Tequila Mockingbird
created by shake & stir theatre co

The creative powerhouse behind the smash-hit, critically-acclaimed productions Animal Farm, 1984, Wuthering Heights and Dracula return with a new Australian play.

Directed by Michael Futcher and featuring a cast of some of Queensland’s finest actors, Tequila Mockingbird visits themes of racial prejudice, the perversion of justice and the consequences of alcohol abuse, all in a uniquely Australian context.

After a woman is attacked in a remote Australian town, the racist underbelly rears its head as the community targets a young Indian Doctor who has recently relocated to the area. Only one local man possesses the strength to uncover the truth and defend the accused in the ultimate fight for what’s right but first, he must take care of other matters, a little closer to home.

Nominated for 6 2014 Matilda Awards and winning Best Mainstage Production – don’t miss this bold, brave new work examining a darker side of Australian culture lurking just below the surface.

Outstanding Production – The Australian

Featuring Ross Balbuziente, Shannon Haegler, Nelle Lee, Barbara Lowing, Bryan ProbetsNick Skubij 

Writer Nelle Lee
Director Michael Futcher
Designer Josh McIntosh
Lighting Designer Jason Glenwright
Sound Designer Guy Webster

QLD TOUR | 2016

Click on the venue to book tickets or for more info.

Brisbane | Cremorne Theatre QPAC 5 – 15 October 

Ipswich | Civic Centre 18 October

Toowoomba| Empire Theatre 19 October

Sunshine Coast | Lake Kawana Community Centre 20 October

Yeppoon | St Brendan’s College Performing Arts Centre 22 October

Maryborough | Brolga Theatre 26 October

Mackay | Entertainment & Convention Centre  29 October

Cairns | Centre of Contemporary Arts  31 October – 1 November


Suitability: Grade 10 – 12 audience.

This production contains frequent, medium coarse language, simulated violence, adult themes and alcoholic references.

Duration: 90 mins + 10 min Q&A with cast

Curriculum Connections:

  • Contemporary Australian Theatre
  • Heightened Realism
  • Ensemble Theatre
  • Convergent Forms
  • Gender Representations
  • Racial Studies


  • Racism/Discrimination
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Power/Corruption
  • Guilt/Innocence
  • Injustice/Prejudice
  • Law & Politics
  • Gender Roles
  • Ethics
  • Courage

Subject Connections:


Possible Assessment
Expository: analytical exposition based on prevalent themes; critical review for a magazine/newspaper; panel discussion regarding characters’ guilt/innocence.

Persuasive: lawyer’s closing statement; argumentative essay; persuasive speech; discursive forum.

Reflective: personal narrative based on a theme presented on stage; writing in role; character testimonial, memoir.

Imaginative: thematic poetry; monologue; dramatic recreation of a chapter/theme/issue.


For drama students this play offers many possibilities: showing students how a text can be transformed for the stage; performance styles such as elements of Realism & Ensemble Theatre; set design; use of integrated A/V, lighting and sound design; use of space; manipulation of the elements of performance/drama.

Possible Assessment
Forming: Scriptwriting stimulus; directing styles; character development for improvisation; adaptation of text for performance.

Presenting: Scripted polished performance; student devised drama using themes from the play as a pre-text.

Responding: Responding to live theatre; critical review for a magazine/newspaper; analytical essay exploring the purpose of adapting text to stage; performance analysis oral.

This production comes with a comprehensive Teachers’ Resource Kit & Dramatic Elements compiled by shake & stir’s Education Manager, Naomi Russell. The kit includes curriculum connections, pre and post show class discussions and activities and extra insight into the production specifically for teachers and students.

Download Teachers’ Resource Kit and Dramatic Elements.


“OUTSTANDING production… has you laughing, gasping, sickened, outraged, uplifted and saddened by turns in a deeply moving night.” The Australian

“Thought provoking, honest and an incredibly powerful piece of theatre. An opening night audience – was silenced to pin drop territory. Stunning. See it.” 612ABC Brisbane

Tequila Mockingbird is the most powerful must-see, must-talk-about theatrical production of the year. Despite their humble claim (“shake & stir is one of Australia’s leading contemporary theatre companies”), this team could surely be viewed now as the creme of the crop, creating new, urgent theatre with a focus on the way their results can be used in an educational setting.” XS Entertainment

“It is going to sell out – the calibre of its acting may be the highlight of this production… It’s simply excellent across the board. Tequila Mockingbird is a finely constructed theatrical event with all the hallmarks of shake & stir’s ‘house’ style. …surely one of the most impressive and successful arts companies currently in operation in Queensland and, indeed, around Australia.” Greenroom

“shake & stir do it again – a fifth consecutive popular hit!” Stage Whispers

“There is nothing to fault in any of the performances, nor in the design, context or text itself.Tequila Mockingbird is indeed, “a new Australian play” in its best form, from our boldest, most confident young company.” XS Entertainment

“All six actors in this ensemble production are stars.” Stage Whispers

“It is a timely, challenging and inspired production that resonates with all ages… all portrayed through outstanding performances.” ArtsHub

“After enjoying the original production – I wondered how a repeat performance would stack up. The answer is simple; it was better; more gripping and powerful. I sat engrossed for the full 90 minutes.” Absolute Theatre

“The casting for Tequila Mockingbird is good—really good. The shake & stir crew have literally hundreds of performances under their collective belts, so it’s a very safe bet that they’ll all give consummate performances, and of course they did. The entire cast had well-drawn characters and were extremely watchable. Given the current political atmosphere in Australia, this is a poignant and insightful play that is well worth seeing.” Aussie Theatre

Tequila Mockingbird is critically-acclaimed for good reason and given the current political atmosphere in Australia, its turbulent, tension-filled story is sadly now more than ever authentic.” Blue Curtains Brisbane: Stories From The Stalls

“An excellent play.” Crikey

“Brilliant, engaging, confronting theatre. This is a superbly acted drama, with a very well crafted script. It is confronting – challenging us, viewed against the background of race riots, and the boat people debate, as to whether we are the people of the “fair go”. The cast catches the humanity and the humour of small-town life brilliantly. ” Weekend Notes

2014 Matilda Award Winner

Best Mainstage Production – Tequila Mockingbird

2014 Matilda Award Winner
Gold Matilda Award – For creating Tequila Mockingbird

2014 Matilda Award Winner
Gold Matilda Award – Barbara Lowing for her performance in Tequila Mockingbird

2014 Matilda Award Winner
Gold Matilda Award – Jason Glenwright for his LX Design on Out Damn Snot, Tequila Mockingbird

2014 Matilda Award Nomination
Best New Australian Work – Tequila Mockingbird

2014 Matilda Award Nomination
Best Male Actor in a Leading Role – Bryan Probets in Tequila Mockingbird

2014 Matilda Award Nomination
Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role – Ross Balbuziente in Tequila Mockingbird

2014 Matilda Award Nomination
Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role – Barbara Lowing in Tequila Mockingbird

2014 Matilda Award Nomination
Best Emerging Artist – Shannon Haegler in Tequila Mockingbird