Magazine

Rules for Living digital program note

Date posted: 20 Oct 2020Author: STC Production: Rules for Living


Sydney Theatre Company Presents

RULES FOR LIVING

By Sam Holcroft

 

EMMA
Ella Jacob
MATTHEW
Keegan Joyce
NICOLE    
Amber McMahon
ADAM   
Hazem Shammas
FRANCIS  
Bruce Spence
EDITH   
Sonia Todd
CARRIE
Nikita Waldron
UNDERSTUDY (FRANCIS)  
Tony Cogin
UNDERSTUDY (EDITH)   
Beth Daly
UNDERSTUDY (ADAM/MATTHEW)
Yalin Ozucelik
UNDERSTUDY (CARRIE/NICOLE)
Matilda Ridgway
 

DIRECTOR
Susanna Dowling
DESIGNER
Charles Davis
LIGHTING DESIGNER
Sian James-Holland
AV DESIGNER
Laura Turner
COMPOSER & SOUND DESIGNER
James Brown
MOVEMENT DIRECTOR
Tom Hodgson
FIGHT DIRECTOR
Nigel Poulton
VOICE & TEXT COACH
Danielle Roffe
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
Carissa Licciardello

PRODUCTION MANAGER 
Lauren Makin
PRODUCTION MANAGER
Genevieve Jones
STAGE MANAGER
Todd Eichorn
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER
Brooke Kiss
LIGHTING SUPERVISOR
Kayla Burrett
LIGHTING SUPERVISOR
Jeff Wheeler
SOUND SUPERVISOR
Kevin White
SOUND OPERATOR
Sam Harper
VIDEO SUPERVISOR
Hayley Forward
STAGING SUPERVISOR
Chris Fleming
COSTUME COORDINATOR
Scott Fisher
COSTUME SUPERVISOR
Alicia Brown
COSTUME DAY MAINTENANCE 
Simone Edwards
COSTUME DAY MAINTENANCE
Kim Chang

 

2HRS 10MINS (INCLUDING INTERVAL)

Rules for Living was first performed at the Dorfman Theatre, National Theatre, London, on 13th March 2015.

This production of Rules for Living premiered on 2 November 2020 at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House.

 

PRESENTING PARTNER  

PRODUCTION PATRON


A MESSAGE FROM OUR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR KIP WILLIAMS

 

It feels both strange and wonderful to be writing to you on the eve of a new show opening, with another show just closed (Wonnangatta) and a third well into rehearsals (The Picture of Dorian Gray). Our offices are slowly filling as fewer admin staff are working from home, our workshops are in overdrive putting the finishing touches on sets and costumes, and, most excitingly, we’re seeing all of you in our foyers again – I don’t want to speak too soon but does feel like we’re approaching something like a return to normality.

It seems appropriate then, in this time that we’re considering and reconsidering what ‘normal’ looks like, to be presenting Sam Holcroft’s Rules for Living. It is a piece that beautifully illuminates the absurdity that lives just below the surface of everyday life and playfully skewers what many of us consider ‘polite society’.

Holcroft is one of a group of truly exciting young female playwrights shaking up the English theatre scene, along with the likes of Lucy Kirkwood (Chimerica, Mosquitoes) and Ella Hickson (Oil, The Writer). What sets these writers apart is their bold and unapologetic penchant for exploring the biggest and most complex issues of our time through the lens of engaging, relatable and ultimately very human stories. 

Rules for Living is, on one level, a joyful and hilarious Christmas play with a razor sharp ear for the type of family dynamics many of us will be familiar with. But it is also a very sensitive exploration of the ways we live together now and the tools we have to better understand one another. It also shows us the way those tools, imperfect as they are, can fail. In light of the year we’ve had, when so many people have been forced to think deeply about where they live and who they live with, this play feels more vital and timely than ever.

I’m also thrilled to welcome Susanna Dowling back to the company, in her directorial debut. I had the pleasure of having Susanna as my Assistant Director on my production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and have been greatly impressed with a number of her productions, including a knockout version of Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls that she staged at NIDA in 2015. It’s a real pleasure to combine these two great talents, Holcroft and Dowling, for what also happens to be Holcroft’s Sydney mainstage debut.

At STC we relish producing work of all shapes and sizes, but there is something very special about staging a boisterous and energetic ensemble comedy, especially one brought to life by an unbeatable cast – including legends Bruce Spence and Sonia Todd, bright stars Amber McMahon, Nikita Waldron, Hazem Shammas and Keegan Joyce, and theatre newcomer Ella Jacob.

At this time when togetherness (especially with the people we love most) feels like an elusive and precious thing, we’re thrilled to be sharing Rules for Living, with all its laughter and humanity, with you.

 


DIRECTOR: SUSANNA DOWLING


It was no secret that the late English playwright Sarah Kane’s favourite theatre was not in fact a theatre at all, but Old Trafford, the home ground of Manchester United Football Club. In an article she wrote for the Guardian in 1998 she lamented that theatre couldn’t be as gripping as football – “I frequently walk out of the theatre early without fear of missing anything. But however bad I’ve felt, I’ve never left a football match early, because you never know when a miracle might occur”.

Stylistically, Rules for Living couldn’t be further away from Kane’s work. On first glance, this is a familiar form – the ‘Christmas-lunch-goes-wrong’ farce. The Christmas Day lunch trope provides an ideal setting to explore family dysfunction – the combination of high stakes, expectations, old wounds and alcohol creates the perfect storm to drive characters into behaving as badly as possible. Whether we celebrate Christmas or not, it’s a scenario we all recognise – a highly-charged family celebration that we all just want to get through without getting into a fight. There’s an element of catharsis watching another family play out the dynamics we recognise in our own annual rituals.

What makes this play so radical is not necessarily what you’re watching, but how you watch it. 

Sam Holcroft has taken a what appears to be a standard farce and turned it inside out. 

When we work on a conventionally ‘well-made’ play, we spend a significant portion of time in the rehearsal room analysing and breaking the script down, from the characters’ points of view. We work out what drives them, what the subtext is, what their weaknesses and insecurities are, what they really want out of life, or out of this moment. We do this in order to understand why they take the actions they do in the play. We discuss objectives, tactics, plays. We game things out. These objectives and tactics become the fundamentals upon which we build the performances. These bones underpin the story. They are the invisible currents leading the story to its conclusion, the skeleton of the piece.

In Rules for Living, Sam Holcroft has turned these bones into an exoskeleton. The ‘Rules’ let you in on what’s happening inside each character, from moment to moment, regardless of what their outward behaviour might suggest. She is letting you in to the secrets lying under the surface. By doing this, how you watch the play is transformed. The characters become players, the underlying game is revealed. Rather than following plot, you follow tactics, strategy, play – the way you would watch your favourite team in a match or a game. 

By revealing these tactics, we can see what’s really happening underneath seemingly innocent exchanges about carrots and charades. We see the insecurities and the triggers laid bare as the characters collide with each other, winding each other up as the day progresses. It becomes harder and harder to stop the white lies, to climb down from a position taken, to actually tell the truth to each other. The play shows us that we can get so caught up in scoring petty victories against the ones we love that we end up losing perspective on what’s really important, and we never have the hard conversations we need to have. We win the moment, we score a point, we keep the peace, but at what cost?

Conceptually, the main task for designer Charles Davis and myself was to work out a way to integrate the rules into the action of the play so that it truly feels like a game being played. The Drama Theatre gives the stage a naturally screen-like shape. This led us to framing the viewing experience of the play as akin to watching a reality-TV gameshow – arguably the defining game/competition genre in our culture today. In this format drama is squeezed out of the tiniest events – whether it’s a drunken insult, or a cake’s failure to rise. The producers manipulate the contestants, preying on their weaknesses and insecurities for our entertainment. Sometimes it goes too far, with disastrous, damaging results. At the back of our minds, we know that at any point the contestants could take back control and walk away from the game. The question is … will they? You never know when a miracle might occur.


Q&A: DESIGNER CHARLES DAVIS

What were your first impressions of the play?

Rules for Living is a unique play in that it functions on two quite distinct levels. On one level, there is the core dysfunctional Christmas lunch narrative with which most audiences will have a degree of familiarity. On another, there is a unique layer of story-telling in the ‘rules’ or ‘game’ that the writer Sam Holcroft has devised and integrated to reveal an array of ideas interrogating human behaviour and psychology. I was fascinated with this outer layer, how we might approach it, visualise it and integrate it into the design, whilst preserving the brilliant nuts-and-bolts comic writing.

How do you, as a designer, begin your approach to working on a show like Rules for Living?

My process always begins with the text; initial thoughts and images are scribbled in the margins of the script as I read it. I then work in my studio, gathering reference images and teasing out potential spaces through rough scale models and drafted drawings. The early stages of the process are quite chaotic and energetic – turning abstract ideas into physical space.

Can you talk us through how you and Susanna worked together on this vision – what’s your process together?

Susanna, the director, and I began designing this production in the height of the pandemic, which meant that we had a relatively luxurious (and unfamiliar!) amount of time available to us to conceptualise the show. We spent hours and hours exchanging ideas and images determining what kind of ‘game’ we wanted to explore. I think we made about a dozen models of the set in this time, many of which will never see the light of day! We have a lot of similar interests, so we were very much in sync with the type of show we wanted to make, right from the start.

This production of Rules for Living is set in a different location to the earlier versions of the show. Where was that play originally set? How did you and Susanna change the setting?

Sam Holcroft set the original play in an unspecified wealthy rural area a few hours outside of London. It wasn’t until about halfway through the initial design phase that the opportunity to relocate the play to Australia came up. Susanna and I jumped at the idea of setting the story in a space immediately local to the production and familiar to STC audiences, the northern suburbs of Sydney.

What are the particular challenges of updating the location of a play?

The biggest challenges in updating the play were not so much for us in designing the play, but for Sam in re-writing! She had to re-write several hundred local references in the dialogue that Australian audiences would understand, relate to and find funny!

Can you talk us through some of your references and inspirations for the look and feel of this production?

In terms of the physical architecture, we were inspired by Sydney’s renovated federation houses. We built a sprawling house in the model (initially with a pool!) and then refined and reduced it down to the components we needed to frame the story. In terms of the ‘game’, Susanna and I were inspired by contemporary reality TV; Big Brother, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Keeping Up with the Kardashians… You name it, we watched it.

How much of the set and costumes do you source and how much is made originally? How do you go about finding the right pieces?

The set is architectural and built entirely from scratch – the walls, kitchen, fireplace, outdoor spaces… everything is built from plywood and painted to look realistic by STC's incredible Set Construction and Scenic Art departments. For this show we needed doubles or triples of all the costume items, so we were limited with what we could make – the majority of items were sourced. While we were shopping, we were very lucky that the season of reality aligned with the season of the show. The furniture, props and effects are a combination of found, altered and bespoke – depending on the narrative, practical (and financial!) needs of the object. Many mince pies and other food items need to be consumed on stage but they are also very expensive when they accumulate over an entire season of shows. The trick with every moment on stage is how you can re-create exactly again and again and again…

Reality TV is a big inspiration for this play – what are some of the design elements you’ve used from that genre? 

We talked extensively with Laura Turner, our brilliant AV Designer, about how to integrate the ‘game’ into our version of the show in a way that could run parallel to the story without dominating it. I won’t give too much away but we were interested in how we might amplify and intensify the tension of a family drama using the devices native to a television medium.

Are there any special design details that you’d like the audience to take note of? What are your favourite aspects of your work on this show?

I love designing worlds in a very detailed way; I love lots of stuff and I love making a mess. This show has allowed me to do all of this in collaboration with an incredible cast, creative team and of course the expert craftspeople in the workshops at STC. I can’t wait for audiences to see it!

 


REHEARSAL PHOTO GALLERY

Photos by Prudence Upton

 

CAST & CREATIVES

SAM HOLCROFT
Playwright

Sam is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter (with her screen-writing partner, Al Blythe). Her stage version of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox opened at Nuffield Theatre, Southampton at Christmas 2016 to great critical acclaim before transferring to the Lyric Hammersmith, London and going out on a UK tour at the start of 2017. Other productions include Rules For Living (2015); The Wardrobe (2014); Edgar And Annabel (2011) all for the National Theatre; While You Lie at the Traverse Theatre; Pink, part of the Women, Power and Politics Season at the Tricycle Theatre; Vanya at The Gate, London; Cockroach, co-produced by the National Theatre of Scotland and the Traverse Theatre (nominated for Best New Play 2008, by the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland and shortlisted for the John Whiting Award, 2009). Sam was the Writer-in-Residence at the National Theatre Studio from 2013 – 14 and was the Pearson Playwright in Residence at the Traverse Theatre in 2009-10. In 2014 she was a recipient of the Windham Campbell Prize for Literature in the Drama category, and in 2009 she won the Tom Erhardt Playwriting Award for most promising writer. She is currently under commission to the Royal Court and Almeida Theatres. Her transatlantic series, The Rook (co-written with Al Blythe and based on the book Daniel O'Malley), with LionsGate aired in June 2019. She is currently developing a new original series for Drama Republic.

 

SUSANNA DOWLING 
Director

Born in Dublin, Susanna has worked in Sydney as a director and dramaturg for over a decade. 

For Sydney Theatre Company, most recently she assisted Kip Williams on Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams and directed the Rough Draft #38 of Angus Cerini’s Wonnangatta. Prior to that she assisted UK director Stephen Rayne on the STC/ADF collaboration The Long Way Home by Daniel Keene. In 2012 she was a Resident Education Artist, and created In a Heart Beat with writer Jo Turner, based on a yearlong collaboration with the young people of Armidale, NSW. In 2011 she directed Rough Draft #19 of Tahli Corin’s Girl in Tan Boots, the production of which she later directed for Griffin Independent.

For the Ensemble, she directed Luna Gale by Rebecca Gilman, Buyer and Cellar by Jonathan Tollins, and Tribes by Nina Raine. For Darlinghurst Theatre she directed Hysteria by Terry Johnson. For CDP Kids and Sydney Opera House Kids and Families, she directed Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by Monkey Baa, based on the stories of May Gibbs, Billionaire Boy by David Walliams (adapted by Maryam Masters) and most recently The Midnight Gang by Walliams/Masters at the beginning of this year.

In 2014, she was Resident Director at Bell Shakespeare, where she assisted Damien Ryan on Henry V, Peter Evans on Tartuffe (adaptation by Justin Fleming), and co-directed Intimate Letters, a collaboration between Bell and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. During this time she also created The Hungry Ghost with writer Mei Tsering, an interactive ‘sound walk’ theatre experience for City of Sydney’s Art and About Festival, and directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Sport for Jove’s Summer Festival.

In 2011 she was an Associate Artist at Belvoir, during which time she created The Kiss, a staging of four short stories by Anton Chekhov, Guy de Maupassant, Kate Chopin and Peter Goldsworthy; she directed Yellow Moon by David Greig and assisted Neil Armfield on Summer of the Seventeenth Doll.

Susanna was Associate Director of Playwriting Australia for a number of years, developing the community development program which later became a model of community playwright skills training for several organisations and theatres around Australia.

She is a BA graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. She received an MA in Theatre Studies from UNSW and a Grad. Dip in Directing from NIDA. Susanna is a member of the 2012 Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Lab.

 

ELLA JACOB
Emma

Sydney Theatre Company: Debut. Other Theatre: As a Dancer: The Wiggles (2015 tour), Carols in the Domain. TV: The Wiggles (various DVDs). Training: Halloran Dance School, Margi de Ferranti, The Actors Division.

 

 

 

 

 

KEEGAN JOYCE
Matthew 

Sydney Theatre Company: Debut. Other Theatre: MTC: Vivid White. Malthouse: Solaris, Cloudstreet. Hayes Theatre Company: Evie May. Gordon Frost Organisation: Once. James Anthony Production: Edges: The Musical. Seabiscuit Prod: Titanic – A New Musical. IMG Productions: Oliver. Film: Greg's First Boy, Wall Boy, Superman Returns. TV: Rake, Please Like Me, Fragments of Friday, Rescue: Special Ops, K9. Records: Snow on Higher Ground.




 

 

AMBER MCMAHON
Nicole

Sydney Theatre Company: including Banging Denmark, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The Popular Mechanicals (STCSA presented by STC), School Dance (Windmill Performing Arts presented by STC), The War of the Roses, Gallipoli, The Season at Sarsaparilla, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Serpent's Teeth, The Lost Echo, Mother Courage and Her Children. Other Theatre: Belvoir: Dance Nation, Atlantis, Girl Asleep, Twelfth Night, Angels in America, The Power of Yes. Windmill Theatre: Girl Asleep, School Dance,The Sad Ballad of Penny Dreadful, The Snow Queen. Darlinghurst Theatre: Small Mouth Sounds. Ensemble: The Appleton Ladies Potato Race,Tribes. Kay & McLean Productions: North by Northwest. Malthouse Theatre: Bliss, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Optimism. STCSA: The Popular Mechanicals, In the Next Room, Afternoon of The Elves, Boston Marriage, Proof, Bushfire. MTC: North by Northwest. Queensland Theatre: Vincent Brixton. Riverside Theatre: Mayors Nest. Film: Girl Asleep. Writing: Stand-up character, Audrey Ropeburn. Awards: 2017 Helpmann Award Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role for Girl Asleep, 2013 Helpmann Award Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role for School Dance. Training: Flinders University, Adele Koh Scholarship Stella Adler Company & SITI Company in NYC.

 

HAZEM SHAMMAS
Adam

Sydney Theatre Company: Debut. Other Theatre: Belvoir: Counting and Cracking, Sami in Paradise, Atlantis, Mother Courage and Her Children, Scorched, Antigone, Paul, Gates of Egypt, Peribanez, Stuff Happens. Urban Theatre Projects: The Tribe, The Buried City. Bell Shakespeare Company: Romeo & Juliet, The Tempest, Comedy of Errors, Macbeth. STCSA: Othello. MTC: Disgraced (with Queensland Theatre). Griffin Theatre Company: The Call. Malthouse Theatre: Criminology. Film: Alex and Eve, X, The Tumbler. TV: Halifax (Retribution), Hungry Ghosts, The Gloaming, The Secrets She Keeps, My Life is Murder, The Hunting, Safe Harbour, Underbelly – The Golden Mile, East West 101, At Home with Julia, All Saints. Awards: 2018 TV Week Logie Award for Most Outstanding Supporting Actor (Safe Harbour).

 

 

 

BRUCE SPENCE
Francis

Sydney Theatre Company: including A Cheery Soul, The Harp in the South: Part One and Part Two, Dinner, The Secret River, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Endgame, Under Milkwood. Other Theatre: MTC: Twelfth Night, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Servant of Two Masters. Film: Children of the Corn, The Dry, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Mystery Road, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Australia, Star Wars Episode III, The Matrix Revolutions, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Ace Ventura Part II, Finding Nemo, Mad Max III, Mad Max IITV: Back to the Rafters, Rake, Legend of the Seeker, All Saints, Nightmares and Dreamscapes, Always Greener, Beastmaster, Moby Dick, Twisted Tales, Great Expectations: The Untold Story.

 

 

 

SONIA TODD
Edith

Sydney Theatre Company: Harold in Italy. Other Theatre: Belvoir: Life of Galileo. Street Theatre: Cold Light. Bontom Productions: Worst Kept Secrets. Mousetrap Productions: A Murder is Announced. Nimrod Theatre Company: The Golden Age, The Winter’s Tale, Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Ensemble Theatre: Table for one. Toe Truck Theatre: Operation Holy Mountain. Q Theatre: Hamlet. Bond Theatre Co: Strictly Ballroom. Shakespeare in the Park: Much Ado About Nothing. Film: Shine, Rescue – The Movie. TV: includes Rake, Janet King, Home & Away, Mcleod’s Daughters, All Saints, Marriage Acts, The Potato Factory, Halifax, Water Rats, Reprisal, Mirror Mirror, Good Guys Bad Guys, Simone De Beauvoir’s Babies, Return to Jupiter, Heat, Police Rescue, Over the Hill, GP, Mother & Son, A Country Practice, Come in Spinner. Awards: 1994 Silver Logie for Most Popular Actress on Australian Television, 1992 Variety Club Heart Award for Best Television Actress (Police Rescue), 1991 AFI Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Police Rescue). Training: NIDA.

 

 

 

NIKITA WALDRON
Carrie

Sydney Theatre Company: Lord of the Flies, Mosquitoes. Other Theatre: Belvoir: The Wolves, An Enemy of the People. Manifesto Theatre Company: Youth & Destination. The Old Fitz: The Wolves. Film: The Bystander Trials, Palm Beach, Top End Wedding. TV: The Letdown, Random and Whacky. As Producer/Director: ANU: Così. Awards: Best Ensemble at 2014 Canberra Area Theatre Awards for Così.

 

 

 

 

 

UNDERSTUDY (FRANCIS)
Tony Cogin

Sydney Theatre Company: Wonnangatta, The Torrents, Mary Stuart, The Harp in the South: Part One and Part Two, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Muriel’s Wedding – The Musical (with Global Creatures), Chimerica. Other Theatre: Belvoir: The Drover’s Wife. Bell Shakespeare Company: Hamlet. Hayes Theatre: The Detective’s Handbook. The Production Company: Promises Promises. Moonshadow: Moonshadow. Creature Control: How to Train Your Dragon. The Australian Shakespeare Company: Wind in the Willows. Skyline Theatricals: Dr Zhivago. Billy Australia: Billy Elliot. Seabiscuit Productions: Titanic. Jacobsen Entertainment/ Jack Utsick: Dirty Dancing. GFO: Man of La Mancha, Calendar Girls. Goodwill Games: Chrome. Legs on the Wall: All of Me. Footbridge Productions: An Ideal Husband. Stables Theatre: Only Heaven Knows, Relative Merits. Marian Street: The Club. Film: Deck Dogz. TV: Dead Lucky, Love Child, Dance Academy, Cops LAC, All Saints, Home and Away, Blue Heelers, Life Support, Snobs, CNNNN, Headstart, Water Rats, GP, Blue Murder. Training: UWS Nepean.

 

 

UNDERSTUDY (EDITH)
Beth Daly

Sydney Theatre Company: Falsettos, Heretic. Other Theatre: Hayes Theatre: Bridges of Madison County, Cry Baby. Seymour Centre: The Underpants. LHE Productions: The Credeaux Canvas, Jasper Jones, Away. Squabbalogic: Grey Gardens, A New Brain, Hello Dolly. Sydney Opera House: CDP’s Billionaire Boy. Wonderful Town. Ensemble Theatre: Gossamer, An Unfinished Song. Topol: Fiddler on the Roof (Australia/New Zealand tour). SK Entertainment: Menopause the Musical (Australia/New Zealand tour) GFO: Footloose. RD Productions: Marvin’s Room, Prisoner of Second Avenue, March of the Falsettos. Training: Theatre Nepean.

 

 

 

 

UNDERSTUDY (ADAM/MATTHEW)
Yalin Ozucelik

Sydney Theatre Company: 1984 (Headlong, Nottingham Playhouse and Almeida Theatre presented by STC), Cyrano de Bergerac, Vere (Faith) (with STCSA), Gross und Klein, Blood Wedding, When the Rain Stops Falling (Brink Productions and Hossein Valamanesh presented by STC). Other Theatre: includes Belvoir: Sami In Paradise, The Great Fire, Ivanov, The Kiss, Baghdad Wedding. MTC: Photograph 51, Frost Nixon. Bell Shakespeare: Othello, Henry IV, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet. Ensemble Theatre: The Norman Conquests Trilogy. STCSA: 1984, The Importance of Being Earnest. Brink Productions: When the Rain Stops Falling. Darlinghurst Theatre Company: Small Mouth Sounds. Australian Chamber Orchestra: Reflections on Gallipoli. Sport For Jove: The Servant of Two Masters, Measure for Measure, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Comedy of Errors, The Tempest, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. TV: Total Control, Diary of An Uber Driver, Rake, Deadline Gallipoli, Gallipoli. Radio: ABC Radio National: Hamlet, Great Expectations, Trans-Verse: Train Lines, The Stepping Stars of Boronkowice. Games: Rome: Total War. Other: Central character in independent comic: Burger Force. Training: NIDA.

 

 

 

UNDERSTUDY (CARRIE/NICOLE)
Matilda Ridgway

Sydney Theatre Company: Debut. Other Theatre: Ensemble Theatre: The Norman Conquests Trilogy, Proof, Seminar, My Wonderful Day, Rain Man, Brooklyn Boy, Ruby Sunrise. Bell Shakespeare: Hamlet, Henry IV, Romeo and Juliet. Belvoir: Jasper Jones. ATYP: Platonov (MopHead & Catnip Productions presented by ATYP), Sweet Nothings (pantsguys productions and Geraldine Timmins presented by ATYP). The Old Fitz: Doubt, The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, Kayak, Cock. Sport For Jove:The Merchant of Venice, The Crucible, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Doll’s House, Much Ado About Nothing. The Corinthian Food Store: This, This is mine. Film: June Again, Disclosure, Book Week, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, 1919, The Guests. TV: Fam Time, Hiding, Gifted. Awards: 2018 Flickerfest Best Performance in a Short Film (Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow), 2014 Sydney Theatre Award Best Actress in a Leading Role in an Independent Production (A Doll’s House), 2014 Sydney Arts Guide Award Best Female Actor (Stage) in a Supporting Role (The Crucible), Martin Bequest Travelling Scholarship. Training: Ensemble Studios, Atlantic Theatre Company New York, SITI Company New York, L’Ecole Philippe Gaulier Paris. Matilda is a proud member of Actors Equity.

 

 

CHARLES DAVIS
Designer

Sydney Theatre Company: No Pay? No Way!, The Real Thing, The Wharf Revue 2018, The Wharf Revue 2019. As Associate Set Designer: Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical (with Global Creatures). Other Theatre: Ensemble: Buyer and Cellar, The Kitchen Sink, Widow Unplugged. Token Events: Fly: Lano & Woodley (National Tour). Darlinghurst Theatre Company: An Act of God. Griffin Theatre Company: Smurf in Wanderland (with the National Theatre of Parramatta). Redline Productions: The Whale. Seymour Centre: Unfinished Works. Darwin Festival: A Smoke Social. Opera: Pinchgut Opera: The Coronation of Poppea, Artaserse. Sydney Chamber Opera: Breaking Glass, Biographica, Oh Mensch!. Queensland Conservatorium: Hansel and Gretel. As Associate Set Designer: Opera Australia: Carmen, The Merry Widow. Positions: Lecturer and mentor at NIDA. Awards: Mike Walsh Fellowship. Training: NIDA, Monash University.

 

 

 

SIAN JAMES-HOLLAND
Lighting Designer

Sydney Theatre Company: Australian Graffiti, Going Down. As Assistant Lighting Designer: Endgame, Switzerland. Other Theatre: As Lighting Designer: Ensemble: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Bangarra Dance Theatre: Dark Emu. Bell Shakespeare: Henry V. Theatre of Image: Monkey ... A Journey to the West and Brett and Wendy. Sport for Jove: Of Mice and Men, The Crucible. Griffin Theatre Company: This is Where We Live (with Just Visiting). Darlinghurst Theatre: Love, In Real Life, Savages, Good Works, Venus in Fur, Ordinary Days, Reasons to be Pretty. The Banff Centre: Turn of the Screw, Hold Me Neighbour in this Storm. DeQuincey Co: Metadata, Pure Light, Box of Birds, Inner Garden. ACO: Timeline (with The Presets), Barry Humphries Weimar Cabaret. Circus Oz: Model Citizens. Flying Fruit Fly Circus: Circus Under My Bed, Control Alt Delete, Beach Party. As Tour Re-Lighter: Really Useful Group: Cats (China and Korea tours). Other: THE POOL, Australian Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Positions: Creative Director of the architectural and landscapes lighting studio LX ART. Training: WAAPA, University of Sydney. 2010 and 2011 Resident at The Banff Centre, Canada, by generous support of the Lazlo Funtec Scholarship.

 

 

LAURA TURNER 
AV Designer

Sydney Theatre Company: Debut. Other Theatre: As Video Designer: Bell Shakespeare: Hamlet, Macbeth (Learning production). As Assistant Video Designer: Sydney Festival: Let’s Dance. As Assistant Director: Belvoir: Medea. Film: As Co-Producer: Sydney Film Festival, Brisbane International Film Festival: Witkacy and Malinowski: a cinematic séance in 23 scenes. As Cinematographer/Film Adaptation: Clockfire Theatre Company: we, the lost company. Other: As Video Artist: Group Exhibitions M Contemporary Gallery, Articulate Gallery, dLux Media Arts. Training: COFA/UNSW.

 

 

 

 

JAMES BROWN
Composer & Sound Designer

Sydney Theatre Company: The Deep Blue Sea, The Real Thing, Lord of the Flies, Mosquitoes, Who’s the Best? (with Post). Other Theatre: CDP: The Midnight Gang. Sport for Jove: Rose Riot. Erth: Winter Camp, The Liminal Hour, Bird. Fox.Monster. Darlinghurst Theatre: In Real Life, Broken. Malthouse: Revolt. She. Said. Revolt Again. Griffin Theatre Company: Smurf in Wanderland, Tribunal. The Farm: Frank Enstein. Post: Ich Nibber Dibber, Oedipus Schmoedipus. Urban Theatre Projects: Home Country. Carriageworks: Lake Disappointment. SOIT (Belgium): Nomads, We Was them, Messiah Run, The Lee Ellroy Show. ATYP: Dignity of Risk (with Shopfront’s Harness Ensemble), House on Fire. Campbelltown Arts Centre: Hole in the Wall. Dance: Kristina Chan: A Faint Existence, Mountain. Victoria Hunt: Copper Promises, Tangi Wai. The Australian Ballet: Scope. Sydney Dance Company: Conform. Matthew Day: Thousands, Cannibal, Intermission. Film: A Brilliant Genocide, Bloodlinks, Brown Lips. TV: The Movement, Top of the Lake, One Day for Peace, Gingersnaps. Games: Fallout 4, Fallout 76, Fallout Shelter.

 

 

TOM HODGSON
Movement Director

Sydney Theatre Company: Wonnangatta. Other Theatre: Productions for DV8 Physical Theatre, Force Majeure, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, Conny Janssen Danst, Dansity Amsterdam, Lucerne Ballet, Ballet Braunschweig, Kiel Ballet, Sue Healey Company. As Choreographer: Mamma Mia! (Australian National Tour). fortyfivedownstairs: Skin Tight, Far Away. The Old Fitz: Low Level Panic. As Associate Movement Director: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Once the Musical. As Associate Choreographer: Matilda the Musical (Australia and Korea), Billy Elliot the Musical (Australia, Broadway, Korea and Japan). Film: The Cost of Living (DV8 Physical Theatre), Lost (Scapino Ballet Rotterdam). Positions: Lecturer in Dance and Movement, Federation University (2011-13).

 

 

 

NIGEL POULTON
Fight Director

Sydney Theatre Company: The Deep Blue Sea, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, How to Rule the World, Mary Stuart, The Harp in the South: Part One and Part Two, The Long Forgotten Dream, Blackie Blackie Brown (with Malthouse), Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Saint Joan, Three Sisters, Dinner, Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical, Black is the New White, The Golden Age, The Present, Switzerland, Macbeth, Noises Off, Cyrano de Bergerac, Romeo & Juliet, The Removalists, Romeo & Juliet (Education). Other Theatre: includes work with The Australian Ballet, The New York City Ballet, The Metropolitan Opera, Washington Opera, Opera Australia, Cameron Mackintosh, Bell Shakespeare, Circus Oz, MTC, QTC, Belvoir, La Boite, Playbox, Kooemba Jdarra. Film: includes Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Deadline Gallipoli, The Water Diviner, Winter’s Tale, Vikingdom, Salt, I Am Legend, The Bourne Legacy. TV: includes Sea Patrol, The Good Wife, Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, 30 Rock, Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Positions: Teaching positions at NIDA, ACA, AFTRS, USQ. Awards: Green Room Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Melbourne Stage. Training: Certified Intimacy Director & Coordinator with Intimacy Directors International (IDI), and Intimacy Directors and Coordinators, Instructor, Fight Director and past President of the Society of Australian Fight Directors Inc, Certified Fight Director and Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors; Honorary Fight Director with Fight Directors Canada.

 

DANIELLE ROFFE 
Voice & Text Coach

Sydney Theatre Company: Wonnangatta, Pygmalion, Tusk Tusk (with ATYP), Like a Fishbone (with Griffin Theatre Company). Other Theatre: Belvoir: Miss Julie, Gethsemane, That Face, The Power of Yes, Stories I Want to Tell You, In Person, Lonesome West. Sydney Opera House: South Pacific, The History Boys. The Old Fitz: Anatomy of a Suicide. Darlinghurst Theatre: The Pride. Film: Children of the Corn, Judy and Punch The Drover’s Wife, Fantasy Island, Lego Ninjago Movie, Alien Covenant, Hacksaw Ridge, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, 2:22, I am Mother, The Daughter, Stranger Land, Backtrack, Slow West, Adore, Lemon Tree Passage, Wolf Creek 2, Evil Dead, Careless Love, Killer Elite, Uninhabited, Not Suitable for Children, Lagaan, The Search for John Gissing, Best: His Mother’s Son, Slaughter, Outcast. TV: Wakefield, The End, The Unlisted, Black Comedy, Easybeats, Doctor Doctor, Banished, Underbelly, My Kitchen Rules,The Scouting Book for Boys, Holby City, Eastenders, The Bill. Positions: Teaching positions at NIDA, Actors’ Centre, Central School of Speech and Drama, Drama Centre, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and Theatre Academy of Live and Recorded Arts. Training: Central School of Speech and Drama.

 

CARISSA LICCIARDELLO
Assistant Director

Sydney Theatre Company: Debut. Other Theatre: As Director: Belvoir: A Room of One’s Own. As Associate Director: Belvoir: Fangirls (with Queensland Theatre, in association with ATYP). As Assistant Director: Belvoir: Counting & Cracking, Sami in Paradise, Ghosts. Positions: Andrew Cameron Fellow, Belvoir (2018-2019). Training: NIDA.

 

 

 

 

 


PRODUCTION ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Lighting Associate: Daniel Barber

Composition & Sound Associate: Daniel Herten


CORPORATE PARTNERS

Sydney Theatre Company is grateful to our partners who have stood by us in this challenging year. We applaud their generosity and vision.

You can find out more about our corporate partners here.


SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Ian Narev (Chair)
Ann Johnson (Deputy Chair)
Anita Belgiorno-Nettis AM
Mark Lazberger
Patrick McIntyre
Heather Mitchell AM
Gretel Packer AM
Mark Scott AO
Annette Shun Wah
Michael Triguboff
Kip Williams