After a year of social isolation, the season is comprised of joyful, big-hearted works from incredible theatremakers that reach across our increasingly fractured world – from Gadigal to Gunaikurnai country, from South Africa to Singapore, from cyberspace to outer space.
Griffin will also be presenting some less traditional theatrical experiences, including a work performed live over a nude camming website, a work performed outdoors in Darlinghurst’s Green Park, and a work presented completely in 1:8 miniature.
In 2021, the company will also be making its return to the SBW Stables Theatre after temporarily moving to the Seymour Centre to present the last two shows of its 2020 season.
“Coming into the fold of Griffin during a time of crisis was a pretty wild ride, but the theatre’s period of darkness has only made me more excited about the program of works we’ve assembled for 2021,” said Artistic Director Declan Greene.
“After one year (and counting) of enormous change and resilience, this is the perfect time for Australian theatre to bounce back with a vengeance, to push the envelope of what’s possible, and to give our audiences the chance to be surprised, shocked and entertained over and over again.”
“All the works in our 2021 Season are drastically different, but they’re all unified by their urgent look to Australia’s possible futures. I can’t wait for audiences to visit the Stables again and be greeted with a dual sense of the familiar and the new. Bring on 2021!”
Griffin Theatre Company’s 2021 Season:
Green Park: 5 February – 6 March
Kicking off 2021, Griffin will be leaving its home at the SBW Stables to wander down the road to Green Park. Outside the rotunda, audience members will be outfitted with a set of headphones. And together, they will eavesdrop on playwright Elias Jamieson Brown’s finely wrought Darlinghurst noir. To everyone else, the two men talking on a bench might not look like much. But in the gloom of the setting sun, you’ll experience a dangerous psycho-sexual collision… in a very public place. Director: Declan Greene.
SBW Stables Theatre: 30 April – 5 June
In alpine Victoria, on Gunaikurnai country, a woman is on the hunt for feral dogs after finding her flock of sheep dead. She camps down, thinking she’s alone, but from deep between the eucalypts, a dingo watches her, waiting for the slightest show of weakness. Andrea James and Catherine Ryan’s startlingly poetic, tender and violent Dogged sees a bloody confrontation between two elemental forces played out on contested territory. Director: Declan Greene. Associate Director: Danielle Micich. Presented in association with Force Majeure.
Wherever She Wanders
SBW Stables Theatre: 9 July – 14 August
Kendall Feaver’s brilliant Wherever She Wanders will finally take to the stage in July after being rescheduled from Griffin’s 2020 season. University student Nikki Gonçalves is on a collision course with Jo Mulligan, the first female Master of the oldest residential college on campus. A complaint is made, loyalties are divided, and both women find themselves embroiled in an online media storm where there are no certain winners. On the surface, Wherever She Wanders is about rape culture at Australian university colleges. But it’s also a play about activism in an era when anyone with access to a smartphone can have a political voice, and where increasing disconnection is being felt between generations of feminist women. Director: Tessa Leong. Designer: Ella Butler. With: Emily Havea, Heather Mitchell, Mark Paguio and Julia Robertson.
SBW Stables Theatre: 20 August – 25 September
August brings Kirsty Marillier’s Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award-winning Orange Thrower to the SBW Stables Theatre. While her parents are away in Johannesburg, Zadie is charged with looking after the family home in the suburban sprawl of Paradise. Suddenly, night after night, the house is pelted with oranges. Maybe it’s nothing, or maybe someone in Paradise wants them out. A quintessential coming-of-age story, Orange Thrower provides a radically fresh perspective on a familiar genre, starring Marillier herself as Zadie. Director: Zindzi Okenyo. With: Kirsty Marillier. A co-production with National Theatre of Parramatta.
SBW Stables Theatre: 12 November – 18 December
The unstoppable acting-writing polymath Merlynn Tong stars in Golden Blood, based on her own incredible (kind-of) true story. When her mother dies, an orphaned girl is left alone in Singapore in the care of her estranged brother. Problem #1: he’s only a few years older than her. Problem #2: he’s a gangster. Her brother envisions a life of luxury for him and his new dependant. But what is the spiritual trade-off for living in this kind of luxury? What should be kept in this world, and what should be offered to the next? As it turns out, their late mother has some strong opinions on the matter. Director: Tessa Leong. With: Merlynn Tong. Presented in a unique partnership with Melbourne Theatre Company. Developed through MTC’s Next Stage Program, supported by MTC’s Playwrights Giving Circle.
In addition to the Main Season, Griffin will be presenting two shows as part of a brand new artist development program. With an eye fixed on the future, Griffin Lookout is about nurturing and supporting the next generation of exceptional independent theatremakers. As part of the inaugural Griffin Lookout season, the company is presenting Jali – a vibrant and emotional journey from comedian and performer Oliver Twist; and UFO by Kirby Medway and Solomon Thomas, a work of sci-fi theatre performed entirely in 1:8 miniature.
The SBW Stables Theatre will also play host to two Special Events throughout the year: Debra Oswald’s hilarious and heartwarming one-woman show Is There Something Wrong With That Lady? – rescheduled from Griffin’s 2020 Season; and Pleasuredome by Xanthe Dobbie and Harriet Gillies (returning for a strictly limited season as part of Sydney Festival). When Griffin first presented Pleasuredome in 2020, it was only online for 24 hours but still managed to rack up thousands of views, so it is not one to be missed.
Additionally, Suzie Miller’s Prima Facie will make a much-anticipated return to the Seymour Centre stage in June, following a sold-out season at the Stables in 2019.
Subscriptions for Griffin’s 2021 season are on sale now. For more information, visit: www.griffintheatre.com.au for details.
Image: (top l-r) Elias Jamieson Brown – photo by Brett Boardman; Dogged by Brett Boardman; Emily Havea and Heather Mitchell – photo by Brett Boardman; and Kirsty Marillier – photo by Brett Boardman / (bottom l-r) Merlynn Tong – photo by David Kelly; Oliver Twist – photo by Brett Boardman; Debra Oswald – photo by Brett Boardman; and Sheridan Harbridge – photo by Brett Boardman