Send for Nellie
Send for Nellie

1931, Sydney. West-Indian Australian singer Nellie Small puts on a sleek top hat and tails at a little Oxford Street venue, and a legend of Australian vaudeville and cabaret is born.

Send For Nellie recreates in story, song and Nellie’s own words (drawn from the archives) one of the most impressive careers in Australian theatre.

Powerhouse performer Elenoa Rokobaro (Caroline, or Change; Tick, Tick… Boom) steps into the spotlight with a swinging band featuring Wollongong-born drummer Jodie Michael and saxophonist Camilla Bellstedt. Together, they recreate Nellie’s hits, including ‘At Last’, ‘The Sunny Side of The Street’, ‘Darktown Strutters Ball’ and more from the golden era of Jazz.

Written by Helpmann Award-winning playwright and long-time Merrigong Theatre Company collaborator Alana Valentine (Dead Man Brake, Barbara and the Camp Dogs, Letters to Lindy), Send For Nellie celebrates a ground-breaking, non-conformist path.

Alana Valentine said, “Because Send For Nellie is a sparkling cabaret, I could tout the show’s fun, beautiful singing and high entertainment value (all of which it has in abundance). But from my experience with Merrigong audiences, I know they want a show about something meaningful and moving, even profound.

After Dead Man Brake, Letters to Lindy, Head Full of Love, Barbara, and the Camp Dogs, Merrigong patrons know that a Valentine’s show will have comedy as a given. Still, it will also have a deep dive into the vulnerability of the human condition.

Come for the incredible singing of Elenoa Rokobaro and the wildly inventive direction of Liesel Badorrek; leave with your heart lifted in celebration. We will raise an icon of Australian show business – a cross-dressing, gender non-conforming Australian who you will love to meet”.

Watch our Interview with Alana Valentine

Listen to our Podcast with Alana Valentine

Send For Nellie

When: 14 to 17 February 2024
Times: Wed 14 Feb, 7:30 pm; Thu 15 Feb, 6:30 pm; Fri 16 Feb, 7:30 pm; Sat 17 Feb, 1:30 pm & 7:30 pm
Where: Bruce Gordon Theatre – Illawarra Performing Arts Centre
Tickets: Adult $55 | Concession (Pensioner/Senior) $45 | Groups 8+ $45 | Under 30s $45 | Student $45
Accessibility: Sat 17 Feb, 1.30 pm will be Captioned, Audio Described and have a Tactile Tour.
Performance Warnings: Recommended for ages 14+