Multi award-winning playwright Patricia Cornelius will kick-start State Theatre Company South Australia’s 2018 season with the world premiere of In The Club – a bold and timely piece highlighting women’s accounts of sexual assault within the football fraternity.
Commissioned especially for the State Theatre Company Ensemble, In The Club will debut at Norwood’s Odeon Theatre as part of the Adelaide Festival of Arts. It is told from the perspective of three women and delves into the sometimes dark off-field culture of the male sporting world, investigating the conditions that create “pack behaviour” and the damaging consequences that can occur for women.
It’s the type of uninhibited theatre that audiences have come to expect from Melbourne-based Cornelius, who has written 25 plays on topics investigating the place of the disenfranchised within Australian society. These works include the highly awarded Do Not Go Gentle and Sydney Festival hit, Shit.
“Australians love our footy rules,” says Cornelius. “We’re mad for it. We love “our boys”. We love the way they rise up to mark the ball. We love how they go in hard. We love the cheek of it when they sneak a goal in the moment the siren calls. We forgive them for almost anything.”
“They’re our champions and we don’t want to see them fall. In the Club examines how we allow our champions to believe they are invincible, to take whatever risks come their way, and worst of all, how they can behave in brutal and lawless ways.”
The play will be almost cinematic in its speed and transition, with a multi-layered projection design and music from British composer Gazelle Twin – one of the world’s most innovative electronic composers. Set and lighting designers Geoff Cobham and Chris Petridis will take inspiration from the work of contemporary video artist Bill Viola, transforming the stage into a glistening pool separated by walls of water.
Director Geordie Brookman says Cornelius has been “one of the bravest and most exciting writers in the country for two decades now. She writes a kind of rough poetry that isn’t quite naturalistic and yet contains a massive emotional payload,” he says.
“When the Ensemble and I thought about writers we would be excited to create a new work with, Patricia was top of the list. I think she’ll stretch and challenge our Ensemble’s ability in exactly the right way.”
Director: Geordie Brookman Featuring: Rachel Burke, Miranda Daughtry, Anna Steen, Rashidi Edward, Dale March, Nathan O’Keefe Set and Lighting Design: Geoff Cobham and Chris Petridis Music: Gazelle Twin (UK) Sound Design: Andrew Howard
In the Club
Odeon Theatre, 57a Queen St, Norwood
Season: 27 February – 18 March 2018 (previews: 23 – 26 February)
Information and Bookings: www.statetheatrecompany.com.au
Image: Rachel Burke stars in In The Club – photo by James Hartley