Kate Mulvany is an award-winning Australian playwright and screenwriter, as well as being an acclaimed actor whose portrayal of Richard III recently won her a Helpmann Award. In 2015, she was our Patrick White Fellow here at STC, and working on her adaptation of Ruth Park's trilogy of novels – Missus, The Harp in the South and Poor Man's Orange. In 2018, that adaptation reaches the stage in an epic two-part production.
What interested you in adapting Ruth Park's work for theatre?
Ruth Park’s masterful storytelling is ripe for the stage. It’s filled with rich characters, cultural complexities, and gives us an insight into ourselves and our city that is as relevant and resonant today as when she wrote the books.
When Ruth wrote Harp, it’s like she looked into the past, the present and the future of Sydney – and Australia – all at once. I wanted to challenge myself and our audiences to do the same.
What can audiences expect from this epic two-parter?
Audiences will be treated to an event rather than just a night in the theatre. We will make them laugh and break their hearts, as we tell a beautiful story of generational survival. But, most importantly, they will come in as theatregoers and leave as a community, and hopefully see their city, and one another, through new eyes.
You wrote the adaptation while a Patrick White Fellow here at STC. What was that experience like?
The Patrick White Fellowship meant I got a desk to myself in the biggest theatre company in Australia – that’s a good start!
I also shared my surrounds with Kip Williams, Sarah Goodes, Paige Rattray, Polly Rowe – so I could pick their brains at any time when I needed to, and they could do the same with me. It was a buzzing little hive of creation and I feel so lucky that the The Harp in the South stage play formed itself surrounded by such inspiring minds.
The Harp in the South: Part One and Part Two, 16 Aug – 6 Oct 2018, Roslyn Packer Theatre
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