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The Wheeler Centre’s End of Year Double Bill


The courtroom: the ultimate arena for dramatising issues of justice and morality, and a stage where the most admirable and most despicable elements of human nature are performed in equal measure. And there’s no doubt that the law and entertainment are a perfect mix – our screens just wouldn’t be the same without lawyers battling it out between commercial breaks.

So, tonight, to close our 2012 season, the Wheeler Centre brings you a splendid double bill: two very different events, each presenting the letter of the law in all its glory.

Geoffrey Robertson, QC is one of the most formidable and original legal minds of our age. He’s famous for his quick-witted, rubber-reflexed Geoffrey Robertson’s Hypotheticals, and many landmark cases over the decades, including defending Julian Assange and defining ‘terrorism’.

And before Law and Order spawned a hundred spin offs, there was one perfect little movie. The Oscar-nominated 12 Angry Men has been called the original courtroom drama. Australian film-maker Adam Zwar will direct a live staged reading of this classic, with twelve Australian actors – both men and women.

So whether your taste in legally-themed thoughtfulness tends towards stirring oratory from legal superstars or theatrical playfulness, this double bill has it all. Why not attend both for a big night out?

Geoffrey Robertson

The Oz obscenity trial. Defending Julian Assange and Salman Rushdie. Establishing journalists’ right to protect sources. Defining ‘terrorism’ for the first time. Calling for the Vatican to be treated as a ‘rogue state’ until it stops protecting paedophile priests.

These are just some of the landmarks in the career of renowned human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, QC, one of the most formidable and original legal minds in the world.

‘I started, in a sense, acting for the underdog and using the law as a way of … letting the underdog run free,’ he has said.

Geoffrey writes and broadcasts regularly on international legal issues. He creates Geoffrey Robertson’s Hypotheticals for television and ethics education.

As a UN Appeal judge, he has ruled on the illegality of conscripting child soldiers and the invalidity of amnesties from war crimes.

Mullahs without Mercy, Geoffrey’s new book, argues that international law is the only weapon which can be used to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. In it, he demonstrates, with chilling examples, why Iran cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons triggering a local and possibly global war.

Tickets for this session only have now booked out.

12 Angry People

Adam Zwar directs a reading of the classic American film, presented in a distinctly Australian accent.

Twelve actors will inhabit the roles of twelve unnamed jurors (a cross-section of society) trapped in a sweltering New York courtroom, as they debate the innocence of a slum boy accused of killing his father. Their verdict must be unanimous – and if guilty, he will be sentenced to death. Eleven jurors are quick to condemn him, but one holds out, determined to carefully consider the evidence.

This production will be a live staged reading of the film script, with some of Australia’s most experienced actors – both men and women – inhabiting the famous roles.

12 Angry Men, a co-production between screenwriter Reginald Rose and Henry Fonda, was nominated for three Oscars, and has lived on as a perfectly formed tribute to the ideals of the western justice system – a fair trial and the presumption of innocence.

Film guru Roger Ebert calls it ‘as meticulous as an Agatha Christie thriller’ and IMDB has listed it as one of the best films of all time.

Directed by Adam Zwar, and featuring: Nadine Garner, Beth Buchanan, Lachy Hulme, Steve Bastoni, Ash Zukerman, Paul Denny, Patrick Brammall, Joy Mitchell, Kate Jenkinson, Cindy Waddingham, Bert Labonte and Leah Vandenberg.

To book for this session only, click here.

Note: There will be an intermission of one hour between the two sessions.


Leah Vandenburg

Leah graduated from WAAPA in 1993. Her theatre credits include Grace for the Melbourne Theatre Company, Criminology for the Arena Theatre Company, The Country for B Sharp @ Belvoir Street; The Perfumed Garden, The Taming of the Shrew; and for Tamarama Rock Surfers, A Clockwork Orange and Love and Un... Read more

Nadine Garner

One of Australia’s most respected actors, Nadine Garner’s career has spanned film, television and theatre for more than 25 years. Nadine is most recently known for her leading role in the successful Seven Network drama, City Homicide. Her other television credits include The Henderson Kids, G.P.... Read more

Paul Denny

Paul Denny is an actor whose career has spanned over two decades, traversing roles in films, on television and on stage. He was nominated for a 2010 AFI Award for his role as Bob in the successful first series of ABC-TV’s Lowdown. He reprised the role in the recently screened second series of Low... Read more

Beth Buchanan

Over the last 30 years Beth Buchanan has worked extensively as an actor in Television, Film and Theatre. Beth has worked for Playbox (now The Malthouse Theatre), MTC and La Mama theatres in Melbourne. Beth has performed the role of Rita in series I & II of Lowdown other TV credits include the se... Read more

Geoffrey Robertson

Geoffrey Robertson QC is founder and head of the world’s largest human rights practice, in London. He has prosecuted Hastings Banda, defended Julian Assange and acted for Human Rights Watch in the proceedings against General Pinochet. He served as the first president of the Special Court for Sierr... Read more

Joy Mitchell

Joy’s directing career was a natural progression from a prolific and successful acting career. As a young actor she shared the stage with many national and international celebrities such as Googie Withers, John McCallum, Frank Thring, Reg Livermore, Mary Hardy, Patricia Kennedy and Bryan Brown. Sh... Read more

Patrick Brammall

Patrick Brammall has an extensive list of television credits including Rush, The Librarians, All Saints, East West 101, Canal Road, Home and Away, At Home with Julia, The Alice, Lowdown and the sketch comedy pilot, Some Say Love for UKTV. In 2010, he portrayed Kim Beazley in the Australian telemovie... Read more

Adam Zwar

Adam Zwar is a multi award-winning actor, writer and producer. He is best known for co-creating and starring in the Australian comedy series Lowdown (ABC, BBC4) and Wilfred (SBS), which was formatted in Russia and the US. More recently, Adam created the popular Agony se... Read more

Cindy Waddingham

Cindy Waddingham is an actor who has appeared in television series including Lowdown, Wilfred, Rush and Blue Heelers. She enjoys playing music, tennis, old-fashioned dancing and riding other people’s horses without their permission.

Steve Bastoni

One of Australia’s most accomplished actors, Steve’ string of film and television credits include the Golden Globe nominated On The Beach. He became a household name as ‘Angel’ in Police Rescue and has starred in numerous TV productions including The Magistrate, South Pacific, the awar... Read more

Ashley Zukerman

Ashley Zukerman graduated from the VCA in 2006. He is best known as Snr. Cnst. Michael Sandrelli in Rush which earned him a Logie nomination for Most Outstanding New Talent. He has also appeared in HBO’s miniseries The Pacific, ABC’s Lowdown and The Slap, Fox Network’s Terra Nova and independe... Read more

Kate Jenkinson

Kate graduated from WAAPA in 2004 winning the Nigel Rideout Award. In 2005 Kate was nominated for the Best Newcomer Award for her role as Julia in Zastrozzi for Black Swan Theatre Company. She has appeared on Thank God You’re Here, Canal Road, Forgotten Cities, Newstopia, Bogan Pride, Rush, Satisf... Read more


Athenaeum Theatre

188 Collins Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.