Cover Nicole Garbellini

Born and trained in Italy, theatre performer and producer Garbellini founded Aurora Theatre in Hong Kong in 2010, a local theatre company that brings international and original material to the stage

What are the five all-time must-see plays?

1. The Lehman Trilogy by Stefano Massini

The unbelievable journey of a family that built its empire from scratch. Their tenacity and audacity was incredibly inspirational. I was blown away by the performance, script and how inspirational this story was. Massini is becoming better known now after his work was translated and staged by Sam Mendes.

2. Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge

A true manifesto of millennial women’s relationships in the modern era.

3. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

A classic that never goes out of fashion. Even 300 years ago during the witch hunts in America, men were signing off the lives of women. Little has changed today.

4. Oleanna by David Mamet

The precursor to the #MeToo movement, this play has become more relevant than ever. David Mamet remains my favourite playwright of all time.

5. The Play that Goes Wrong by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields

A huge laugh, especially for those involved in theatre onstage and backstage. I love farces and this one is the epitome of all farces.

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What about the classics?

Aristophanes holds a special place in my heart, from Lysistrata to The Poet and the Women. It’s amazing how plays that are over 2,000 years old can be still so relevant: they show how very little mankind has changed. A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night are my favourite Shakespeare comedies. I always enjoy them, no matter how many times I watch them.

If you’ve never been to the theatre, where is a good place to start?

It depends on what kind of experience one wants to explore first. Comedy? Drama? Something that makes one think about an issue in particular? It’s a very subjective thing. I would recommend people head to the theatre and follow their taste as well as instinct. Watch whatever title attracts you.

How can people get more involved in theatre in Hong Kong?

Learning about theatre in Hong Kong is never easy. There are a lot of independent companies out there with no government support, and getting exposure is always challenging. The best way to follow local theatre companies and their programming is to sign up for updates in places at the Fringe Club or the Hive (more local theatre groups are using the co-working space now). I would also recommend discovering what’s on Facebook and Instagram—that’s how indie theatre companies spread the word.

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