21 Years of Red Stitch Actors Theatre

AAR-RSAT-Monument-Sarah-SutherlandLast night (Thursday 27 October), Red Stitch celebrated its 21st birthday, revealing part of its 2023 season – welcoming a new era of contemporary and groundbreaking work with a strong focus on new writing that is timely, character driven and shines light on the ensemble.

Kicking off in the new year, the season opens with the World premiere of Wittenoom – a beautifully written, fictional drama that follows Dot and her daughter, Pearl, making the most out of life in the remote mining town now synonymous with blue asbestos.

Wittenoom weaves their personal stories into the frame of the broader Australian mining industry, in an evocative drama that raises questions of accountability and embraces the fragility of life that is here, and now.

Developed as part of the Red Stitch INK writing program, the project has already won its author, Mary-Anne Butler, the Shane and Cathryn Brennan Prize for Playwriting through the Australian Writers Guild. It stars Emily Goddard and Caroline Lee OAM, directed by Susie Dee.

The Australian premiere of Sylvia Khoury’s Pulitzer nominated drama, Selling Kabul, will take to the stage in April and feature ensemble member, Khisraw Jones-Shukoor. The play powerfully portrays the humanity and courage of one Afghan family in Kabul, 2013, when the USA had just begun a major withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

On the eve of his son’s birth, Taroon takes shelter with his sister, Afiya, and her husband, Jawid. Taroon was an interpreter for the US military and is waiting for news on his visa application. Desperate to see his wife and baby, he must risk the lives of everyone he loves by venturing to the hospital.

August will bring a change of pace, with the INK World premiere of Monument by 2022 Max Afford Playwrights Award Finalist, Emily Sheehan. Edith Aldridge is the youngest woman to be elected leader of her country.

In a lush presidential suite in a heritage listed hotel, she has just ninety minutes to get ready for the biggest day of her life Enter Rosie, a twenty-two-year-old makeup artist from the David Jones counter, sent to help Edith get camera-ready. In Rosie’s capable hands, this morning will be a breeze. So long as they both stick to the brief.

Directed by Red Stitch’s own Artistic Director, Ella Caldwell, and featuring Sarah Sutherland, Monument is a sharp, funny new Australian play exploring power, privilege, and persona.

“The evening is about celebrating the renewal and evolution of Red Stitch, the impact it has had on the theatrical landscape over more than two decades, and the thousands of local artists and arts workers who have made the company what it is,” said Red Stitch Artistic Director, Ella Caldwell.

“We are optimistic about the future; Red Stitch’s powerful support of new Australian writing is demonstrated again in our upcoming season, and we’ll continue to bring exciting international plays to the stage that you won’t see anywhere else in Melbourne.”

“This event is also a chance to celebrate the resilience and brilliance of live performing arts in this country more broadly, because we all work together to contribute to the vibrancy that audiences experience,” said Caldwell.

The remaining productions for Season 2023 will be revealed in the coming months. For more information, visit: www.redstitch.net for details.

Image: Sarah Sutherland stars in Monument – courtesy of Red Stitch