The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush

We’re pleased to share that our latest exhibition, The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush, is now open in Gallery 1 at Arts Centre Melbourne! Thank you to everyone who has attended to date, it has been fantastic to see you enjoying the costumes, photographs and film clips on display.

Geoffrey Rush as King Berenger in Exit the King, 2009
Photograph by Hugh Hartshorne

Geoffrey Rush is one of Australia’s best-known and most respected actors. Throughout his prolific and distinguished career he has earned international acclaim for his work on both stage and screen. This exhibition reflects on his many achievements to date and explores his ability to inhabit characters through a remarkable physical and verbal dexterity.

Featuring costumes, photographs, moving image and personal items, the exhibition highlights roles created by Geoffrey Rush in plays including Exit the King, The Diary of a Madman and The Importance of Being Earnest, and in films such as Shine, Quills, Pirates of the Caribbean and The King’s Speech.

Have you visited The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush? What did you enjoy most? We’d love to hear from you!

Arts Centre Melbourne, Gallery 1
From 6 July – 27 October
Open daily, 9am till late

The Mad King: Geoffrey Rush On Stage

Exit the King costume
Costume worn by Geoffrey Rush in ‘Exit The King’, 2007. Gift of Malthouse Theatre, 2011. The Arts Centre, Performing Arts Collection

The Performing Arts Collection tells the rich and diverse story of performance in our country. And it is vast – an exciting backstage peek behind the scenes of our theatrical and musical history. Its importance is unquestionable – its impact is thrilling entertainment.” (Geoffrey Rush)

Geoffrey Rush is one of Australia’s best-known and most respected actors. He is also one of a handful of actors to have won the coveted ‘Triple Crown of Acting’ by winning an Academy Award, a Tony Award and an Emmy Award.

Rush is perhaps best known to the wider public for his work on screen in such films as Shine, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth and The King’s Speech, however, his long and distinguished career on stage has provided some of the most thrilling moments in Australian theatre history.

Rush recently facilitated the donation by Malthouse Theatre and Belvoir St Theatre of some of his significant costumes from the productions The Diary Of A Madman and Exit The King to the Arts Centre’s Performing Arts Collection.

The Diary of a Madman green suit
Costume worn by Geoffrey Rush in ‘The Diary of a Madman’, 2010. Gift of Belvoir St Theatre, 2011. The Arts Centre, Performing Arts Collection.

In 2009 Rush made his Broadway debut in Exit the King at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The play, a Belvoir St Theatre/Malthouse Theatre co-production adapted by Rush and director Neil Armfeild, was the first Australian production of a dramatic play to be presented on Broadway. Rush’s extraordinary physical and verbal dexterity earned him many awards including a Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actor.

The Diary of a Madman was the first of many collaborations between Rush and Armfield. Rush made his first appearance in the production at Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney in 1989. When the production was revived in 2010 as part of Armfield’s farewell Belvoir season audiences clambered to see the now internationally famous Rush in one of his most revered roles. The Diary of a Madman was also performed in New York earlier this year, with Rush’s performance was described as “a wacky and wonderfully touching tour-de-force”.

As Australia’s national collection, the Performing Arts Collection is thrilled to accept the donation of costumes from these landmark productions as a tangible reminder of the moment when the Australian theatrical sensibility took centre stage in New York.