After two successful years of operation at the intimate 63-seat Old Fitz Theatre, welcoming more than 32,000 people to 65 different shows, Red Line Productions have planned an even bigger season for 2017. Becoming known as a space which sees actors and creatives making brave and exciting choices and creating high-quality theatre, Red Line Productions has programmed ten main stage plays that will require more fearlessness and honesty from artists and audiences.
Artistic Director Andrew Henry has titled the 2017 season UNSPOKEN. “What is it that is too hard to say? What is it that we can’t say? What are the consequences? What are the pains and joys unleashed by our decision to speak truthfully or cautiously?” asks Henry. “Being honest, with yourself or others, is something often very hard to do when dealing with difficult situations, themes or questions but in next year’s season, honesty is the only real answer.”
2016 brought record-breaking crowds to the Old Fitz Theatre and Henry is overwhelmed with the growing support that he is confident will continue into the Old Fitz Theatre’s 20th year.
“I’m extremely proud of how far we’ve come in such a short time and I’m glad that audiences and our peers have been running alongside us the whole way. We’re constantly aiming to challenge ourselves and our audiences, and the support we’ve received has been the driving force. The Old Fitz has meant so much to many generations of theatre makers and we’re proud to be continuing the legacy, and to be celebrating its 20th anniversary. It is a privilege to stand on the shoulders of the giants who found, built and created ‘the Fitz’.”
With a commitment to creating new Australian work, 2017 introduces The New Fitz, a program that will welcome ten Australian writers and five resident directors to the company to create ten new forty-minute plays to be staged alongside the main stage season. Each of the writers has been sent a main stage script as the basis of putting pen to paper. This program is supported by Playwriting Australia, the Thyne Reid Foundation and program ambassador Louis Nowra, and will take the place of the Late Shows season throughout 2017. The New Fitz writers are Virginia Gay, Benedict Hardie, Clare Hennessy, Samantha Hill, Michael McStay, Charles O’Grady, Sam O’Sullivan, Katie Pollock, Brooke Robinson and Katy Warner. The five resident directors who have been selected to helm two productions each are Michael Abercrombie, Lucy Clements, Sean Hawkins, Madeline Humphries and Carissa Licciardello.
Kicking off the 2017 season was the world premiere of Jeanette Cronin’s I Hate You My Mother, in which two actors portray ten characters spanning four centuries while grappling with revenge and retribution. This month we were delighted as Josh Quong Tart made a star-turn as Oscar Wilde in David Hare’s emotionally charged The Judas Kiss, followed by Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning tragi-comedy Crimes of the Heart that tenderly examines the effects that an untimely death has on a trio of sisters. The lives of two American marines and an Iraqi translator are forever changed by an encounter with a quick-witted tiger who haunts the streets of war-torn Baghdad in the Sydney premiere of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph. Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley is a powerful clash of authority, tradition, responsibility and faith when a teacher is suspected of sexually abusing a student. Provocative, hilarious and absolutely crucial, the Sydney premiere of Penelope Skinner’s The Village Bike is a darkly comic upending of presumptions about sexuality and pornography. An exciting inclusion in the 2017 season is a new play by Louis Nowra, This Much Is True, which continues the story of an older Lewis from Summer of the Aliens and Cosi, now living in an inner-city suburb filled with public housing, the underclass and characters who could only exist in such a place. Sarah Kane’s final play before losing her battle with mental illness, 4:48 Psychosis, is written without characters or stage descriptions and is a uniquely dark and harrowing insight into parts of the mind very few of us experience but from which some can never escape. The Australian premiere of The Night Alive by Conor McPherson deftly mines the humanity to be found in the most unlikely of situations, and Arthur Miller’s classic A View From the Bridge rounds out the season in a new production directed by Iain Sinclair.
Red Line Productions looks forward to another season of fiercely honest theatre and to celebrate the Old Fitz Theatre’s 20th year. Welcome to UNSPOKEN.