nurturing the new

keith gallasch: sydney theatre company, next stage 2011

Africa, My Darling Patricia

Africa, My Darling Patricia

THE LAUNCH OF NEXT STAGE 2011 WAS HOT. THE TEMPERATURE WAS UP, THE WHARF 2 FOYER CRAMMED WITH ENTHUSIASTIC 20 SOMETHINGS AND ARTISTS THRILLED TO BE IN THE PROGRAM WHICH STC ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR TOM WRIGHT AND LITERARY MANAGER POLLY ROWE OUTLINED IN A NEAT DOUBLE ACT FOLLOWED BY A FEW WORDS EACH FROM DIRECTORS AND PERFORMERS.

Next Stage is focused on development, emerging artists, providing alternatives to the STC’s main program, attracting a different audience, “not trying to please everyone all the time” and “not setting expectations too high” for new works. Tickets are $25 and there’s a free beer per ticket offer.

First up in Next Stage 2011 is German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig’s Before/After, directed by Cristabel Sved, who spoke mid-rehearsal of “the luxury of all working together and with all the languages of the stage being used.” A nice change from the challenges of resource-scarce independent theatre. With its 51 short scenes the play should provide a fascinating companion piece to the STC mainstage production of German writer Botho Strauss’ epic Big and Little Scenes.

Sam Routledge a collaborator with contemporary performance group My Darling Patricia expressed the group’s pleasure at being in Next Stage with Africa, originally a Malthouse commission, and outlined the origins of the work in the true story of German children caught running away to Africa. Told with puppets and broken toys, Africa presents a magical Australian perspective on childhood pain and fantasy.

Another innovative Sydney-based performance group, Post, in typical form stacked on a stand-up turn anticipating the themes and fun antagonism of their new work Who’s The Best? which was developed with Next Stage’s support in 2010.

Also developed in 2010, Money Shots will feature 15-minute plays about money by Tahli Corin, Duncan Graham, Angus Cerini, Rita Kalnejais, Zoe Pepper and The Suitcase Royale, directed by Richard Wherrett Fellow Sarah Giles and designed by Alice Babidge. As well the program continues the Rough Drafts series, week-long creative developments followed by free showings that allow audiences to track the growth of a play.

The heat’s on: Next Stage 2011 promises intense diversity of form as well as the means for hot-housing new work from a fascinating range of theatre and contemporary performance artists.

Sydney Theatre Company, Next Stage 2011; for season dates see
www.nextstage2011.com.au/

RealTime issue #101 Feb-March 2011 pg. 41

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 February 2011
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