New Theatre Consensual - photo by Bob SearyAn explosive and thought-provoking piece of play exploring what happens when buried secrets catch up with you, New Theatre presents the Australian premiere season of Consensual from one of Britain’s most exciting new voices, Evan Placey.

High school teacher Diane is responsible for guiding a group of impressionable teenagers through the minefield that is ‘sex education’. Then ex-student Freddie turns up. She hasn’t seen him since a fateful night six years earlier when he was fifteen. She thinks he took advantage of her; he thinks that she groomed him for months. Neither is sure. But when it comes to sex and consent, how far can you blur the lines?

A NIDA graduate (Acting) and one of Sydney’s most respected teachers of drama, New Theatre is pleased to welcome Johann Walraven to direct this production. “The idea of right and wrong is an attractive one, but ultimately flawed when dealing with human relationships,” says Walraven. “It was this question – who is in the right? –  that first attracted me to the play. Sometimes it’s an impossible one to answer.”

Interested in questions of responsibility, Walraven investigates how we are all culpable in some way to the potential damage we inflict on young people. “It’s incumbent on us to include them in our discussions on how to navigate their safety better,” says Walraven. “This is what I hope audiences will get out of seeing the play – rather than assign blame,  encourage discussion as to how things went wrong for all parties in Consensual and how we can be involved in change for the better.”

Throughout his career, playwright Evan Placey has been committed to writing theatre for young people. He doesn’t believe in censoring the world: he tries to write honest plays for teenage audiences to help them make up their own minds. He’s even published an anthology: Girls Like That and other plays for teenagers and his introduction (published in The Guardian) makes for fascinating reading.

Placey is a Canadian-British playwright who grew up in Toronto and now lives in London. In addition to Consensual, his plays include: Girls Like That; Mother of Him; Banana Boys; Suicide(s) in Vegas; Scarberia; How Was It For You?; Holloway Jones, and Pronoun. His work for radio includes Mother of Him (BBC Radio 3/Little Brother Productions). Placey is a Creative Fellow and Lecturer at the University of Southampton, and he also teaches playwriting to young people for various theatres, and also in prisons.

Director: Johann Walraven Featuring: Callum Alexander, Michael Brindley, Claire Crighton, Rhys Johnson, Eloise Martin-Jones, Eliza Nicholls, Eamon O’Flynn, Celeste Reardon, Lauren Richardson, Natasha Rose, Anton Smilek, Nicole Toum, Benjamin Vickers, Paul Whiddon, Emma Wright Set & Costume Designer: Renee Halse Lighting Designer: Liam O’Keefe Sound Designer: Jed Silver Production Manager: Sahn Millington Stage Manager: Veda Best Assistant Stage Manager: Tom Aldous

New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown
Season continues to 15 April 2017
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Image: New Theatre presents Consensual – photo by Bob Seary