In the Club to make Melbourne premiere this October

TW-In-the-Club-photo-by-James-ReiserRounding out a year that sees iconic Australian writer Patricia Cornelius being celebrated by some of our most prestigious theatre companies comes the Melbourne premiere season of her powerful and pulsating work, In the Club, at Theatre Works this October.

With Do Not Go Gentle playing to rave reviews at Sydney Theatre Company earlier this year and My Sister Jill currently playing at the Melbourne Theatre Company, this last offering for the year from one of our most awarded and uncompromising playwrights promises to challenge, provoke, and shine a fierce light on the ingrained sexual violence embedded in one of our most revered sporting pastimes.

In the Club joins Annie, Ruby, and Olivia as they head out for the night. They just want to get loose, get laid, and get love… but they are women in a world of men. And not just any men – Gods among men – their beloved boys of the AFL. And the rules of the game out in the world of the night club are merciless, the lines of division are very clear. Toe that line or cop the foul.

With an outstanding team working on this premiere season, In the Club will be directed by Kitan Petkovski (The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven, Burgerz) who is the 2023 directing recipient of the Besen Family Artist Program with Malthouse Theatre and currently working on My Sister Jill at the MTC as Assistant Director to Susie Dee.

“I am drawn to work that confronts gender dynamics and inherent power imbalances within public spaces, and how we are all equally responsible for each other’s safety.” explains Kitan Petkovski. “In the Club is a play about gender violence and, to be frank, it’s not for the faint hearted.

“Will it be entertaining? Absolutely. We’re in a night club and people go out to have a good time. But a good night out can quickly turn into the unimaginable. Patricia’s poetic text not only packs a punch, it’s a masterclass in structure and how it can be used to befriend your audience,” said Petkovski.

In the Club premieres hot on the heels of the 2023 AFL Grand Final – a day that regularly sees public brawls, mass alcohol consumption, and coincides with a 20% rise in family violence. Celebrated by many, it is also dreaded by others.

“I’m very excited to see In the Club performed in Melbourne, the heartland of footy,” says Writer Patricia Cornelius. “The behaviour of young men in their prime, at the top of their game, who are protected by their clubs and the AFL is often not only shocking, but also criminal.”

“The abuse of women attached to men and sport, and Aussie Rules in particular, has not waned. It has continued to be kept quiet, to be excused, to remain protected. High time for this production. This is a play that takes on the footy world.”

Co-produced by Theatre Works and Edinburgh Fringe First Award-winning theatre company Bullet Heart Club, In The Club is a powerful and compelling work that will be realised on the stage by a team of exceptional artists.

With set and costume design by Bethany J Fellows and lighting design by Niklas Pajanti, In the Club will be performed by Brigid Gallacher, Eva Seymour, Michelle Perera, Damien Harrison, Darcy Kent and Ras-Samuel Welda’abzgi and include music production by Green Room nominated composer Robert Downie.

Given the intensely challenging aspects of this season, domestic and family violence consultant Lizette Twisleton (No to Violence) has been brought to the production to ground the project in best practice and open up safe conversations.

This creates an avenue to collaborate with the arts sector in regard to forums, social media engagements and resources for In the Club, and is also done to support a meaningful commitment to audiences.

Running for 11 performances only, this highly anticipated season of Cornelius’ brutally poignant play bravely lifts the lid on a difficult subject and exposes unwritten rules. In the Club is a powerful and pertinent addition to the Victorian Arts Calendar – not to be missed!

In the Club
Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Season continues to 11 November 2023
Information and Bookings:

Image: (L-R) Ras-Samuel, Damien Harrison, Eva Seymour (floor), Darcy Kent, Michelle Perera and Brigid Gallacher (top) – photo by James Reiser