Wayside Bride is a new Australian play that celebrates the heartaches and beauty of Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross. Around 2016, the playwright Alana Valentine put a call out for stories of people who were married there and, over the years of interviewing, listening and writing, she has created this play. With a mix of verbatim storytelling and time travel, she shines a spotlight on the importance of community and social work in preserving this remarkable piece of Australian history.
When the future or even the present feel so pressing it can be difficult to see the relevance of old stories and traditions. But in this collaborative performance between Bangarra Dance Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company, the past is shown to be ongoing with powerful lessons that ancestors can teach about resilience and care.
Weddings as moments of great personal and cultural significance are often very emotional experiences from the engagement to the bachelor/bachelorette parties and all the little rituals that go into the big day. For marginalised people, people who are not reflected in bridal magazines or represented in bridal shops, and who don’t even appear in trashy wedding reality shows, organising a wedding can encompass an additional range of emotions that damper the joy and frivolity of the occasion. Alana Valentine’s new play Made to Measure confronts the experience of trying to celebrate yourself in a world that won’t celebrate with you.
The past few years has seen Australia rattled by revelations and testimonies of abuse suffered by children in the care of institutions whether schools, churches, or homes for juvenile offenders and abandoned children. Following on from Alana Valentine’s renowned script Parramatta Girls, Eyes to the Floor integrates memories from survivors of the Institution for Girls in Hay, NSW, where girls aged 13-17 who were expelled from Parramatta Girls Home and Cootamundra Girls Home were sent in the 1960s and 1970s.
Barbara and René are sisters and cousins and singing partners. They’re scraping together a living at odd gigs in Sydney but, when their mother gets sick, they go on a journey to find her first in Darwin and then back in their hometown of Katherine. It isn’t easy to return to a place you ran from and, for Barbara, even harder to remember somewhere that abandoned you. This rock musical about family and belonging, written by Ursula Yovich and Alana Valentine, returns to the Belvoir stage a year and a half after its world premiere.