Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta announces 2021 program

Orange-Thrower-Kirsty-Marillier-photo-by-Brett-BoardmanRiverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta (NTofP) is set to shake off 2020 with the launch of a bold and inspiring new program.

In 2021, the company will present a series of work featuring fresh new voices; works that speaks to our times and to audiences, drawing inspiration from our community, our lives and stories, and representing them on stage.

In January, as part of Sydney Festival, NTofP will present the world-premiere of James Elazzi’s (Lady Tabouli) Queen Fatima. Directed by Paige Rattray (STC’S The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Belvoir’s Fangirls), this is about Fatima – a baker’s daughter with a boyfriend who doesn’t want to be seen with her – who enters Queen Lebanon Australia to be seen as “blessed” by society as the other contestants. This is an empowering and heart-warming comedy with Fatima claiming her own beauty and unlocking her personal strength.

Also, as part of Sydney Festival, NTofP presents True West – a micro play Festival in celebration of Western Sydney playwrights. The program features readings of Myths and Legends by Jeneffa Soldatic (The Incredible Here and Now), Nicholas Brown (Belvoir’s Counting and Cracking) and Chika Ikogwe (Belvoir’s Fangirls and The Wolves); and CAPTAIN by award-winning filmmaker Shiyan Zheng, a Creative Compass panel about theatre in the west, and an online solo physical performance workshop by Rhum and Clay exploring the development of a dynamic and cinematic performance style.

In March, NTofP celebrates more Western Sydney talent with Launchpad – an independent season, featuring fresh emerging voices. The double bill includes The Sorry Mum Project by Pippa Ellams (The Carousel), a witty observation on life, empathy, regret and reconciliation that takes audiences on a journey from Fairfield RSL to Paris’ Moulin Rouge; and the world-premiere of Let Me Know When You Get Home by Western Sydney writer Miranda Aguilara, a heart-felt narrative on biological and chosen families, friendships, first loves, and ultimately, the universal desire to make a home and be with your tribe.

Live action, interactive video game Zombie Thoughts arrives in May, from Jennifer Kokai and then eleven year old playwright, Oliver Kokai-Means, directed by award-winning director Warwick Doddrell. Zombie Thoughts is a ‘choose your own adventure’ performance with two best friends inside an epic fantasy video game where their deepest darkest fears come to life. Created for children aged eight to 12, audiences will control how the play evolves in a fun, and sometimes slightly scary, virtual world.

The second half of the year brings a co-production with Griffin Theatre Company with award-winning playwright Kirsty Mariller’s Orange Thrower. A quintessential coming-of-age story, Orange Thrower provides a radically fresh perspective on a familiar genre with laugh out loud lines, that stealthily cover uncomfortable truths. From Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award-winning Kirsty Marillier, Orange Thrower will be directed by Zindzi Okenyo in her directorial debut, with Griffin Artistic Director Declan Greene as assistant director.

Also in September, NTofP welcomes back Anchuli Felicia King’s landmark 2019 sold out smash-hit, White Pearl for a strictly limited return season of their co-production with Sydney Theatre Company. Set in the Singapore office of Clearday cosmetics, White Pearl is a ruthlessly entertaining portrait of toxic corporate culture, casual racism and the complexity of pan-Asian relations.

And rounding out the year comes Pulitzer Prize finalist, Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj which explores beauty and power, autocracy and resistance, and conflicting loyalties through a heartbreakingly funny and relatable friendship which is tested and broken by extreme, brutal circumstances. This dark and deep tale is directed by Bali Padda (Lighten up, Sunderella).

“After a crazy year, one thing that has held many of us together are our families and friends, finding humour in dark places and being true to ourselves,” said NTofP Executive Producer, Joanne Kee. “This season explores the complexity of family relationships, finding yourself and finding out where you fit in your tribe.”

“It’s about accepting the idiosyncrasies of those close to you. It’s about finding the strength and power within to own your own space and understand what it is to be human,” said Kee.

Established in 2015, National Theatre of Parramatta has become a force within the Australian theatre landscape, known for its inclusivity and eye for often overlooked talent.

NTofP continues to impress with a line-up of world and Australian premieres, brilliant and far reaching initiatives for local artists and community, with a continued commitment to providing high quality theatre in one of Sydney’s most thriving cultural precincts.

For more information on the program and to book tickets, visit: www.riversideparramatta.com.au for details.

Image: Kirsty Marillier – photo by Brett Boardman