Welcome to Griffin

Griffin Theatre Company is Australia’s new writing theatre. In residence at Sydney’s historic SBW Stables Theatre, we lead the country in developing and producing great Australian stories, and are dedicated to supporting Australian artists.

  • The Lysicrates Prize 2016 – Winner Announced

    Mary Rachel Brown has been awarded the second annual Lysicrates Prize for new Australian Playwriting, receiving a full $12,500 Griffin Theatre Company commission, as voted by the audience, at Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music.  


    The Lysicrates Prize for playwriting is produced by Griffin Theatre Company and the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney and supported by the Lysicrates Foundation created by John and Patricia Azarias, with two aims: to provide encouragement to Australia’s playwriting talent, and to help restore the beautiful Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in the Royal Botanical Garden, Sydney.


    Mary Rachel Brown was amongst three finalists who were shortlisted to submit the first act of a new play. The two runners-up Campion Decent and Elise Hearst each received a $1,000 cash prize. This innovative new Australian playwriting competition was inspired by the imminent restoration of an historic monument in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden: The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates


    The three shortlisted plays were:
    Mary Rachel Brown’s Approximate Balance, about the Lightfoot family who struggle to cope with their son’s alcoholism. A young Filipino woman offers them a unique perspective on how to heal. Sometimes we find family where we least expect it.
    Director: Mitchell Butel
    Cast: Linda Cropper, John Gaden, Richard Sydenham, Lena Cruz


    Campion Decent’s Saint Theo, when struck by lightning, stonemason and amateur thespian Theodore embarks on a Gilbert and Sullivan inspired philosophical quest with a mysterious young revenant and a woman in a pirate hat.
    Director: Helen Dallimore
    Cast: Simon Burke, Rowan Witt, Paula Arundell, Tamlyn Henderson


    And Elise Hearst’s The Good Wolf, Naomi is a good Jewish girl trying not to be bad. The Good Wolf is her story about family, legacy, and finding love
    Director: Ben Winspear
    Cast: Michelle Lim, Deborah Kennedy, Natalie Gamsu, Hamish Michael


    Read more about the competition here

  • The Bleeding Tree won Best New Australian Work

    ‘The Bleeding Tree’ won Best New Australian Work
    at the Sydney Theatre Awards

    For those of you who saw the extraordinary Paula Arundell so bravely capture the pain and knowledge and humour of a woman fighting her way out of a life of abuse, infused with the powerful language given to her by Angus Cerini, I know you will never forget this play. This award is a recognition of the work of Paula and Airlie Dodds and Shari Sebbens in bringing Angus’ script to life; it is a great big ‘YES!’ to the work of Designer Renee Mulder, Composer Steve Toulmin and Lighting Designer Verity Hampson and Stage Manager Edwina Guinness who sculpted a world for the script to live in so viscerally.

    THE BLEEDING TREE was the play that couldn’t find a corporate sponsor. So we went to some of our wonderful individual donors who get that new plays are always a gamble and that a certain amount of courage is needed to back the riskier scripts. They banded together to become patrons of this particular show – to make sure we could afford to stage this work. Led by Gil Appleton and Malcolm Robertson, this small group invested together in the future of Angus as a playwright by backing this production.

    While the audience response to the production showed that they had definitely backed the right horse, this award will ensure that the play will have lives that we cannot anticipate. I imagine an Artistic Director 100 years from now looking down the list of award winning plays (always a useful summary!), seeing THE BLEEDING TREE, tracking down a copy of the script (thanks to Currency Press) and staging it again as a reminder of a time when women regularly died at the hands of their partners. I hope they look back in horror at the statistics for 2015 when 79 women died in Australia and celebrate the changes that have taken place to ensure that life for women in 2115 is better and safer and more equal. I hope they see the play as proof that our artists in 2015 were working as hard as our legislators to bring about the changes they enjoy.

    Thank you to Angus for courage in seeing and writing, thank you to the creative team for making his words live, to the donors who invested, to the audiences who applauded, and to the artistic community who recognise with this award that we are trying to change the future of this country, play by play.

    Love Lee

  • LADIES DAY rehearsal shots

    Take a peek inside the Ladies Day rehearsal room in our album here. Previewing from 5 February.


    Elan Zavelsky. Photo by Brett Boardman

Our Blog»

20 January 11:02 am

A message from Lee, 20 January

On Monday night Angus Cerini’s The Bleeding Tree won Best New Australian Work at the Sydney Theatre Awards. How awesome is that?! I know, I know, I know…theatre is not a competition…you can’t win theatre. But making new plays is so hard, so many elements have to conspire to bring the right words and the right actors into a room with the right audience at the right time, that it is nice when your peers celebrate the shows when it all does come together well.

But of course we only take one night to think back to the last year, because right now on the SBW Stables stage we have a new play from Reg Cribb delighting audiences. This is an indie production brought to you by Stone Soup. Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River opened last Friday and it is a big sprawling, surprisingly touching, state of the nation play that could only come from the pen of Reg Cribb.

The sun is shining, subscriptions are at an all time high, Griffin’s first Main Season show Ladies Day is in rehearsal, I’m off to see the opening night of the STC revival of Louis Nowra’s great play The Golden Age, I just scored tickets to Kate Mulvany’s adaptation of Jasper Jones over at Belvoir… plays, plays and more Australian plays…how good is summer in Sydney.

Love Lee


5 January 1:01 pm

A note from Lee – 5 January, 2016

2016. Ready, set, GO! The Griffin staff are back in the office. Alana Valentine’s Ladies Day is in rehearsal. Reg Cribb’s Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River moves into the theatre next week as the first Griffin Independent play of the year. The Lysicrates Prize shortlist plays will be onstage at the Conservatorium at the end of the month. The inbox is full of new Griffin Award plays. Thank you to all the playwrights around the country who have been wrestling words onto pages through the holiday season so that scripts for 2016 are ready. It’s going to be a great year for Australian plays.

As I was sitting in a kayak down at Jervis Bay talking about how huge this year is for Griffin a great friend said…

“If you think you’ve bitten off more than you can chew… chew harder.”

Happy New Year. Welcome to the feast of new plays on stage at the Stables.

Love Lee

21 December 2:25 pm

7 Nominations – 2015 Sydney Theatre Awards

The nominees are in for the Sydney Theatre Awards, judged by esteemed Sydney journalists and critics, are in. Congratulations to those Griffin shows and creatives that made the illustrious nominees list!

BEST NEW AUSTRALIAN WORK The Bleeding Tree (Angus Cerini
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE – Paula Arundell (The Bleeding Tree)
BEST STAGE DESIGN – Renée Mulder (The Bleeding Tree)
BEST DIRECTION (INDEPENDENT) – Glynn Nicholas (The Dapto ChaserApocalypse Theatre Company
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE (INDEPENDENT) – Natasha Herbert (The Unspoken Word is ‘Joe’MKA: Theatre of New Writing


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