NEWK – The John Newcombe Story – Starring Damian Callinan

Producer: Nicholas Clark Management
Writer: Kieran Carroll
Directed By: Kieran Caroll

NEWK tells the story of Australian tennis legend John Newcombe starring Damian Callinan


NEWK (The John Newcombe Story) is a compelling journey that moves the audience between an Australia of the early 1960s up to 2014, the year where the play is set. Set at Newk\’s 70th barbecue, Damian Callinan (The Merger, Wine Bluffs, Double Feature) welcomes the audience with offers of Cinzano. Callinan\’s performance draws the audience into nostalgic memories of great matches, famous players, volatile behind the scenes politics and a collection of ads etched into the Australian psyche: Cinzano, Aeroguard, Life Be In It and Staminade! Kieran Carroll\’s script creates an important authenticity in depicting an old Australia and portrays a restless, ambitious man determined to get to the very top of a ruthless game. NEWK (The John Newcombe Story) is an immensely likeable, accessible and enjoyable night out at the theatre in the company of a National Living Treasure.

Short Reviews

NEWK! was a hit for the Glen Street Theatre community with two easily sold out performances. We initially programmed only one show and quickly needed to add a second to meet demand.
Glen St Theatre
A wonderful show...a rollicking journey through John Newcombe\'s life!
Toorak Times
NEWK is a wonderful show full of memorabilia and belly laughs
What Did She Think


Technical Information

Touring Party: 2
Bump-in Time: 2-3 hours hrs
Bump-out Time: 1-2 hrs
Interval: Optional


  • There are approximately 30 unique lighting states to program during the technical session, with a total of 65 cues.
  • The Presenter must supply a rig that has been reset to standard and then adjusted based on the technical specifications listed here.
  • The lighting design is based around using a venue standard rig that offers full stage coverage that can be divided into at least 3 areas across the stage (left, centre and right) and colour options (predominantly back and/or side light). It also requires five profile specials focused on to key locations in the set design. A standard lighting plan and cue list can be provided on request, and a unique plan can be drawn by the Touring Company upon receiving a venue standard rig plan, patch sheet, and technical specifications.


  • The venue is to provide a high-quality stereo PA.
  • Audio and vision will be operated by the Touring Stage and Produciton Manager from FOH position. An audio playback system, comprising of an Apple MacBook Pro running Qlab 5 will be toured.
  • One Sennheiser EW100 G4 Wireless Microphone (Frequency Band B) system with a DPA 4066 headset microphone will be provided by the touring company. The receiver is to be patched in on stage side and faced so their antennae have unobstructed line of sight to the stage, or patched into an existing antenna switch with good coverage. The headset microphone is on B-band, set to 649.200MHz. This can be changed if in conflict with the venue’s existing radio infrastructure.


  • The main set elements consist of a retro bar (furniture item), a bar stool, a retro phone table, and a wooden chair.
  • The venue must provide a suitably large projection surface that is unobstructed by the performer, scenery and lighting equipment. Depending on the size and fit out of the venue this could be a cyclorama, a scrim flown on a fly bar, or a large freestanding screen. The AV is a critical part of the set design and must be large enough to suit as a backdrop for the performance.
  • The venue must provide treads or suitable access from the stage to the audience during the performance, due to multiple moments of audience interaction. This must be safely erected and suitably lit during use.

Crew Notes


  • Approximately 3 hours of lighting and sound pre-rig for two venue staff, variable depending on the suitability of the standard venue setup
  • 1x Lighting technician (3.5 hours approx) to assist with van unloading, plotting and focussing of lighting fixtures and operation of in-house equipment
  • 1x Sound and AV technician (3.5 hours approx) to assist with van unloading, the focus of AV systems, system tuning and operation of in-house equipmentBUMP OUT:

• 1x Lighting technician (2.5 hours approx) to provide general venue supervision and troubleshooting, operate lighting console if required, and assist with bump out

Transport Notes

The production can be easily transported by the cast & crew with basic ground transport. It can also be flown interstate (a local prop bar will need to be sourced).

Audience & Marketing Notes

NEWK is a must see for all tennis fans. Older audiences love reliving some of Newk’s incredible matches from the 60s & 70s. Fans in their 30s & 40s enjoy Newk’s up and down dealings with Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt in the 90s whilst younger fans of tennis are given a detailed history lesson of Australian and world tennis. Appealing to people interested in biography, stories of sporting legends and the question of what makes someone strive and sacrifice everything to become world No 1.

Selling Points

  • Powerful and compelling story of an iconic Australian sportsman
  • Starring Australian actor and comedian Damian Callinan (Three time Barry Award nominee and star of The Merger)
  • Relives the nostalgic memories of great matches, famous players, volatile behind the scenes politics and a collection of ads etched into the Australian psyche
  • Speaks to themes of restless ambition, fame, family, success, failure and rebuilding.
  • Immensely likeable, dramatic, comedic, accessible and an enjoyable night out.
  • A classic Australian story of a National living treasure - John Newcombe

Content Warning

Extremely rare use of strong language




Venue Format

Proscenium Arch, Black box, Flat floor, Hall


60-70mins Minutes

Available Until (from - to)



Budget & Fees

What are these? Find out more.

In Development - work which will be produced and premiered in time for touring during 2022/2023. Please contact the Producer directly for Budgets and Fees.

Remount: $TBC

Weekly Sell Off: $TBC

Per Performance: $0

Royalties: 10%
Apra Obligations: NA

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