Obsessed from a young age by the Anzac legend and intrigued by the mystery surrounding the identity of two diggers from a family photo, Damian sets out on a quest to put names to the faces. Whilst holidaying in Warrnambool, a series of curious events lead him to the discovery of a war diary in an op-shop that may finally link him to the legend.

Callinan brings to life the pages of the diary as we meet Paddy Callinan and his ‘push’ as they set off for ‘The Big Show. Along the way we meet Stanza the prankster poet, Bluey the outspoken union leader, Mocka the mumbling ladies’ man, Depot the scrounger and Pirate whose ability to talk could be the weapon that turns the war.

Callinan combines detailed research, hilarious but believable characterisations, black humour, absurdity and deft writing to swing the mood of the story from rollicking farce to aching pathos in a heartbeat.

Venue Format
Theatre, Hall, Black Box Venue
Technical Rating
Touring Party

The show has minimal coarse language and some adult themes so it's not recommended for audience under 14. That being said many younger folk have come along to the show and they have reacted positively. The show is comedic but dramatic, particularly in the latter stages. Bar service should be stopped during the show.

Hey Boss is an award-winning production and management company owned and operated by Adelaide-based Peta Spurling-Brown. Working with some of the most exciting theatre, music, and comedy shows in the global fringe circuit, Hey Boss shows have seen box office success, critical acclaim and awards at Adelaide Fringe, FRINGE WORLD (Perth), Melbourne International Comedy Festival (to name a few); and tours to Switzerland, Finland, Korea, the UK, and throughout Australia. Hey Boss is focused on fostering sustainable careers for its artists and extending the reach of their work. We are currently interested in building direct touring opportunities and cross-industry relationships with commercial or artistic outcomes.

SELECTED AWARDS: 2016 WINNER: Adelaide Fringe Best Music Show: Jamie MacDowell & Tom Thum NOMINEE: FRINGE WORLD (Perth) Editor’s Choice The Merger - Damian Callinan

2017 WINNER: FRINGE WORLD Best Comedy Show: Butt Kapinski SHORTLISTED: FRINGE WORLD Best Cabaret Show: Shirley Gnome: Taking It Up The Notch NOMINEE: FRINGE WORLD Best Music Show: Jamie MacDowell & Tom Thum NOMINEE: Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Golden Gibbo Award: Double Denim

2018 WINNER: Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Directors’ Choice Award: Double Denim Adventure Show WINNER: Sydney Comedy Festival, Best Newcomer: Double Denim NOMINEE: FRINGE WORLD Best Comedy Show: Swing Man – Damian Callinan

Company Website

Unique Selling Point

Off the back of the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli in 2015, The Lost WW1 Diary explores the personal experiences of The Great War - through fictional characters, based on extensive research. Damian's expertly conveys the larrikin sensibility and the use of humour to deal with trauma, exposing part of a uniquely Australian shared-identity. Humour has often been used to deal with the subject of war (Black Adder, MAS*H, Hogan's Heroes) 'The Lost WW1 Diary' uses this medium to tell an Australian story - that of the ANZACs at Gallipoli in WW1.

Marketing Materials

Existing Marketing Collateral includes:

  • Print Collateral and publicity images.
  • Social media videos.
  • Review quotes.

Community Engagement

In previous tours with RAV & Country Arts WA the show has been used to connect the community with their particular WW1 experience. The show has been transformed into an event augmented by local history displays, live music performances of songs from the era played but community orchestras and pianists. Light Horse re-enactments and themed dinners. Damian mingles with the crowd after the show where many line up to tell them of their family connection to WW1, and a tour book is left open where people can record the names of family who served. A common response to the show is that they felt they better understood the men who were there by seeing the characters brought to life.

'I reckon my dad & Paddy would have been mates' - audience member form Warrnambool

Damian also adds local research and audience interaction to make the show connect on a more personal level. This has been one the most popular and talked about aspects about the show. The audience left intrigued and wondering how he was able to incorporate some many local references into the work.