AussieTheatre takes a look at what Griffin Theatre Company has in store for Sydney audiences in 2014.
2013 has been a strong year up at the SBW Stables Theatre. Under Artistic Director Lee Lewis, Griffin has successfully demonstrated the company’s commitment to telling Australian stories with the mainstage season featuring Beached, Van Badham’s The Bull, the Moon and the Coronet of Stars and Dreams in White so far. But 2013 was of course programmed by previous artistic director Sam Strong, who left the role at the end of 2012, so 2014 is Lewis’s first chance to program a season and put her stamp on Griffin.
Lewis has put together a season that’s all about diversity – diversity of Australian voices, diversity of performance styles and diversity of artists. It’s certainly in line with the company’s objective to work with Australian playwrights within their little theatre in Kings Cross to develop Australian theatre. The choices make a clear statement that Australian theatre is about more than just one thing, and celebrates that diversity.
The Serpent’s Table – from 24 January
It’s official! Sydney Festival has its first hot ticket of 2014. Presented at Carriageworks as part of the festival, The Serpent’s Table sees a group of Asian-Australian artists join together to create a multi-sensory experience. Combining food, performance and installation, five chefs will reveal the stories behind their most treasured dishes. Featuring Adam Liaw of Masterchef fame and Pauline Nguyen (sister of Luke Nguyen and author of Secrets of the Red Lantern), each of the five sessions are limited to only 30 people and tickets are available only via ballot.
Jump for Jordan – from 14 February
Playwright Donna Abela’s tale of Lola, a young Jordanian-Australian caught between cultures, won the 2013 Griffin Award. Lola is forced to lie about her life, career and Australian partner to escape the judgement of her family. Abela spent 17 years working at Powerhouse Youth Theatre, a company she co-founded in Sydney’s Western Suburbs and is a respected and prolific playwright. Jump for Jordan is said to speak to the experiences of many second-generation Australians and stars Alice Ansara. Griffin Studio director Iain Sinclair directs.
Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography – from May 2
You might get some funny looks from your friends if you say, “I’m going to watch Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography tonight.” But young playwright Declan Greene’s newest work is promised to be a ‘fierce and funny’ look at mid-life loneliness and desperation. Greene is one half of Melbourne-based DIY queer ‘trash-theatre’ group Sisters Grimm and has had his plays produced at Malthouse Theatre, Sydney Opera House and The Storeroom. Steve Rodgers stars after wowing audiences this year in Griffin’s Dreams in White and Sydney Theatre Company’s Dance Better at Parties. Artistic Director Lee Lewis directs.
Ugly Mugs – from July 18
Playwright Peta Brady’s Ugly Mugs looks at the underlying culture of abuse and violence against women in Australian cities. Emerging from the murder of Jill Meagher and other shocking cases of violence in Melbourne, the play is promised to be daring, provocative and topical. Brady herself appears alongside Sara West who won praise last year for her performance as Milla in Belvoir’s Babyteeth. Ugly Mugs is a co-production with Malthouse Theatre and is directed by Malthouse artistic director Marion Potts.
The Witches – from September 24
The imagination and wit of Roald Dahl comes to Griffin for the September school holidays in this one man tour-de-force performance of The Witches. With grotesque witches and children being turned into mice, this is sure to be a big winner for Griffin and might even banish the memories you had of the Anjelica Huston film version. Guy Edmonds stars in what is sure to be a hugely energetic and hilarious production, directed by director-dancer-choreographer Lucas Jervies. The work was snatched up from NIDA, where it was first performed in 2012.
Emerald City – from October 17
Sydney is set for a year full of David Williamson, with Ensemble producing four of his plays (three are part of a trilogy) and now Griffin reviving his 1980s comedy Emerald City. The play tells the story of a fading screenwriter and is part love letter, part hate mail to Sydney. The play inspired a commercially unsuccessful film version in 1988 featuring John Hargreaves, Robyn Nevin and a young Nicole Kidman, but it returns to its Sydney home at the SBW Stables theatre with Lee Lewis directing and Marcus Graham starring.
2014 will see Griffin also continue to support independent theatre makers with the Griffin Independent Season.
The season includes: Simon Stephens’s On the Shore of the Wide World, directed by Anthony Skuse and produced by pantsguys; Jane Bodie’s Music, directed by Corey McMahon and produced by Stories Like These; Finegan Kruckemeyer’s The Violent Outburst That Drew Me To You, directed by Kate Gaul and produced by Siren Theatre Co; and Campion Decent’s Unholy Ghosts, directed by Kim Hardwick and produced by White Box Theatre.
More information about Griffin’s 2014 season can be found at griffintheatre.com.au Subscriptions are now on sale and single tickets go on sale Monday 9 December, 2013.