2021 – The BEST, The FAIREST, The FIRST

The Best, The Fairest, The First

3rd – 6th March 2021
Gasworks Arts Park

THE BEST, THE FAIREST, THE FIRST was a co-production between Gasworks Arts Park and Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. It was presented in the Gasworks Theatre as a celebration for International Women’s Day 2021. The show promotion ran as follows:

Behind every Australian sportswoman, there’s an unsung heroine who blazed the trail.

Causing a fluttering of hearts with their risqué bathing costumes in 1912, winning the hearts of cricket fans across the nation in 1958, and getting to the heart of what it means to be an Australian Sportswoman in 2021 – Olympic dreams dashed, but who’s doing the school drop-off today? – the women featured in The Best, The Fairest, The First will surprise and delight you. From Fanny Durack and Mina Wylie, the first women to compete in an Olympic swimming event, to cricketer Faith Thomas Coulthard OAM, the first indigenous woman to represent Australia in an international sport, The Best, The Fairest, The First turns back the pages of Australian history to uncover some remarkable sporting Firsts – unsung heroines who, against the odds, blazed a trail for the stars of today. In this collection of short plays, champion marathon runner Sinead Diver is also celebrated, together with unstoppable local athlete Monica Wong – and a Paralympic gold medallist whose achievements are nothing short of extraordinary.

Created for International Women’s Day 2021, The Best, The Fairest, The First follows on from the one-night show The Best and Fairest, which was presented at Gasworks for IWD 2020.


This 75-minute celebration of unsung Australian sporting heroines was inspired by trailblazing sportswoman JESSICA GALLAGHER, the first and only Australian athlete (Olympic or Paralympic) to win both Summer and Winter Paralympic medals – together with every other trailblazing sportswoman we know, and those we have never heard of.


Nuj B    Calisthenics Soloist
Cosima Gilbert
Emma Cox
Rebecca Quin
Alec Gilbert
Annie Morris
Marli van der Bijl
Isabella Gilbert
Cindy Leigh
Monica Wong


Writers    Adele Shelley, Clare Mendes and Mazz Ryan
Director & Designer    Elizabeth Walley
Assistant Director   Mazz Ryan
Stage Manager    Barbara Toohey
Producer    Clare Mendes


Read the Cast and Crew biographies in the SHOW PROGRAM:

Director, Assistant Director, Producer, Acknowledgements.

Writers, Actors & Stage Manager





And theatre can inspire change!

Didn’t make it to the show? Watch some selected scenes …

Opening performance by Nuj B
Scenes from ‘Swimming Champions’ by Adele Shelley
Scenes from ‘The Way, That Way, My Way’ by Mazz Ryan
Scenes from ‘The Shoemaker’s Daughter’ by Clare Mendes
Scenes from ‘Live your Dreams’ by Monica Wong