Winner of four 2010 Sydney Theatre Awards
Best Actress in a Supporting Role 
(Yael Stone)
Best Costume Design (Tess Schofield)
Best Lighting Design (Mark Shelton)
Best Score or Sound Design (Alan John and Paul Charlier)

Winner of three 2011 Helpmann Awards
Best Direction of a Play (Neil Armfield)
Best Male Actor in a Play (Geoffrey Rush)
Best Original Score (Alan John)

After a total sell-out 2010 return season at Belvoir, this production sold out New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in 2011.

Back in 1989 two young fabulists, Neil Armfield and Geoffrey Rush, spun Nikolai Gogol’s famous story into landmark piece of Australian theatre. In 2010, still fabulating, they did it again.

St Petersburg in the time of the Czar. Poprishchin is a kind of human photocopier: he spends his days writing what’s on one page onto another page for endless thousands of pages. Towering above him is the most insane and terrifying hierarchy in human history. Down the bottom with him are millions of other clerks. In an age of ridiculous ambition and ubiquitous work, Gogol’s comic tale is a loser’s Hamlet. It burrows into our wildest fantasies and finds wonderful play in the gap between who we are and who we think we are.

The Diary of a Madman was Neil’s parting feast of laughter, rage, sadness, loss, love, joy, hope, and the eternal possibility that we’re on the verge of something tremendous.


Geoffrey Rush
Yael Stone


By Nikolai Gogol
Adapted by David Holman with Neil Armfield and Geoffrey Rush
Director Neil Armfield
Music by Alan John (after Mussorgsky)
Musicians Paul Cutlan & Erkki Veltheim
Set Designer Catherine Martin
Costume Designer Tess Schofield
Lighting Designer Mark Shelton
Sound Designer Paul Charlier
Set Design Assistant Chris Tangney
Stage Manager Mark Lowrey
Assistant Stage Manager Mel Dyer

Image Gallery (2010 Belvoir season)


[Rush’s] performance in this beautifully directed and designed show is spellbinding, even staggering.

The New York Post

Geoffrey Rush is insanely great at acting crazy. He proves it nightly at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with his wacky and wonderfully touching tour de force.

NY Daily News

… it is such a great joy to see Rush back on the stage re-creating one of his finest roles. … Yael Stone is superb.

John McCallum | The Australian

Rush is in exuberant form as Poprischin … If you haven’t secured a seat already, it’s standing room only if you want to see this show – and still money well spent.

Jason Blake | The Sydney Morning Herald