Griffin Theatre Company celebrates 50 years of Australian stories

AAR GT Kindness Christian Byers - photo by Brett BoardmanCelebrating the 50th birthday of the Stables Theatre, in 2020, Griffin Theatre Company will present a main season of five plays featuring fresh new perspectives, heartbreak, adventure and life-affirming joy, plus some special extras.

“The 2020 Season is not a looking back, but a looking forward,” says Griffin’s Artistic Director, Lee Lewis. “Our playwrights have questions for you, challenges for you, laughter to share with you and hope and visions of the future to offer you.”

Family Values
For 50 years, David Williamson has shown us the best and worst of ourselves. A blackly comic drama situated squarely on the fault lines that divide Australia, Directed by Lee Lewis and starring Andrew McFarlane, Family Values is Williamson at his angry best: furious that his generation has retired from defending the socially compassionate values on which they claim to have built this country.  As the Stables turns 50, it is only fitting that our most successful playwright returns to where he began. 17 January – 7 March.

Kindness
Matthew Whittet’s (Seventeen, Girl Asleep) Kindness follows a group of 20-somethings over the course of a single night, as they attempt to gently pull their dear friend Lukas out of a deep and complicated grief that is sucking him down like quicksand. Lee Lewis will direct Christian Byers and Nikita Waldron in this beautiful story about grief, memory, friendship, and the healing power contained within a simple act of kindness. “It’s gentle, insightful, naïve and funny, exploring joy and sadness with the openness and honesty inherent to young minds,” says Lewis. 8 May – 13 June.

Wherever She Wanders
Kendall Feaver (The Almighty Sometimes) is back with a searing new play that dives into the schism between emerging and established feminists. Directed by Lee Lewis, Wherever She Wanders is a compassionate exploration the safety of women in physical and digital spaces and the complex nature of activism in an era where anyone with a social media profile can have a political voice. “Kendall Feaver is well on her way to becoming one of Australia’s fiercest social commentators,” says Lewis. 10 July – 22 August.

Superheroes
Winner of the 2019 Griffin Award and the 2019 Patrick White Award, Mark Rogers’ Superheroes explores the ordinariness of existence in the face of profound situations. The play follows two women a world apart, negotiating their small lives in a time of big politics. Shari Sebbens will direct Dubs Yunupingu and Aleks Mikic in this lyrical and deeply humane story from an exciting new voice. 4 September – 10 October.

Wicked Sisters
Alma De Groen’s Wicked Sisters appeared on the Stables stage in 2002, and it packs even more of a punch today. Ageing, survival, ambition, adultery, blackmail, murder – it’s got it all. Nadia Tass will direct Vanessa Downing, Di Adams and Deborah Galanos in this sharp-fanged revenge tragi-comedy – your must-see for the year! “Alma De Groen’s writing of women was way ahead of its time, and it’s about time she was welcomed back to the Stables and acknowledged for having the courage of her female convictions in a time when that would not help your theatre career,” says Lewis. 6 November – 12 December.

Prima Facie
Winner of the 2018 Griffin Award and fresh off a sold-out season at the Stables, Prima Facie is an indictment of the Australian legal system’s failure to provide reliable pathways to justice for women in rape, sexual assault or harassment cases. It’s a work of fiction, but one that could have been ripped from the headlines of any paper, any day of the week, so common you could cry. Sheridan Harbridge will reprise her electrifying performance in a brief return season at the Seymour Centre before kicking off a national tour. 2 – 12 September.

Special Extras
Debra Oswald’s funny and excruciatingly honest one-woman show Is There Something Wrong With That Lady? is Griffin’s first Special Extra for 2020. Debra will seize the Griffin stage, telling stories about her neurotic childhood, clumsy romantic history, and the anxieties and joys of the writer’s life, while comedian and performer Oliver Twist will use his exceptional storytelling abilities to reflect on his time as a refugee in FEARa powerful and vibrant one-person show.

No Standing. No Dancing. is the latest show from award-winning writer Phil Spencer. An examination of parenthood, Peppa Pig and Patti Smith, it’s a primal scream to reawaken the punk inside us all. A ritual theatre work entrenched in pleasure activism, Betty Grumble’s Enemies of Grooviness – Eat Shit continues her quest for world-saving and love-making through rock ‘n’ roll, protest and poetry. An all-singing, all-howling cabaret du Sex Clown.

Batch Festival returns in 2020 for three smashing weeks of performances by some of the freshest, edgiest and most inventive artists in the country, and Griffin welcomes Australian Theatre for Young People back to the Stables to present three productions: Cusp, The 1s, the 0s and Everything in Between and Soul Trading.

2020 also marks the 50th birthday of Griffin’s home the SBW Stables Theatre, and the company will be celebrating with a range of special programs and events across the year. Subscriptions now on sale. For more information, visit: www.griffintheatre.com.au for details.

Image: Christian Byers to feature in Kindness – photo by Brett Boardman

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