From the Fringe to Illuminate to its festivals, Adelaide continues to be a major arts hub.
Part of this is the thriving South Australian theatre scene. From jazzy musicals to takes on a Dickens classic, here – in chronological order – are our picks of the best theatre shows gracing Adelaide stages in 2024.

The Woman in Black

Susan Hill’s 1983 gothic horror novel is no stranger to adaptations. The Woman in Black has been translated for the screen twice (including in a 2012 film starring a post-Potter Daniel Radcliffe) and interpreted for the stage by playwright Stephen Mallatratt. Mallatratt’s spooky adaptation went on to become the second-longest-running West End play in history after The Mousetrap. The story opens with solicitor Arthur Kipps sharing ghost stories about the spectre that haunts the eerie, secluded Eel Marsh House. The production stars Australian industry veterans John Waters (Rush, Offspring, Rake) and Daniel MacPherson (Neighbours, The Bill, Godspell). Waters reprises his role as Arthur Kipps, who he last brought to life in 2006.

The Woman in Black runs until May 26 at Dunstan Playhouse. Tickets are available online.

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The Questions

The Questions is a rom-com musical by Australian writer and social commentator Van Badham, inspired by her own experiences during Covid lockdowns. The play explores what happens when a “shelter in place” order forces opposites together. Watch as a doomed blind date descends into bickering over hot-button issues, with an accompanying genre-blending soundtrack. Can a psychological questionnaire bring the ideological opposites together and create a romantic bond?

The Questions runs July 26 to August 17 at the Space Theatre. Tickets are available online.

Chicago

Chicago has it all. Murder! Scandal! Jazz hands! The original production holds the record for longest-running musical on Broadway, and scored six Tony Awards and a Grammy. This revival production is touring across Australia. With the signature vaudeville-infused story of sexy scandal and dastardly murder, the Australian production is giving new life to the enduring magic created by Broadway legends John Kander, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse.

Chicago runs August 4–31 at the Festival Theatre. Tickets are available online.

Fourteen

The year is 1999 in Yeppoon, Queensland. Shannon is in year 9 at a Catholic school, trying to navigate the challenge of growing up and coming out. Based on the best-selling memoir by journalist Shannon Molloy, this theatre adaptation has won over audiences around the country with a moving and delicate take on the classic coming-of-age tale. Adapted by Australian theatre company Shake & Stir’s Nelle Lee and Nick Skubij in close collaboration with Molloy, the 90-minute play captures Shannon’s experiences in overcoming homophobia with a whole lot of heart and a colourful tinge of ’90s nostalgia.

Fourteen runs August 7 to 10 at the Dunstan Playhouse. Tickets are available online.

The Puzzle

The work of David Williamson, one of Australia’s most influential and celebrated playwrights, is known for its incisive commentary on sociopolitical issues. This dark comedy follows a bored married couple’s adventures with polyamory on a cruise, and a more reserved family’s shocking experience with a supposed art tour. The Puzzle is a raunchy exploration of family and desire.

The Puzzle runs September 20 to October 12 at the Dunstan Playhouse. Tickets are available online.

Grease

The leather jackets are on and the engines are roaring – time to escape the Perth winter with Danny and Sandy’s tales of summer loving. Young Australian stars Joseph Spanti (Danny) and Annelise Hall (Sandy) bring the lovestruck highschoolers to life in the local production of this iconic musical. The romp through ’50s culture and American high school life features some of the most memorable songs in musical theatre history: Summer Nights, Hopelessly Devoted to You and, of course, Greased Lightnin’.

Grease runs September 28 to October 13 at Her Majesty's Theatre. Tickets are available online.

Jack Maggs

Celebrated Australian author Peter Carey originally reworked Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations into his 1997 novel, Jack Maggs. Twenty-seven years on, South Australian playwright Samuel Adamson is bringing the story to the stage. Following Jack Maggs’s (based on Magwitch in the Dickens original) quest for his lost son, the play will pull you into Carey’s world of secrets and alliances. The fusion of Australian literary talent with Dickens’s narrative magic offers a refreshing new perspective on one of literature’s most celebrated stories.

Jack Maggs runs November 15 to 30 at the Dunstan Playhouse. Tickets are available online.

Additional reporting by Lucy Bell Bird.