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WHAT COUNTRY FRIENDS IS THIS ?

International Tour 2018/2019. What country friends is this? is a new theatre piece devised by the 2019-ensemble and Joachim Matschoss with music by young composer Tom Pitts. What country friends is this? sees Viola (Twelfth Night’s heroine) to land in Illyria which looks part forest of Arden, part contemporary city. Viola disguises herself to explore this strange place and tries to find employment and bumps into Juliet (who has just met Romeo at that infamous party). Love hits and a confused Cesario (Viola) runs away, meeting other Shakespearian heroines along the way. The theatre piece deals with identity, relationships, love, gender and what it means to be young in today’s times. Above all it explores Shakespeare’s themes in a fun way. Soliloquies become songs and the audience will not escape the magic of love. It is presented by BYTE (BackYardTheatreEnsemble), an independent company that produces theatre dedicated to devised issue-based work nationally and internationally for many years. What country friends is this? will be shown on a bare stage with an ensemble of four actors/singers. They share their thoughts and their innermost feelings with the audience. This is a piece of theatre that includes original songs. It part comic, moving and thought-provoking. What country friends is this? will premiere in Melbourne/Australia in 2018, before touring in late February to April 2019 to HongKong, China, Thailand, Singapore, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, France, Switzerland, the USA, Ireland, the Philippines and the Netherlands. The show features: Casey Bohan, Anna Lyons, Megan Mitchell and Olivia Smith. https://youtu.be/OofLeNUJ888

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This new play tells the story of a family living on either side of the iron curtain, spanning three decades it is set between 1978 and 2011. It features live music by Andrew Watson and a cast comprising of Adam May, Rebekah Hill, Georgia Eyers, Matthew Bertram and Kate Bailey. The Salon at the Abbotsford Convent will provide a beautiful surrounding for this moving story. Joachim Matschoss’s latest play, By the End of the Year” is about longing, the longing for a lost brother, killed by the Communists while attempting to escape East Berlin, the longing for a wife who left him for another man, and the pervasive longing for home and family. It is also a play about entrapment. Matschoss’s protagonist, Vitus is trapped by the cruel consequences of history’s judgement, a victim of the time and place that holds him within his spiked walls in Riga. His wife, Lydia, and daughter Anne attempt to escape from the entrapment, only to discover the real meaning of home and family. Only Vitus’s younger daughter, Rosa, is content, bound by loyalty and love. Vitus is trapped by the dark secret of a fateful past and an enforced present. Matschoss’s play is a family tragedy, enveloped in the inevitability of historical events and human longing. It is told with a directness and compassion that, spanning the years and passing back and forth, casts his characters in the drama of their circumstance and motive. His dialogue is simple and economical, disguising a complex subtext of each character’s longing. The occasional monologues paint the canvas of his drama with the poetic shades of hopes and dreams and desires. Their eloquence is moving and powerful. By The End of the Year reveals the talent of a playwright, who identifies with his plot and demonstrates a subtle, yet revealing empathy for his characters. It is a play that will resonate with all who bear a sense of loss or long for the fulfilment of their hopes and dreams. Peter Wilkins Canberra Times https://youtu.be/KghzuEtI-54
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ORDINARY AUSTRALIANS is a new political satire. Performed in the beautiful Abbotsford Convent in late 2019.


  • Mansfield Advertiser
    After nearly two years of preparation, BYTE brought its play Romeo, Hamlet, Helena and Juliet, a collage of Shakespeare’s most loved plays to Mansfield. The production was set in the forest of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and told a tale of love, cross dressing and mistaken identity. The performances were great all around and the young actors really owned their parts and told the eternal story Romeo and Juliet for today’s teenagers in a high-energy often very comical way.
    Mansfield Advertiser
  • Theatrepeople
    The audience was blown away by the professionalism, ability, skill and sheer fun they saw when viewing BYTE's production Fake Is Real at the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne. There was a great depth of maturity and understanding of the material by every cast member.
    Theatrepeople
  • Peter Spencer, Stage-whispers
    As I reflected afterwards, Romeo, Hamlet, Helena and Julietis a production which ‘runs away with itself’. It is an emotional journey (with much of it funny and happy) exploring many different themes but with the central theme of love evident throughout.
    Peter Spencer, Stage-whispers
  • Padraig Downey, Rome
    Romeo, Hamlet, Helena and Juliet was bloody brilliant. Strange, but bloody brilliant. The actors were amazing. A million times better of what I’ve seen at schools here. It would have been amazing if they had more than one night in Rome. That would mean that I could go and watch it again!
    Padraig Downey, Rome
  • Madeleine McNeil
    The musical play Shivers was written and directed by Joachim Matschoss and brought to us by BYTE. It told the story of inmates working in commercial convent laundries in the 1950s. The homes housed girls who had been deemed wayward, homeless, deviant, at risk of moral danger or pregnant. The intensity of the performances by the young actors was electrifying. The staging was highly non naturalistic using Bunraku puppetry in a highly effective way.
    Madeleine McNeil
  • Hamburger Abendblatt, translated
    The touring piece of BYTE was depressing and challenging, but also full of hope and a way forward, written by Joachim Matschoss Alone is Bliss dealt with the issues of self-harm and abuse. The performances were outstanding. Matilda Reed played the lead role with a frightening authenticity and terrifying intensity.
    Hamburger Abendblatt, translated
  • Georgia Munnion, Theatre Journal, Lisbon/Portugal
    BYTE performed Louis Nowra’s play Cosi to a sold out house in Carcavelos/Lisbon. The play is set in the 1970s, during the Vietnam War. Inmates of an asylum are trying to perform Mozart’s opera ‘Cosi van Tutte’. The cast had impeccable timing and an amazing contrast between calm, emotional moments and sudden bursts of confusion.
    Georgia Munnion, Theatre Journal, Lisbon/Portugal
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New Tour 2019/2020

The Deep Freeze Option, a play by joachim matschoss, featuring georgia eyers, delta brooks, tatiana kotsimbos and seon williams. Original music by Ross Brooks. This piece will tour to France, germany, UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Singapore and Thailand.

Missing in Me is a new theatre piece devised by the ensemble and Joachim Matschoss with music by Ross Brooks, Matthew Baker and Matthew Ganton.

Missing in Me tells the story of Samira and her sister Tilly who surrounded by wealth and an absence of love. Samira has about to finish her schooling and tries make sense of what is ahead of her. The theatre piece deals with identity, parent-child relationships, love and what it means to be young in today’s times.

It is presented by BYTE (BackYardTheatreEnsemble), an independent company presenting theatre from and for young people. Missing in me is being presented on a bare stage with an ensemble of four actors/singers. They share their thoughts and their innermost feelings with the audience. This is a piece of theatre that includes sound scapes and original songs. It part comic, moving and thought-provoking.

Missing in Me will premiere in Melbourne/Australia, before touring to China, Thailand, Singapore, Germany, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The production features: Holly Bohmer, Annie Lumsden, Emily O’Connor and Tara Vagg.