THE REICHSTAG IS BURNING to be presented digitally as part of the Edinburgh Fringe


Produced at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, The Reichstag Is Burning is the latest solo “tour de force” from Australian theater entrepreneurs Joanne Hartstone and Tom Kitney, and their production company: Hartstone-Kitney Productions (HKP ).

The one-woman show offers a transporting journey to old-world Europe through sensual musical numbers, exceptional technical design and a story that follows the purge of culture that heralded the rise of Nazi Germany. “Audiences will experience a decadent Weimar cabaret night – fusing traditional music of the era and reimagined modern songs in a musical explosion of counterculture,” Hartstone said.

The airing plans for this show and HKP’s entire Australian theatrical season in August Edinburgh Fringe Festival must have changed significantly over the past few days. South Australia has entered a Stage 5 lockdown in recent weeks – a rapid response to a Covid-19 outbreak – causing the entire Black Box Live season to be closed. All public performances were prohibited, as were public songs and dances. Now that the restrictions have partially lifted, Black Box Live is back to bring an incredible digital season to the world.

The Reichstag Is Burning will still be featured as part of this year’s digital offerings at Edinburgh Fringe. The show headlined HKP’s award-winning live broadcast season, Black Box Live, in March 2021, and had 8 live performances after extending the sold-out season three times. Images from one show – filmed in one take in front of a live audience – will be shown in Hollywood according to the # HFF21 #BlackBoxLiveAU season schedule. Joanne Hartstone will present each session live from her home in Kaurna Country, Adelaide, South Australia at 8 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (or 12:30 p.m. in Adelaide, one day in the future).

Joanne Hartstone wrote this new theatrical cabaret after Covid-19 restrictions forced her to use her other qualifications to teach history at a local high school. After teaching a class of 15-year-old students about the Treaty of Versailles, the rise and fall of the Weimar Republic, and the frightening Nazi Party take-over tactics, parallels to modern Western politics drove Hartstone to need to use the Weimar Cabaret genre as a modern socio-political tool.

The show was designed to be viewed both live and digitally, with director and designer Tom Kitney incorporating camera and streaming technology as another design element. Audiences online will see effects that only cameras can capture – fusing a traditional live theatrical design with cutting edge technology to create a new form of performance art.

The Reichstag Is Burning won the Adelaide Critics Circle Award at Adelaide Fringe 2021 and received a series of 5 and 4 star reviews. In the same season, Black Box Live won the John Chataway Award for Innovation. When you see the show, you will understand why. The Reichstag Is Burning is the ultimate night of theater and cabaret, politics and history, in a spectacular feast for the senses.

This project is supported by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet through Arts South Australia and Adelaide Fringe.

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