OH).

Nathaniel has extensive experience as a session musician specialising on guitar, bass guitar and vocals and has been appointed sound engineer on many corporate and public events. He has an extensive knowledge of recording programs Logic Pro, Pro tools and Digital Performer as well as music notation software Sibelius, Finale and I Real Pro. Nathaniel will lead The Sapphires band of three.



Download the curriculum links here: The Sapphires Curriculum Links

Download Riverside’s risk assessment here: Riverside’s Risk Assessment Details

Download a generic sample risk assessment here: Generic Sample Risk Assessment


Download information about access at Riverside here: Access at Riverside

Gail – Ngaire Pigram
Julie – Lorinda May Merrypor
Cynthia – Mindy Kwanten
Kay – Matilda Brown
Dave – Mike Smith
Jimmy – Calen Tassone
Joe – Anthony Lim
Robby – Marcus Johnson

Associate MD / Guitar Player – Mitchell Kwanten
Drummer – Jack Hickey
Bass Player – Joel Macintyre

Writer & Director – Tony Briggs
Musical Director – Nathaniel Andrew
Set & Lighting Designer – Mark Howett
Choreographer – Leonard Mickelo
Costume Stylist – Sophie Woodward

Available Dates

September 2019
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Show dates


2 hours 20 minutes (Including 20 minute interval)

Ticket Sellers

  • Riverside Theatres
  • Playwave for people 15 – 20 years old – more info

Terms and Conditions

Getting Here

Riverside Membership

30 Club

Dining at Novotel

Local Dining

Explore more Riverside shows

Hello, Dolly! (1969)

One of Barbra Streisand's most beloved performances is that of the indomitable Dolly Levi in this hugely popular Academy Award nominated musical!

Over the Fence
Comedy Film Festival

Join us to laugh through a roller coaster ride of 14 short hilarious films portraying the imperfect world of human beings.

My Big Gay Italian Wedding
(Puoi Baciare Lo Sposo)

Alessandro Genovesi's lively comedy tackles social issues in a unique and unforgettable setting, and explores the obstacles that come with breaking traditions and gaining acceptance.