For city folk, the traditional debutante ball might seem like an outdated idea with unwelcome patriarchal overtones but the deb is still a thriving cultural tradition in many rural cities around Australia. It’s an exciting event where young adults get to celebrate who they are and mark the transition into adulthood all with a bit of pomp and glamour. But this year in Dunburn, the city and country perspectives collide with disastrous consequences for a small town already on the brink of collapse.
Andrew Bovell’s 2016 family drama Things I Know to Be True has maintained a continued resonance with Australian audiences as evidenced in at least three productions across Sydney in recent years. In the most recent iteration, a fear of change forms the central focus as the Price family faces a year of growing up and letting go.
While it might not seem that a play about the English Civil Wars and the Putney Debates of 1640s England would have much resonance in 21st century Australia, Caryl Churchill’s framing, even some 45 years after the first staging, see our protests as rehashings of the same concerns of religious freedom, democracy, and social justice.
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.
Maybe if you watch a lot of British crime dramas then you’ve wondered to yourself how you would react if you were the person fated to discover a dead body. Or you’ve mused about how the “woman walking her dog” or “bicyclist” is doing now after their discovery aired on the nightly news. For one person, that moment was the end of the story, for everyone else, it’s the beginning.
It’s only been in the last few years that the political and social zeitgeists have actively considered mental health, addiction, family violence and child abuse, toxic masculinity, or any of the complex ways that these experiences overlap and compound in people’s lives. In this new Australian work that debuted shortly before the pandemic, the struggles of one man open up a discussion about the hidden suffering in our communities.
Nearly 100 years ago, the end of the Roaring 20s, when the glittering world of debauchery was crumbling, the sheen of a post-war Europe fading, collaborators Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht wrote into the dingy, decrepit spaces of fallen empires, imagining the immorality that thrived in these shadows.
As the Short + Sweet short play festival approaches its 20th year in Sydney, it has just pulled through one of its worst, if not the worst, year yet with a handful of delays and interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But they pulled through with aplomb and were finally able to celebrate the close of their 2021 season with the Gala Awards Night.
After Donald Trump’s election in 2016, political analysts, journalists, and general citizens the world over were scratching their heads, wondering where it all went wrong. Many blamed “backwards” religious zealots from mysterious middle America who didn’t know any better. But in the ensuing years, which have seen increased popularity and visibility of far-right ideology, the gap of misunderstanding and miscommunication has only seemed to get bigger.
In the early 20th century, London was developing as a global cultural mecca as international influences, particularly from eastern Asia, were growing in popularity for audiences of poetry, literature, and theatre. From amongst this atmosphere came Lady Precious Stream by SI Hsiung, a play “in the style of traditional Chinese theatre” and based on Chinese folklore. But despite its hit status in 1930s London, the classic has since fallen into obscurity.