Short and Sweet (festival)

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Short+Sweet logo.jpg
Genre Theatre festival
Frequency Yearly per each festival.
Location(s) Australia, Asia, Middle East, USA
Years active 2002 - present
Inaugurated 2002, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Short+Sweet (originally known as Short & Sweet) is a multi-form arts platform presenting festivals in theatre, dance, music-theatre, comedy and cabaret across Australia and Asia. The one common thread between all festivals is that all works presented - be it theatre, dance, music-theatre or cabaret - must be ten-minutes or less. Short+Sweet's vision statement is: a more creative world ten minutes at a time. Their flagship festival is Short+Sweet Theatre Sydney, the largest ten-minute play festival in the world.


Short+Sweet Theatre was founded at the Newtown Theatre (now King Street Theatre) in Sydney, Australia in January 2002 by Mark Cleary, beginning with the first ever Short+Sweet Theatre festival.

In January 2004, Alex Broun took over as Artistic Coordinator of Short+Sweet Theatre Sydney. Many new elements were introduced to Short+Sweet during this time, such as a strict time-limit, limit of one play per playwright, one play per director and two plays per actor, people's choice voting and the competitive aspect of the festival where plays are chosen from each week to progress to the Gala Final.

Short+Sweet Theatre Sydney is now the largest ten-minute theatre festival in the world, with around 180 new plays being produced every season. Festivals are currently held in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Canberra, Hobart, Rockhampton and Townsville in Australia, as well as in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Dubai and New Zealand with plans to expand to China, UK and USA. Short+Sweet Theatre currently receives around 1500 script entries from writers across the world annually.

Short+Sweet Dance premiered at the Newtown Theatre in Sydney in 2007 for one week. In 2009 the Sydney season expanded to three weeks and the first ever Short+Sweet Dance Melbourne was held at Chapel Off Chapel under the direction of Alister Smith in June, 2009.

Short+Sweet Song, which comprises ten-minute musical theatre works, began in 2007 at the Seymour Centre and the third Short+Sweet Song was held in October 2009 at the Pilgrom Theatre in Sydney in association with the Australian Institute of Music. The 2009 Festival was led by Festival Director Andrew Threlfall and Musical Director Bev Kennedy.

Short+Sweet Cabaret merges theatre and music.

Short+Sweet Voices debuted in Sydney in 2015 at The Concourse. A minimum of 4 people perform in a choir.

Short+Sweet Bollywood debuted in Sydney in 2015 at The Factory Theatre. It stages Indian dance, which many Indian Short+Sweet festivals such as in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad already incorporate into their programs.

Short+Sweet Comedy features stand-up comedy acts.

Short+Sweet Magic features short magical acts.


Short+Sweet began in Sydney in January 2002, with the first ever Short+Sweet Theatre, at a single venue, the Newtown Theatre, and has steadily gained in popularity and size, now encompassing multiple venues such as Sidetrack Theatre and the Seymour Centre.

Short+Sweet Theatre Melbourne began in December, 2005 at the Arts Centre. It began at the Black Box theatre, moving to the Fairfax Studio in 2006. In 2009, it re-located to Chapel Off Chapel in Prahan, which also hosted the first ever Short+Sweet Dance Melbourne.

The Singapore Festival premiered in June 2007 at Lasalle College of the Arts and the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay. It featured plays in Mandarin as well as English.

Short+Sweet Theatre in Australia is currently coordinated in Sydney by playwright Pete Malicki (also the organisation's International Literary Manager), in Brisbane and Townsville by Sean Dennehy and in Canberra by director Kate Gaul.

Founder Mark Cleary is the Creative Director for Short+Sweet International.


A number of other projects have been created under the banner of Short+Sweet:

  • Shorter+Sweeter is a touring showcase of the best plays from Short+Sweet Theatre. In 2010 the third tour of Shorter+Sweeter toured Australia for five months through support of the Australian Government via Playing Australia, featuring the actors Josephine Clark, Roanna Dempsey, Nicholas Gunn, Sonya Kerr, Charlie Mycroft & Carl J. Sorheim.
  • Fast+Fresh is a 10-minute theatre competition for participants under the age of 18. It premiered in Sydney in 2005 under the guidance of Neil Gooding and has also been run in Melbourne.
  • Crash Test Drama has an affiliation with Short+Sweet, pioneered by Harry Paternoster and Bearing Your Arts in Melbourne. On the nights of the performances, actors audition and the writers and directors cast their plays. They are rehearsed for an hour or so and then are performed to the public as a moved reading (script in hand). Many winning plays of each season are invited to Short+Sweet. It is currently held in Sydney, Cronulla, Melbourne, Canberra, Bundanoon and Townsville.


Many notable playwrights, directors, actors and independent theatre companies have participated in Short+Sweet.


Independent Theatre Companies[edit]



  • [1] Australian Stage Online
  • [2] Sydney Morning Herald - Photo Gallery
  • [3] Sydney Morning Herald - Review
  • [4] Dancetrain
  • [5] Brisbane Powerhouse
  • [6] The Hindu

External links[edit]

  • [7] Short+Sweet