Based on John Steinbeck’s personal journey through the migrant camps of 1930s California, New Theatre presents Frank Galati’s adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath for a limited season until 7 September 2019.
Across the Midwest of America in the 1930s, a combination of dust storms which devastated farmlands and the eviction of tenant farmers drove thousands to leave their homes and hit the road, desperately hoping to find work and a better life in the fertile valleys of California.
The Joads are one such family. Loading their few possessions onto a battered old truck, they join the great migration west along Route 66, dealing with intolerance, exploitation, death and deprivation along the way. But when they reach their ‘promised land’, the family’s dreams are dashed by the realities of the Great Depression.
Renowned first as a novel, winning Steinbeck the Pulitzer Prize, and then as an Academy Award-winning motion picture starring Henry Fonda, this acclaimed adaptation was Steppenwolf Theatre’s first Broadway production, winning the Tony Award for Best Play (1990).
The Grapes of Wrath is an epic story of courage, determination, and survival against the odds. It is a soaring and deeply moving affirmation of goodness and strength in the face of adversity and the indomitability of the human spirit.
The New Theatre has always been passionate about telling socially significant stories, and this classic tale of migrants seeking a better life will resonate strongly with those of us living in contemporary Australia, the ‘promised land’ for so many from the world’s current trouble-spots.
“I was strongly attracted to the scope of this play, and the profound humanity of the story.” says Director Louise Fischer. “Pursuing your dreams and searching for a better life are intrinsic human qualities.”
“Frank Galati has managed to craft a magnificent theatrical text out of Steinbeck’s sweeping novel, marrying both epic scenes and intimate moments, and it’s been thrilling to work with the actors and my design and production team to flesh it out and find our own style of storytelling.”
Fischer is also Artistic Director of New Theatre, with her most recent production being last year’s hit August: Osage County. “Ironically, The Grapes of Wrath has a strong connection to August: Osage County; the latter is a tale of modern-day Oklahoma, and its older characters are profoundly affected by childhoods spent in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Plus – both plays were originally developed and produced by Steppenwolf Theatre Company.”
Director: Louise Fischer Featuring: Matthew Abotomey, Peter David Allison, William Baltyn, James Bean, Ted Crosby, Shayne de Groot, Jennie Dibley, Simon Emmerson, Angus Evans, Peter Irving Smith, Brittany Johnson, Caroline Levien, Madeline MacRae, Ryan Madden, Kirsty McKenzie, Rowena McNicol, Matthew Raven, Andrew Simpson, Lily Stirling, Loki Texilake Set Designer: Tom Bannerman Lighting Designer: Michael Schell Sound Designer: David Cashman Costume Designer: Sharna Graham Vision Designer: Christina Hatzis Choreographer: Victoria Lewis Assistant Director: Brett Heath Production Manager: Rosane McNamara Stage Manager: Alexis Worthing Assistant Stage Manager: Shayne de Groot Operators: Ricci Costa, Sasha Morrow
The Grapes of Wrath
New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown
Season continues to 7 September 2019
Information and Bookings: www.newtheatre.org.au
Image: The Grapes of Wrath – photo by Bob Seary