Hands pull back a red curtain to reveal a stage light
Off Stage pulls back the curtain on the untold stories of Australian theatre, dance, music and film.

Stream episode one of Off Stage – the first season of the National Library’s new podcast, Bookmark This – now! Available on the NLA channel, Apple Podcasts and Spotify apps, or wherever you get your podcasts.  

Off Stage is a new podcast season, produced by the National Library of Australia, exploring the vibrant characters, milestone moments and cultural treasures featured in the exhibition On Stage: Spotlight on Our Performing Arts.  

Hosted by award-winning journalist, author, radio broadcaster and playwright Melanie Tait, Off Stage delves into the untold stories of Australian theatre, dance, music and film.  

Through conversations with curators, authors and academics, uncover what happens when theatre is criminal; how dessert fits in; where a midlife crisis led one creative, and more! 

Podcast schedule

Episode 1 – When Theatre is Criminal – Available now 

In 1796, the theatre was the place to be. In the growing colony of Sydney, people packed in to see ex-convicts perform the latest popular plays. The On Stage exhibition features an exquisite treasure from this time: a playbill once belonging to the Lieutenant-Governor of NSW, Philip Gidley King. 

In episode one of Off Stage, host Melanie Tait takes you inside the theatre to meet the characters involved in the production of Jane Shore. Joining this conversation are guests David Marr, journalist, and Gillian Russell, Professor of Eighteenth-Century Literature and author of The Playbill and its People.

Coming soon 

  • Episode 2 – Just Desserts: (Anna) Pavlova comes to Australia – available to listen 28 July 
  • Episode 3 – Rose Quong’s Midlife Crisis – available to listen 11 August 
  • Episode 4 – The Boy from Mount Gambier – available to listen 25 August 

*Note: Additional episodes will be added to the schedule and released throughout September and October 2022. 

Listen to Off Stage now on the NLA channel, Apple Podcasts and Spotify apps, or wherever you get your podcasts.    

On Stage: Spotlight on Our Performing Arts will run until Sunday 7 August 2022, only at the National Library in Canberra. Entry is free and no bookings required.  

Information for media

Available for interviews about Bookmark This and Off Stage:  

Melanie Tait – Off Stage podcast host 

Stuart Baines – Acting Director of Community Engagement at the National Library of Australia 

Images are available for media use and can be downloaded here.


Georgia McDonald, Media Liaison, National Library of Australia 

T: 0401 226 697

E: media@nla.gov.au