Winner of the 2018 Griffin Award, Suzie Miller’s sharp and poignant play, Prima Facie returns to the Sydney stage, playing at the Seymour Centre from 23 June – 10 July, before touring to the Bille Brown Theatre – Queensland Theatre from 14 July and Geelong Arts Centre from 18 August 2021.
Directed by Helpmann Award winner, Lee Lewis (The Bleeding Tree, The Almighty Sometimes, Kill Climate Deniers), Prima Facie is a rapid-fire and gripping one-woman show that exposes the
shortcomings of a patriarchal justice system where it’s her word against his.
Criminal lawyer Tessa, played by acclaimed actor, Sheridan Harbridge (Channel 7’s The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Belvoir’s Stop Girl), is at the top of her game and knows the law permits no room for emotion.
Tessa loves to win, even when defending clients accused of sexual assault. However, when she finds herself on the other side of the bar, Tessa is forced into the same shadows of doubt she has so ruthlessly cast over other women.
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. Though it is a work of fiction, Miller’s superb script is a story we know all too well.
“The idea behind Prima Facie has been playing out in my mind since my law school days, years before I was a playwright. It was there waiting for me to find the courage to write, and for the right social environment to provide a space for it…,” said Miller.
“Years of practicing as a human rights and criminal defence lawyer did nothing to silence my feminist questioning of the legal system, because while I firmly believe that ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is the bedrock of human rights, it always felt that its application in sexual assault cases served to undermine rather than to uphold any real fairness.”
“Prima Facie is an absorbing, timely play which forces its audience to consider difficult questions and leaves it wrestling with how these questions should be addressed.” – Bill Stephens OAM, Australian Arts Review
Director: Lee Lewis | Starring: Sheridan Harbridge | Set and Costume Designer: Renée Mulder | Lighting Designer: Trent Suidgeest | Composer & Sound Designer: Paul Charlier | Stage Manager: Khym Scott
Reginald Theatre – Seymour Centre, Corner City Road and Cleveland Street, Chippendale (Sydney)
Season: 23 June – 10 July 2021
Bille Brown Theatre – Queensland Theatre, 78 Montague Road, South Brisbane
Season: 14 July – 7 August 2021
Geelong Arts Centre, 81 Ryrie Street, Geelong
Season: 18 – 21 August 2021
For more information, visit: www.griffintheatre.com.au for details.
Image: Sheridan Harbridge – photo by Brett Boardman