Holding Achilles

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The other half of the legend.

Set against the epic violence of the Trojan War, Holding Achilles by David Morton is a refreshing take on one of the ancient world’s best-known heroes, and his relationship with Patroclus, his not so well-known lover. As a young exile taken in by Achilles’ father, Patroclus faces hostility from the young hero until they are thrust together to train under the centaur Chiron, and the two form an unlikely friendship. As Achilles doggedly seeks to fulfil his mother’s prophecy to become a legend, their relationship becomes something more. But war with Troy is brewing, and the two young men find themselves caught between their hopes for a future together and the brutal realities of the world that faces them.

This breathtaking new production from visual theatre masterminds Dead Puppet Society and physical theatre virtuosos Legs On The Wall reclaims the queer aspects of The Iliad. Set to a haunting new score composed by Tony Buchen and Chris Bear with Montaigne, and a live performance by Montaigne, this innovative new work blends heightened physicality and visual storytelling with an ensemble cast to weave a legend of mythic proportions. A tale of trials, grief and love - Holding Achilles is an epic tale about a fearless bond forged in the toughest of times.

By David Morton.

Presented by Brisbane Festival, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Glass Half Full Productions, Dead Puppet Society and Legs On The Wall, 29 August - 10 September 2022.

2022 performance dates

Monday 29 August, 7.30pm (Preview)
Tuesday 30 August, 7.30pm (Preview)
Wednesday 31 August. 7.30pm (Preview)
Thursday 1 September, 7.30pm (Preview)
Friday 2 September, 7.30pm
Saturday 3 September 7.30pm
Tuesday 6 September, 6.30pm
Wednesday 7 September, 11am & 6.30pm
Thursday 8 September, 7.30pm
Friday 9 September, 7.30pm
Saturday 10 September, 1pm & 7.30pm

Tickets on sale now. Book here

Download Education Notes here

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government's Major Festivals Initiative, managed by the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals Inc., commissioned by Brisbane Festival, Sydney Festival and Glass Half Full Productions together with Bristol Old Vic and Northampton Royal and Derngate in the UK.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. It is also supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

Director and Co-Creator David Morton

Movement Director and Co-Creator Joshua Thomson

Creative Producer Nicholas Paine

Music by Tony Buchen and Chris Bear with Montaigne

Music performed live by Montaigne

Co-Designers (set) Anna Cordingley and David Morton

Designer (costume) Anna Cordingley

Lighting Design Ben Hughes

Sound Design Tony Brumpton

Rigging Design David Jackson

Puppet Design Dead Puppet Society

Dramaturg Louise Gough

Associate Director Matt Seery

Associate Producers James Beach and Lauren Eisinger

Technical Director Scott Barton

Head Rigger Byron Cleasby

Head of Fabrication Savannah Mojidi

Counterweight Johnas Liu

Production Stage Manager Lindsey Knight

Deputy Stage Manager Nicole Neil

Cast Stephen Madsen, Karl Richmond, Ellen Bailey, John Batchelor, Lauren Jackson, Thomas Larkin, Nic Prior, Christy Tran, Jennifer Vuletic

Education Notes

Click here to download the Education Notes for Holding Achilles, which include a range of activities to be used in the classroom both before and after the show. Inside you’ll find lots of practical and written activities that you can use and adapt for your students.

Estimated running time 

Two and a half hours including 20 minute interval


Grades 9 – 12 


This play contains mature themes (multiple references to acts of attempted suicide), theatrical effects including haze, smoke, blood, loud music and strobe lighting. Moments of dead black out.


Responsibility Redemption

Subject areas

Drama, English, Film, Television and New Media and Media Arts

Dramatic Form and Style

Contemporary theatre  
Design-led theatre
Visual theatre including puppetry  
Physical theatre 
Cinematic theatre 

Dramatic Conventions
Openness of form 
Contemporary music 
Heightened physicality
Physical metaphor
Poetic image
Ensemble movement 
Live music
Symbolic set 
Transformation of gender  
Symbolic prop
Symbolic set
Minimalistic set
Mediatised performance  
Movement sequence 
Stylised movement
Stage combat 
Aerial movement


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