Carmen Live or Dead

The Show

 “PURE MASTERY! …There will be laughter, there will be a tragic pull to heart strings, there will be celebration, art, corsets and rhinestones… bringing to the stage a topic we should be seeing and speaking about much more freely.”
– Australian Stage Review

CARMEN, LIVE OR DEAD is the fascinating and extraordinary story of Carmen Frida Leon Davidovich. The fictional love child of Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky. She is complex, bold, salacious, intersex, and today is the last day of her life.


The brainchild of New York writer Craig Harwood and South African Actor Natalie Gamsu, the concept for CARMEN first originated in 2014 as a performance piece for a commissioned corporate act. What grew was an incredible collaboration with Harwood as Writer and Gamsu the Actor coming together to create an original inspiring piece of dramatic theatre.

Over the last three years it has undergone numerous re-writes and two fully paid workshops, and now features original music from ARIA nominated and Helpmann Award-winning actor and musician iOTA (Hedwig & The Angry Inch, Smoke & Mirrors). CARMEN has emerged as an exciting and enigmatic new musical work that is part vaudevillian, part performance art, part cabaret, part play and all accompanied live on stage with piano, guitar and violin.    

Oriel Entertainment, Progeny Pictures & Orange Sky Creative have united to present the world premiere of this original new work, with direction from critically acclaimed director Shaun Rennie (Only Heaven Knows, I Am My Own Wife),  Musical Direction and featured roles by Andrew Kroenert (Dreamlover, The Last Five Years), and featuring Stefanie Jones (The Sound of Music, Once) as Delilah.


Carmen’s story is mesmerising, exciting and liberating. At the end of her life, she takes us on a reflective journey of discovery – an orphan, a refugee, a hermaphrodite, a human. CARMEN celebrates difference, fighting with humour and grace she opens up her world and takes us into the pain and the power of being an intersex woman. Embracing the feminine and the masculine with joy and life, this is a story brimming with unyielding authenticity, humour and grace, a unique, gripping theatrical experience that is moving and thoroughly liberating.

Carmen, Live or Dead is a profound and mesmerizing piece of theatre about identity and perseverance, about culture and family.  It breaks down the barriers of what it is to be a woman, what it is to be a man, and ultimately what it is to be human.

Presented by Oriel Entertainment Group, Progeny Pictures and Orange Sky Creative
Starring Natalie Gamsu
Featuring Stefanie Jones and Andrew Kroenert
Written by Craig Harwood
Music & Lyrics by iOTA
Directed by Shaun Rennie
Musical Direction and Arrangements by Andrew Kroenert
Dramaturg Natasha Sinha
Costume Design by Shauna Lovisetto
Set Design by Dann Barber
Lighting Design by Benjamin Brockman
Executive Producer Elise McCann



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Presenting Partners