Continuing their commitment to the development of new Australian writing, Belvoir presents the world premiere season of The Sugar House by critically-acclaimed playwright, Alana Valentine, in the Upstairs Theatre until 3 June 2018.
Narelle is a high achiever with working-class roots and political clout. But something keeps pulling her back to Pyrmont. This peninsula was her family’s bedrock, and the home of her extraordinary grandmother June, who held everything together through the decades: a son’s brush with the law, a daughter’s battles with demons, a husband’s decline.
Life revolved around the sugar refinery. For a time this was the sweetest neighbourhood in the country. But the family foundation, like the sugar, has dissolved away. Narelle knows she cannot fix the past, but perhaps she can fix the future.
The Sugar House is a story of Sydney – work, corruption, and brutal social change. It is a story of how Australia went from working class to middle class, set in the back-streets of Pyrmont. At its heart, however, The Sugar House is about family, in particular, three generations of women, going back to the factory days of the 1960’s – women who have borne witness to and taken part in some of the most pivotal times of the past 50 years.
This is a play about family. It’s also a Sydney story. It takes us from the Pyrmont of the factories and the working class to the Pyrmont of today, said Eamon Flack, Belvoir’s Artistic Director. “But the soul of the play is family, particularly three extraordinary women.”
“The battle for the heart and soul of Sydney is ongoing and has been since our grandmothers were kids. How did we get this prosperity and how have we really paid for it? Alana Valentine has written a gift to Sydney in The Sugar House”.
Directed by MTC Associate Director Sarah Goodes (MTC’s Helpmann Award nominated John and Belvoir’s The Sweetest Thing), The Sugar House features a trio of extraordinary performances from three leading women, Kris McQuade (TV’s Wentworth, Rosehaven and Belvoir’s Cloudstreet), Sheridan Harbridge (The Dog, The Cat), and Sacha Horler (The ABC’s Sando). They are joined by Lex Marinos, Josh McConville and Nikki Shiels (The Rover).
Alana Valentine is a multi-award winning playwright and songwriter. Her many plays include Ladies Day, Parramatta Girls, Run Rabbit Run, Head Full of Love, Letters to Lindy and Barbara and the Camp Dogs (co-written with Ursula Yovich). Valentine is again working with Bangarra Dance Theatre as dramaturg on Dark Emu, after her successful collaborations on Bennelong, Patyegarang and ID.
In addition to The Sugar House, Sport For Jove will present Ear to the Edge of Time and Merrigong Theatre Company will tour Letters to Lindy nationally in 2018. Currency Press has recently published Bowerbird: The art of making theatre drawn from life. Valentine is currently the co-recipient of a writing fellowship at the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney.
Playwright: Alana Valentine Director: Sarah Goodes Featuring: Sheridan Harbridge, Sacha Horler, Lex Marinos, Josh McConville, Kris McQuade, Nikki Shiels Set Designer: Michael Hankin Costume Designer: Emma Vine Lighting Designer: Damien Cooper Composer: Steve Francis Sound Designer: Michael Toisuta Movement Director: Nigel Poulton Stage Manager: Isabella Kerdijk Assistant Stage Manager: Keiren Smith
The Sugar House
Upstairs Theatre – Belvoir St Theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills
Season continues to 3 June 2018
Information and Bookings: www.belvoir.com.au
Image: Kris McQuade – photo by Daniel Boud