anthems and angels


A Trilogy on the refugee experience

Anthems and Angels

Anthems and Angels is a project in three parts. Its themes are: transitions; exile; the experience of uprootedness; the situation of refugees.

Part I, a playscript set in Europe at the end of WWII, was first performed at The Street Theater, Canberra, in 2015. The playscript was:

  • Accepted for submission to the ADAA/Saroyan Human Rights Playwriting Award, Armenia. 2016
  • Long listed for the Lesley Scalopino Award for Innovative Women Performance Writers [New York City]
  • developed with the assistance of the Street Theater’s HIVE and FIRST SEEN programmes.

You can view the development history of this project and its aesthetic from the bottom of this page.

The Compassion Plays

The Compassion Plays (Part II of the trilogy) was first performed at Gorman Arts Center, ACT in 2016. Its structure is based on the medieval ‘passion play’, which invites its audience to travel through different ‘story stations’ and interact with and help shape the performance.The event was supported by Companion House (for refugee survivors of torture and trauma), Monash University, Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres, and community volunteers.

November 2,3&4, 7.30pm.
Ralph Wilson Theatre, Gorman Arts Centre,
55 Ainslie Ave, Braddon, ACT 2612.
Book online at

Click here to contribute to our fundraiser!

The Compassion Plays was part of the inaugural Ralph Indie residency programme initiated by Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres in 2016.

The Wishing Tree

A Wishing Tree. A traveling wagon. A magic doorway that glows and sings.The Wishing Tree is a street theater event about threshold experiences and change. Two performers gather passers-by into a magic moment, guide them through the Magic Gate, and invite them to look forward, look back, and reflect on thresholds in their lives. They share ‘fortune cookies’ in exchange for thoughts, wishes and stories that are tied to the Tree to bring back ‘home’. ‘Home’ is a collage installation in a CBD shopfront, which remains visible 24/7. The collage ‘grows’—is both giver and receiver, welcoming new arrivals, and becomes a growing document of the stories it gathers.

The venue becomes a project hub, drop-in and meeting place for the community.

In development.

The Movement Opera

Anthems and Angels--finale is in planning for 2022-23. It wrestles with historical narratives of transitions, exile and uprootedness and lifts them into a contemporary sphere. The finale is undergoing a process of commissioning theater artists and musicians to create a ‘Song of Exodus’ for the 21st century–including Covid-safe and online means of delivery. More details coming soon.

The Compassion Plays: production slideshow

If the slideshow below has already started refresh your page to start from the beginning.

Reviews of The Compassion Plays

Jane Goodall, for Real Time online

John Lombard, for Canberra City News

Hayden Fritzlaff, for Scissorspaperpen

anthems and angels –23 June 2015

This creative conceptual development took place at the Street Theatre, Canberra, in April 2015.
Writer/director: Zsuzsi Soboslay.
With: Dene Kermond, Clare Moss, Kimmo Vennonen, Stephen Fitzgerald, Nick Tsiavos, Tim Meyen, Atti Turcsanyi, Timothy Constable, Michael K Chin.
Dramaturg: Peter Matheson.
Archives: National Film and Sound Archive.
Thanks: Street Theatre, Canberra; Plankton Productions.
Copyright Zsuzsanna Soboslay, 2015

anthems and angels –3.37 minute HD

This film was created in December 2012, at the Street Theatre, Canberra.
Artists: Zsuzsi Soboslay, Timothy Constable, Michael K. Chin; contributions from Tobias Cole, Ian Blake, Will Jackson, Stephen Fitzgerald. Set: Tim J Moore.
Copyright Zsuzsanna Soboslay, 2012

Central themes (click each to view)


crossing the border: what is left behind?

If ‘life is but a dream’, could we grasp what would make a difference–and leave our shadows behind?




collaborator artwork by Franki Sparke (possible animations)



Canberra Dance Theatre, September 2012


Research School of Humanities conference, ANU, April 2012

rehearsals, February 2012, in development with Zach Raffan and Timothy Constable.

Hungarian Uprising, November 1956

Image of Russian Front, ca. 1944 . Image courtesy National Film and Sound Archive.

European refugees in Australia, at the Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre, ca 1949. Albury-Wodonga, ca 1949. Image courtesy Albury Regional Museum.