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Stray Dogs
Theatre Company

Producing live theatre
in Newcastle, NSW

home of playwright
Carl Caulfield

Carl Large-5290 copy 2_edited_edited.png

Stray Dogs Theatre Company

8 members of Stray dogs smiling for the photo

Stray Dogs Theatre Company is a small, profit-share theatre company. It was formed in Newcastle in 1995 by playwright Carl Caulfield and director Felicity Biggins.


Its inaugural production in 1996 was of Caulfield's Angel of Mercy, a play about the making of an Australian random mass murderer, based on the Hoddle Street and Australia Post massacres in the 1980s. Rehearsals had just started when Martin Bryant went on his shooting rampage at Port Arthur and the company found its opening show was rather more relevant than it had expected.


Stray Dogs has produced original work in a number of Newcastle venues, including the Mission Theatre, the Community Arts Centre’s Black Box Theatre, the Civic Theatre and the Playhouse.


Stray Dogs Theatre Company's original mission statement:  “Lean, mean and hungry, looking for somewhere to leave its mark” still resonates today, though 28 years on, it's less of the lean! But Stray Dogs remains keen to provide local audiences with stimulating and entertaining theatre and dedicated to working with other local theatre makers to achieve that goal.

Carl Caulfield

Carl Caufield sits with arms folded surrounded by books, papers and boxes

Carl Caulfield works as a professional playwright, director, dramaturg and teacher.


He has had 28 full stage productions of his plays, including Being SellersSeems Like Old Times, Dante’s Dream, Human Resources, Shakespeare’s Fools, The Anatomy of Buzz, Where Late the Songbird and Hecuba Reimagined (published in the Journal of Adaptation in Film & Performance, Volume 12, Numbers 1-2, 1 June 2019, Intellect Press).


He has won five City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA) for Best New Play: Indecent Obsessions (2002), Human Resources (2006), Shakespeare’s Fools (2010), Dali: Hallucinogenic Toreador (2020) and The Fine Art of Deception (2022). 


His play for young people, The Mystery Of Roger Mullaney, was published by Macmillan in 2004 for use in the drama curriculum in secondary schools.


Carl's one-man show about British Goon, Peter Sellers, Being Sellers, was first produced by Stray Dogs in 1998 at the Playhouse in Newcastle with Jonathan Biggins directing. It was performed the same year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and then in London at the Man in the Moon Theatre, Kings Road, London. Being Sellers was later reprised at the Waterloo East Theatre in London with David Boyle as Sellers and then went on to the 59E59 Theatre in New York. In 2020, mid pandemic, Stray Dogs reprised Being Sellers to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of Peter Sellers to appreciative masked audiences. 


Carl has a Doctorate of Creative Arts from the University of Technology Sydney and after teaching Drama at the University of NSW as a sessional academic he became a full-time Lecturer in Drama at the University of Newcastle where he both taught and wrote plays for students to perform. Carl has taught screenwriting at tertiary level including at AFTRS, (the Australian Film, TV and Radio School) and Screen Studies at NIDA (the National Institute of Dramatic Art). Carl has been a guest of Eugene O’Neill Theater Institute Playwright’s Conference (2008) and the Kennedy Center American Theatre College Festival (2009). In 2011, he spent a year in the UK, teaching scriptwriting at Edge Hill University. His screenplay, The German Soldier, reached the quarter-finals of the Blue Cat screenplay competition in New York in 2015. 

Recent plays include Creativity, a black comedy set in academia, which was part of the 2022 Subscription Series at the Civic Playhouse. Also, a stage thriller The Fine Art of Deception had a successful season at Newcastle Theatre Company (2022) and won the CONDA (City of Newcastle Drama Award) for Best New Play 2022.


Photos: Max Mason-Hubers

Felicity Biggins

Felicity Biggins sits with a pleasant smile and hands clasped in front

Felicity Biggins is the other half of Stray Dogs Theatre Company, working as a producer, director, dramaturg and publicist.


She has had a passion for the dramatic arts since joining Young
Peoples Theatre in Newcastle in 1966 at the age of eight. She studied Drama at the University of Newcastle, graduating with a BA (Hons) in 1982 and in 1985 was awarded a Mast
er of Arts (Theatre Studies) from the University of Leeds, where she majored in directing.


Felicity has directed two operettas for Opera Hunter, die Fledermaus (2000) and La Belle Helene (2001) and numerous productions for Stray Dogs, including Henry IV, Part 1 for the Gloucester Shakespeare Festival in 2008 (later reprised at The Playhouse) and Caulfield’s Seems Like Old Times, (2005), Human Resources, (2006), Dante’s Dream (2007), The Anatomy of Buzz, (2014), and Where Late the Songbird (2015).


She has appeared in numerous plays and musicals including Annie (1999) and Les Miserables (2000), Civic Theatre Newcastle (CTN); Honk! (2011) and Seussical the Musical (2012), Young Peoples Theatre; Oklahoma (2002) and The Music Man (2005), Opera Hunter; Jesus Christ Superstar (2015), The National Theatre Company; and Endgame (2020), The Very Popular Theatre Company.


As well as producing all their plays, Felicity Biggins enjoys stage managing Stray Dogs shows, most recently Creativity.

2022 Production



by Carl Caulfield

Premiered at the Playhouse in July.

A recent purge of academics and courses at a Conservatorium of Music at an Australian university has left the remaining staff and their students demoralised, their only life raft the joy they find in making music. Dr Richard Fenchurch lecturer, conductor and Mozart scholar, reluctantly agrees to lead the Conservatorium through the maelstrom, following the mysterious departure of the Head of Music. Fenchurch finds himself caught between the smooth-talking PVC Professor Graham Gombold with his promises of musical manna, and his mutinous colleagues, led by Dr Lucy Golding, who are firmly against any further cuts or changes to the curriculum.

Poster: Ari Chand.


Newcastle Herald: Carl Caulfield: plays keep pouring out of master storyteller

"His imagination and how it finds its way into his plays is really quite unique.  "And the professional respect that he extends to his actors is something that I have always appreciated. For Carl it is the play itself that is the most important thing and its subject is always something that he is passionate about."

- Actor Tim Blundell.


"Measuring the contribution that Carl Caulfield has made to Newcastle theatre is a challenge that could inspire its own piece of performance art. If it did, it might evolve into a kind of metafictional farce, where the best sources for the Caulfield story are too busy to be interviewed because they are performing in his latest play."

- Journalist Michael Byrne

Newcastle Herald: Carl Caulfield play Creativity at Civic Theatre is a satire on university politics

"My play is trying to deal with not just with issues such as the corporatisation of universities, this kind of utilitarianism that's crept in over many years, but it's also looking at the impact of the digital and this global thing in universities now where it's becoming very much about this interest in the digital... You just hear that they are becoming less interested in the written word."

ArtsHub Review: Creativity


"This satirical survey about the downgraded status of the arts in higher education feels frighteningly real....

An enormous and articulate rage animates this work."

- Helen Hopcroft

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