Tom's picks for July - Community Theatre

17 Jul 2013

The latest recommendations from our Literary Manager



Each month Tom delves into our extensive catalogue and suggests plays suitable for classroom use, for tertiary study and performance and for community theatre groups. You can also get these recommendations delivered via email, by signing up here.



by Hannie Rayson

by Michael Gow

Recommended for community theatre

I’m going back in to the vault this month – not too deep, but we’re going back a few years to two plays that were big successes at the time of initial production and, like so many Australian plays, need and deserve reviving. This is, I reckon, one of the biggest tasks ahead of us as a ‘cultural nation’, and I think the community sector could be leaders in this regard. Of course, the ‘need’ to revive works is never the most inspiring reason to choose a play, but the great thing with both of these these plays is that they are funny, heartwarming and very engaging – so the audiences will dig them! Win-win!!
When Hannie Rayson’s Life After George premiered at the Melbourne Theatre Company in 1999, audiences went wild for it. The story centres around three women, all of whom were, at different stages, married to the same man. Set in and around the world of academia, this is wry and touching all at once. It has wonderful roles for women, ranging from very young to mature, and (like all of Rayson’s plays) lays the Australian middle class mores way open. There is heaps of fun to be had here for directors and designers and very meaty and satisfying roles for actors.
Sweet Phoebe had its premiere at Sydney Theatre Company in the early 90s and featured a very young Cate Blanchett (opposite our current theatre ‘bad boy’ Colin Moody). It sparked somewhat of a controversy at the time due to an argument over intellectual property which, for a while, dominated the play’s reception. It is a really sharp and funny two-hander about a couple who agree to look after a dog for a weekend and then promptly lose it. It is shot through with Gow’s characteristic wit and bite and is a fantastic opportunity for two smart and versatile actors.

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Since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts and Music (VCAM) in 1989 Tom Healey has worked as an actor, a director and a dramaturg with companies and projects around the nation. Positions held include Curator of the Australian National Playwrights’ Conference (2006), Artistic Associate of Playbox (1999-2003), Artistic Directorate (Hothouse Theatre 2006-09), Casting Consultant and Artistic Counsel (Malthouse Theatre 2005-07) and Panellist (Arts Victoria Performance Panel). As a dramaturg he has worked with Australian playwrights both emerging and established, and he has directed premieres of many new Australian works. He has also directed and developed works in contemporary opera, cabaret and music theatre and taught at the universities of Melbourne, Ballarat and La Trobe as well as the VCAM and NIDA. Tom is currently the Literary Manager of the Australian Script Centre.

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