The Company

amanda headshot

Sophie Lampel

Amanda LaBonte and Sophie Lampel are the Artistic Directors of Essential Theatre founded in 1999. Our initial aim was to produce work to entertain, inspire and provoke audiences. In the early stages we were awarded and recognised as a prominent young theatre company producing new works, including our self penned play ‘Triple Acorn’ which saw us invited to attend a Writer's Festival in NSW.

With a desire to maintain longevity in this challenging industry 2003 saw us develop our incredibly successful program, Shakespeare in the Vines. This unique tour of Shakespeare's much loved works has reached regions across 6 states of Australia and the North Island of New Zealand. We are now a leading national touring theatre company known for its professional, creative and dynamic presentations of Shakespeare.

We are a proud independent company that continue to offer fabulous opportunities for actors, designers and directors. In recent years we have also nurtured our desire to produce new work, seeing us stage ‘A Stranger in Town’ at fortyfivedownstairs in 2011 and ‘Julius Caesar’ as part of the Melbourne and Adelaide Fringe Festivals in 2016/2017.  We premiered 'Julius Caesar' on the international stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2017 and are proud to say it was a huge suucess.  We are gearing up for our 17th season of Shakespeare in the Vines with a production of 'Twefth Night' and collaborating with Three Birds Theatre on a new work titled 'enter Ophelia' to be performed at LaMama in February 2018.

With 18 years experience behind us we are thrilled that we are still standing, standing strong, and excited about what the future holds for us.