Next to NormalNext to Normal

Season 8-23 July 2016
Venue ANU Arts Centre


Diana Janelle McMenamin
Dan Grant Pegg
Natalie Kaitlin Nihill
Gabe Will Huang
Henry Daniel Steer
Doctor Fine/Doctor Madden Joel Hutchings


Conductor/Keyboard Rhys Madigan
Guitar Sean Ladlow
Percussion Jen Hinton
Bass Thomas McDevitt
Violin Helena Popovic
Cello Amy Jarvoll


Director Kelda McManus
Musical director Rhys Madigan
Choreographer Annette Sharpe
Production Manager Nathan Patrech
Stage Manager Nikki Fitzgerald
Set design and construction Steve Galinec and Anita Davenport
Costume Design Jennie Norberry
Costume assistance Suzan Cooper, Anita Davenport, Fiona Leach, Lucy Jones, Tanya Taylor
Props Jessica Kirsopp
Staging and technical assistance Eclipse Lighting and Sound
Lighting design Liam Ashton
Lighting operation Cody Denham, Nick Cossart
Sound operation Berin Denham, Murray Wenham, Nathan Patrech
Crew Grace Jasinski, Lara Niven
Vocal coach/Repetiteur Dave Collins
Photography Michael Moore, Captured Moments
Program design 2B Design

About Next to Normal

Next to Normal is a contemporary family drama, about a woman’s struggle with mental illness, and the effects of her illness on her family.

At the opening of the show, Diana seems to have an ideal life – she is educated, well-off, and happily married with two teenage children. But it soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems.

Diana has bipolar disorder, plagued with anxieties, mood swings and delusions that trace back to a family tragedy 16 years earlier and are growing worse with time. During the course of the show, Diana attends a series of doctors appointments and treatments, in response to and sometimes triggering the ups and downs of her illness.

Under the care of her primary doctor, Dr. Madden, Diana takes medication, talks through her issues and problems, and undergoes the more controversial option of electroconvulsive therapy.

Meanwhile, her husband Dan confronts his own confusion and depression; daughter Natalie deals with isolation and a budding romance with a fellow music student, Henry; and son Gabe serves as Diana’s confidante and link to a happier past.

Though the family strives to establish some sort of normality, and each character seeks his or her own peace and happiness, the ties that bind slowly and inexorably unravel around them.

For a full synopsis of the show refer to Wikipedia


Phoenix Players is proud to announce our partnership with the MI Fellowship, StandBy Response Service and QLife for the production of Next to Normal.

Next to NormalMI Fellowship

MI Fellowship and Phoenix Players aim to encourage conversations about personal experiences of mental illness and the support that is available for those in need.

MI Fellowship has just launched a new Helpline in the ACT for people with mental health issues, their families, carers and friends, professionals, students and the general public. The Helpline is a free and confidential service providing mental health information, support and referral advice. All volunteers are ‘peers’, people who have a lived experience of mental health issues.

To contact the MI Fellowship:

Next to NormalStandBy Response Service

The StandBy Response Service is a suicide postvention service that offers free support to people who have lost a loved one to suicide. StandBy and Phoenix Players are keen to encourage conversations in the community about mental health and suicide, and the support that is available for those in need.

The kinds of help StandBy offer includes:

To contact StandBy:
Call: 0421 725 180

Next to NormalQLife

QLife is Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex (LGBTI).

QLife provides nation-wide, early intervention, peer supported telephone and web based services to people of all ages across the full breadth of people’s bodies, genders, relationships, sexualities, and lived experiences.

To contact QLife:
Call: 1800 184 527 Email:


Canberra Labor Club

Phoenix Players would like to acknowledge the support of our sponsors Eclipse Lighting and Sound, Canberra Labor Club, Teatro Vivaldi and 2B Design

Follow the Canberra Labor Club group on: