'The spirits you carry, they carry you too.
'Twelve-year-old Celeste arrives in China to scatter Mother’s ashes, but in no time flat is thrust into a world of magic and adventure. Celeste’s grandmother has carried on the family tradition of ghost catching, and it turns out Celeste has a knack for the hairraising pursuit too.' (Production summary)
'Early evening. Autumn 1954. In a house beside the Nepean River a young woman is crying. Iris is chopping onions while Leo cooks the wild mushrooms he picked that morning. Iris is growing up at the foot of the Blue Mountains. Leo is making a new life for himself after fleeing war-ravaged Europe.
'Yellow Yellow Sometimes Blue is the story of Iris and Leo. They’re two outsiders peeking in at a world of money, power and gossip as they prepare canapés and cocktails for a debaucherous gathering of Sydney’s cultural elite. Tracing the roots of Sydney’s early Modernist thinking, it is performed by Adam Booth and Kate Worsley, designed by Katja Handt and features the live music of cellist Me-Lee Hay. It’s a 60ish minute story of surviving and thriving as an outsider looking in.'
Source: Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre.
'A great Australian novel. A landmark theatre event. A portrait of Sydney as it once was.
'The world premieres of The Harp in the South: Part One and The Harp in the South: Part Two are designed to be enjoyed as one unforgettable, epic theatrical experience.
'This major new work is one of the most ambitious productions STC has ever created. Celebrated playwright Kate Mulvany has adapted novelist Ruth Park’s revered Australian trilogy – Missus, The Harp in the South and Poor Man’s Orange – and spread these beloved stories across two equally ambitious plays.
'The two parts stand alone, but together they offer over five hours of monumental, exuberant theatre. It’s a moving family saga and a celebration of Sydney in all its funny, gritty glory.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'In Angela Betzien's play The Hum, a photojournalist sits in an airport toilet cubicle and contemplates taking her life with a pair of shoelaces. As the final boarding call is announced for Flight 404 to Singapore, she leaves the cubicle, shoelaces in hand, and rushes to gate Number 24. She settles in her seat but there is trouble on board, and take-off is delayed. Finally, the plane is in the air and the journey begins. Or does it? For soon it becomes clear that this is not an ordinary journey. Is it real or is it a dream? Are we seeing the last visions of a woman soon to be dead?'
Source: University of Wollogong (https://lha.uow.edu.au/taem/performances/UOW231684.html). (Sighted: 29/06/2018)
'Rice explores the business of global food production, namely rice, and women in business. There are two main characters. The central character is Nisha. She’s 28, a young and precocious corporate hotshot working as the Executive Officer of Golden Fields, Australia’s biggest rice company. She’s a second generation Indian. Yvette is 61, Chinese; she’s a cleaner in the Golden Fields building. Golden Fields is in Melbourne; Nisha and Yvette play all the other characters.
'Nisha is close to sealing a confidential contract with the Indian government, which would see Golden Fields taking over India’s public food distribution systems – rice is a major staple distributed through this system. This secret contract is worth billions. When a flood in one of the southern states in India looks to distract the government and delay the deal, Nisha decides that she needs to go to India to finalise the contract in person, taking with her Graeme, the CEO, and Tom, the marketing manager that Nisha has romantic feelings for.
'Yvette’s daughter, Sheree, is facing charges for a protest that resulted in the assault of the CEO of Coles.'
Source: Author's website (http://www.michelevanlee.com.au/current-projects/rice/) (Sighted: 12/07/2016)
'Muriel Heslop is back! In this highly-anticipated world premiere, the iconic Australian film is set to become an equally iconic laugh-out-loud musical.
'Stuck in a dead-end life in Porpoise Spit, Muriel dreams of the perfect wedding – the white dress, the church, the attention. Unfortunately, there’s one thing missing. A groom. Following her dreams to Sydney, Muriel ends up with everything she ever wanted – a man, a fortune and a million Twitter followers. That’s when things start to go really wrong.
'The film’s original writer-director PJ Hogan has updated his screenplay into a dazzling new stage show, bringing the story into the present but keeping all the irreverence and naughtiness of the film along with its dark edge.' (Production summary)
'When Ophelia moves with her family to the seaside, she’s not impressed. She doesn’t like the beach, misses her old home and thinks the people in this town are pretty strange. While unpacking her room she discovers a mysterious box full of gadgets, parts and pieces, and a strange note that reads ‘You. Make. Me.’ Her curiosity gets the better of her and she spends all night assembling the objects into Olivetti, a robot with a typewriter chest and an alarm clock heart. Made up of pieces, but more than the sum of her parts.
'Together Ophelia and Olivetti take on the local bully and make friends with a child so worried about allergies that he never leaves the house, all while trying to keep her dad from discovering that Olivetti is really a robot. But a bigger challenge is coming – can the pair save their friend and reunite him with his mother?
'My Robot takes audiences of all ages on a rambunctious adventure filled with robot antics, laughter, daring rescues and bewildered parents, all told with the care and artistry synonymous with Barking Gecko’s award winning shows. Children will discover that we’re all just made from pieces, and that when we feel less than whole we can find – or make – a part that fits!'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'If anyone can write a full-throttle drama of our colonial past, it’s the indomitable Leah Purcell.
'We all know Henry Lawson’s story of the Drover’s Wife. Her stoic silhouette against an unforgiving landscape, her staring down of the serpent; it’s the frontier myth captured in a few pages. In Leah’s new play the old story gets a very fresh rewrite. Once again the Drover’s Wife is confronted by a threat in her yard, but now it’s a man. He’s bleeding, he’s got secrets, and he’s black. She knows there’s a fugitive wanted for killing whites, and the district is thick with troopers, but something’s holding the Drover’s Wife back from turning this fella in…
'A taut thriller of our pioneering past, with a black sting to the tail, The Drover’s Wife reaches from our nation’s infancy into our complicated present. And best of all, Leah’s playing the Wife herself.' (Publication summary)
'In an isolated farmhouse, outside a small country town – a woman and her daughters have just killed their abusive man of the house. Known throughout the district as a cur and a dog, the women set about disposing of his body. However their task becomes fraught when several of the local villagers choose to pay a visit and grow suspicious at their behaviour – will their act become exposed before they can dispose of the body? A lyrical exploration of family, violence and revenge against a backdrop of a brutal, rural Australian landscape.' (Play summary)
'Aspiring archaeologist Lola left home when she was only 20, much to the shame of her traditional Jordanian mother. Six years later, losing sleep and petrified by the judgement of her visiting ‘mad Arab’ Aunty Azza, Lola is forced to lie about her life, her career and the existence of her Aussie partner. Worst of all is the fear that she’s also lying to herself.
'Looking deep into the heart of Sydney and beyond, 'Jump for Jordan' unpacks the experience common to countless second-generation Australians of being caught between two cultures. Sifting through shifting layers of past and present, farce and fantasy, it’s one woman’s mad, messy excavation of her own history, and her attempt to piece together the broken bits of her identity. ' (Source: Griffin Theatre website)
'Convict William Thornhill, exiled from the stinking slums of early 19th century London, discovers that the penal colony offers something that he never dared to hope for before: a place of his own. A stretch of land on the Hawkesbury River is Thornhill’s for the taking.
'As he and his family seek to establish themselves in this unfamiliar territory, they find that they are not the only ones to lay a claim to the land. The Hawkesbury is already home to a family of Dharug people, who are reluctant to leave on account of these intruders.
As Thornhill’s attachment to the place and the dream deepens, he is driven to make a terrible decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.' (Source: Currency Press website)
'Tamara and Jasyn are in love. Tamara is fourteen. Jasyn lives with Aunty and his brother Dane is in prison for dealing. Jasyn wants to take Tamara to the formal, but he hasn't got the cash.
'In a world of absent mothers and missing fathers, Mrs Petchell battles to keep another year of students out of the ranks of the vanished. The Outsiders is on the syllabus again, but instead of Socs and Greasers, this is the world of Speds and Skanks - fuelled by Red Bull and powered by iPods. It can be hard to find your own rhythm when everyone is marching to the beat of a different drum.' (From the publisher's website.)
'After a long and successful marriage, Pam and Don are still very much in love. But Pam is ill and has to make a heartbreaking decision that will transform both their lives. She does so in the only way she knows how - quickly, pragmatically, and resolutely. Don behaves in the only way he knows how - struggling to keep up but desperate not to lose touch.
'And No More Shall We Part follows Pam and Don's halting, humorous and devastating attempt at the impossible - to begin to say goodbye to each other after a lifetime together.' (From the publisher's website.)
'It begins with a miracle. On a rainy day in Alice Springs in 2039 a fish falls like manna from heaven to bless the reunion of a father with his long lost son. Perhaps it's a sign that the pattern of betrayal and abandonment that began on another rainy day in London in 1959 will come to an end.
'Who'll stop the rain? Andrew Bovell's award-winning When the Rain Stops Falling is powerful storytelling in which the voices of our past echo into our future.' (Publisher's blurb)
'Profoundly affected by the events at Port Arthur in 1996, Tom Holloway (who was 17 at the time) was moved to write this play. Based on in-depth interviews and years of research, the story is set ten years later and celebrates the power of community and recovery.'
Source: Is Theatre website, http://www.istheatre.com
'The true story of Mavis, an 86 year old retired haberdasher from regional Victoria. Stung into action by the suffering of the East Timorese, Mavis took her sewing machines to Timor and set about making a practical contribution. Amid the destruction and buoyed by the people's overwhelming faith Mavis tackles the bureaucracy. This work is based on stories told by Mavis Taylor, Elwyn Taylor and the women of East Timor.' Libraries Australia record.
'On the white frontier in mid-nineteenth century Australia, a lone, bloodied woman arrives at a traveller's rest in the midst of a violent desert storm with a shocking story to tell. Aborigines have allegedly murdered her husband and stolen her infant child. But an Aboriginal woman has a different story to tell. What would cause a missionary's wife to lie? What chance does the word of an Aboriginal woman have against hers? A chilling mystery that draws together the lives of four extraordinary women and their men, all struggling to survive in a hostile and misunderstood landscape. (1 act, 4 male, 4 female).' (Publication summary)
Hotel Sorrento is a vivid, moving and funny play which explores the concept of loyalty both to family and to country. Three sisters come together after ten years: Hilary who lives in Sorrento with her father and her sixteen-year-old son; Pippa visiting from New York where she works in advertising; and Meg, who returns home from England with her English husband after her new novel Melancholy is shortlisted for the Booker prize. Unspoken aspects of their shared past, jolted by the autobiographical flavour of Meg's book, haunt their reunion.
Coincidentally, Marge, a teacher, with a holiday house in Sorrento, reads the novel and finds it captures an Australia she knows. Her friend, Dick, however, is worried by Meg's expatriate status. This interest draws them into the family where the issues of culture, patriotism, and using the past are battled out.
Source: Publisher's blurb (back cover).
'Commencing with a school performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Shakespearean themes of suffering and reconciliation persist as three families on separate holidays are united during a fierce storm.
'Immigrants Harry and Vic love their adopted country but are faced with their son Tom’s terminal illness. Jim and Gwen fret over their daughter Meg’s blossoming independence and her friendship with the socially unsuitable Tom. Roy is unable to console a grief-stricken Coral over the death of their only son in Vietnam.
'But with the help of some Shakespearean fairies and a spectacular storm, these families are reconciled and face the future anew.
'For two decades audiences have been enthralled by this story about the coming of age of both a group of individuals and the country in which they live. Despite being set almost 40 years ago, this multi-award winning play is as relevant as ever with its themes of reconciliation and loss.
'Away is sharply observed, clever, funny and yet very moving. Out of the familiar family ingredients, Gow has constructed a magical play that every Australian can relate to. It depicts the hopes of a new generation, prompting us to consider what is ultimately most important in our lives.' (Publication summary)
'The spirited story of the Millimurra family’s stand against government ‘protection’ policies in 1930s Australia.' (From the publisher's website.)
'The elocution lessons of a boy named Benjamin Franklin bring about the destruction of his teacher, a timid transvestite whose only sexual activity takes place in the world of fantasy.'
Source: 'Noble Technique', Canberra Times, 19 March 1977, p.15.
A young policeman’s first day on duty becomes a violent and highly charged initiation into law enforcement. Remarkable for its blend of boisterous humour and horrifying violence, the play has acquired a reputation as a classic statement on Australian authoritarianism and is a key work in the study of Australian drama.
A music theatre burlesque based on the real life King O'Malley, a Texan born banker, real estate salesman, insurance agent, and founder of a religious movement, who came to Australia in 1893 under the belief that he was dying of consumption. After arriving at Emu Bay, Queensland, O'Malley spent some two years living in a cave before eventually walking from Rockhampton, seemingly cured of the disease, all the way to Adelaide. He became the MHA of Encounter Bay (South Australia) up until 1899, then a member of the House of Representatives (1901-17), in addition to undertaking the position of Minister for Home Affairs (1910-13, 1915-16). He retired from politics in 1917. O'Malley is also recognised for his role in opening the trans-continental railway and for his significant input into Labour reform and social legislation during the early decades of the twentieth century.
Ellis and Boddy portray O'Malley as a doubtful, though likeable/heroic, character whose early schemes are seen to mock several social institutions. In the first part of the play we encounter the loud-mouthed O'Malley leaving for Australia (accompanied by Mr Angel, a devil who acts as his spirit of conscience). In line with the real historical account O'Malley is also seen befriending the aborigines and standing for parliament. In the second part a debate begins between O'Malley and Billy Hughes, with the visionary O'Malley battling for several future initiatives, while Hughes argues for conscription. At this point the ensemble of actors take on a variety of roles, notably embers of parliament, as they satirise the image of these 'honourable representatives of government'.
The Legend Of King O'Malley has been described by Leonard Radic as : 'a rumbustious piece of musical theatre... [drawing] consciously on the traditions of panto, music hall, revue and vaudeville. The script [includes] hymns, songs, a revivalist meeting and a pageant or two... the result was a piece of pastiche theatre which explored its subject with larrikin abandon, and without concessions to good taste or manners' (State of Play 1991, p70). The musical element of the play, according to its authors, is 'a bit of a grab-bag. This is not a musical,' they write in the 1974 Angus and Robertson edition, ' it is a play with music.... use as few or as many of the [songs] as you like; and put in your own favourites if you wish. "Happy Land," "In the Service of the King," and "Hold the Fort," should be used where marked" (xxii). Other songs suggested, and which were used in the original Jane Street production include: 'I Surrender All', 'Go Little Pennies', 'Wonderful Words of Life', 'Lead on King Eternal', 'I've Found a Friend', 'Go Tell it to Jesus', 'What a Friend', 'Hey There! You're an Australian', and 'Onward Christian Soldiers'.