Parramatta Girls to play at New Theatre

One of the most powerful plays to hit Australia in recent years is again headed to Sydney.

One of the most powerful plays to hit Australia in recent years is again headed to Sydney.

Parramatta Girls is currently preparing for a May opening at the New Theatre.

A group of women, former inmates of the notorious Parramatta Girls Home, reunite four decades later to face the demons of their shared experiences.  Through action that shifts between past and present, we grow to know these tough, resilient women and to admire their courage and humour.

Based on real testimonies, award-winning playwright Alana Valentine tells an important contemporary Australian story, exploring the effects of institutionalization on vulnerable teenagers and exposing the abuse and neglect these women endured as punishment for not conforming to society’s expectations.

Parramatta Girls is a moving portrait of hope and survival. For director Annette Rowlison it resonated personally.

“I grew up in Penshurst, so was always aware of the Parramatta Girls Home, but Alana’s play was a revelation,” she said. 

“It’s so powerful, so immediate. I love that it tells women’s stories, personal stories of survival against all the odds from both European and indigenous perspectives.  I didn’t have the easiest of childhoods, so I can relate to these women, how despite what they’d experienced as young girls they’d managed as adults to carve out meaningful lives, forge relationships, create their own families.”

The cast of Parramatta Girls includes indigenous performers Elaine Crombie and Kylie Coolwell. Elaine has worked previously with the Queensland Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company and Belvoir and is returning to acting having taken time out to be a full-time mother to Andrew and Michael.

“They’re my greatest achievement,” said Elaine.

“Everything I do is for them.”

Kylie, whose background is in dance, is just starting out as an actor and is very excited to have the opportunity to work with such an experienced cast of strong, creative women.  

“I hope that people will see this play and leave the theatre talking about what they’ve just heard and experienced and that it will stay with them,” said Rowlison. 

“I’m passionate about creating theatre that is a more than just light entertainment. That doesn’t mean that Parramatta Girls is a sombre piece – Alana has mixed in some very funny, intensely recognisable moments along with the more serious stuff. But it is definitely a play that gets you thinking.”

The full cast is Di Adams, Kylie Coolwell, Elaine Crombie, Christine Greenough, Amanda Marsden, Kym Parrish,  Abi Rayment and Sandy Velini.

The show opens on May 18. Bookings: 1300 306 776 |


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