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17 February 9:30 am

Lane’s farewell cake

We’ve been graced at Griffin with another amazing confection by our resident cake-wizard Peter, this time in honour of the lovely Lane’s departure.

This nutty, squishy-with-dates delight is Peter’s take on Karen Martini’s interpretation of Dan Lepard’s “Marrakesh Express loaf cake”. Recipe here.

(Peter has made some secret tweaks we’re not allowed to share publicly – but we’ll give a hint, alcohol is involved.)

16 February 1:14 pm

A Note from Phil, 16 February

I have been a long time campaigner for people’s right to wear short pants at the theatre. It’s an issue that is very dear to my heart, as a person who loves theatre and as a person who is, generally, a bit sweaty. And to the naysayers I say, just because you can see my knees, doesn’t mean that I am not deeply engaged in the theatrical world you’ve created on stage. I am engaged. And so are my knees. *

So I was thrilled to see so many proud, cultured, naked knees last week, as we gathered in the botanical gardens on a balmy Friday evening for the 2017 Lysicrates Prize. A rabble rousing crowd of 400 citizens watched as three of the finest Australian writers worked their magic – there were lost handbags, under the counter hand jobs and a foul mouthed octogenarian – and that was just the Arts Minister Mitch Fifield’s speech! (Did this dodgy joke really get through the proof read? Yes, apparently it did, z i n g ).

To the fantastic writers, Jennifer Compton, Nick Coyle and Melissa Bubnic, we, the people of Sydney town, thank you! A huge congratulations to Melissa Bubnic whose darkly comic play Ghosting the Party was crowned the 2017 Lysicrates Prize WINNER on the night.

Other exciting things, that the word count will allow me to talk about, include the stellar batch of reviews Ross Mueller’s A Strategic Plan has nabbed already; I’m excited to introduce our first Griffin Up Late event later this month; and chookas** to the Griffin team who are down in Melbourne for The Homosexuals which opens at Malthouse next week!

Cheers,

Phil

Phil Spencer
Studio Artist

*But no thongs in the theatre!?! You’ve still got to wear closed shoes. Have some dignity people. I don’t want your big toe putting me off the opening monologue.

**It’s been years now, but at some point I’ll need a proper explanation of what chookas actually means. But for now, chookas it is.

10 February 11:11 am

Peter’s Vanilla Slice

Every couple of weeks the Griffin team is spoiled by the sublime baking talents of Peter O’Connell – our data guru & dessert extraordinaire. This week it was ‘Vanilla Slice à la Sao’, courtesy of this recipe by the CWA.Yummy!

2 February 2:46 pm

A Note from Phil, 2 February

At 9.15am this morning, on the train to work, I saw a proper grown-up business(y) woman sprint from the platform, throw herself through closing doors, hurry up the stairs and nestle down into a seat. Then, this proper grown-up woman, tore her handbag open and with a delirious, half-crazed look in her eyes, took a small blue tube of salt and vinegar Pringles*, popped the lid and absolutely obliterated the defenceless chips before slumping down against the window with a warm gleeful smile radiating across her face. And I slow clapped (inside).

And you know what, I understand how she feels, not because I love Pringles, but because I’ve got a huge grin on my face too for these particular reasons: tonight is opening night for Ross Mueller’s A Strategic Plan, which means you can still get a 4 Play Subscription for all the Main Season shows at Griffin this year (and it also means we get free gin** and tonics. Ah hem.); we’re about to showcase three brand new plays at the Lysicrates Prize with this great group of people; and The Homosexuals is flying down to Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre, before it heads back to the Stables for what will be a electrifying season. Oh my, you really actually do not want to miss this one.

Phil Spencer

Phil Spencer
Studio Artist 

* Here at Griffin we’d like to thank the people at Pringles for their ongoing support of new Australian writing. Not the BBQ flavoured Pringles however, they taste like shame and cigarette butts.
** Supplied by our real life sponsors 4 Pillars Gin. Excellent humans that they are. 

2:09 pm

2017 Lysicrates Prize Cast & Creatives

Now in its third year, the Lysicrates Prize is a philanthropic initiative presented by 

The competition is only open to writers who’ve had three or more mainstage plays produced. In contrast to the Griffin Award, which is open to writers at every stage of their career, the Lysicrates Prize is intended to support established artists; recognising the significant challenges facing any writer, regardless of experience. The prize has attracted entries from some of the country’s most exciting and innovative writers.

 On 10 February The Lysicrates Foundation in association with Griffin and The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, will commission a brand new Australian play as decided upon by the audience present (each audience member is given one vote).

Here’s how it works: established writers from around the country were asked to submit one act of a new play, then we chose the best three to be staged on the day. This year’s selected scripts were written by Melissa Bubnic, Jennifer Compton, and Nick Coyle. We’re luck enough to have amazing talent presenting the work on the day, including:

Directors
Kim Hardwick
Ben Winspear
Gale Edwards 

Cast
Tina Bursill
Linda Cropper
Nikki Shiels
Gareth Davies
Belinda Giblin
Celia Ireland
Claire Lovering
Lynette Curran
Amanda Muggleton
Shari Sebbens

Designer
Charlie Davis

19 January 3:09 pm

A Note from Will, 19 January

This week a patron questioned the use of the phrase ‘Happy New Year’. It’s not so much the ‘New’ that she took issue with, it was just that after two weeks back in the office, the ‘Happy’ had started to wear off.

If you’re feeling the familiar yoke settle a little heavily this January then A Strategic Plan, previewing at Griffin next week, could be the relief you’ve been looking for. However bad your workplace, it couldn’t possibly compare with Staccato, the youth music organisation at the heart of Ross Mueller’s play. After just 75 minutes, you’re going to come away with a new sense of appreciation and respect for your devoted colleagues and dedicated board members. Meetings will flit past like butterflies and you’ll welcome your own acquittals, objectives and KPIs with open arms.*

Of course, if you need an immediate fix, then there’s just four shows left of Nosferatutu. The bloody brilliance of Tommy Bradson, Sheridan Harbridge and the unbridled terror of the accompanists, ushers and the Stage Manager has kept audiences enthralled, appalled and blood spattered (we’re very sorry) for the past two weeks. Don’t miss it!

Across town rehearsals have started for The Homosexuals, or ‘Faggots’, where Lee and Declan have taken on the challenge of a play which broaches critical issues of identity and sexuality, while simultaneously pulling the rug out from under our preconceptions and affectations. The Homosexuals will rehearse in Sydney for another four weeks before opening at Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne and then transferring back for a Sydney season from 17 March — although the cries of outrage, incredulity and laughter should reach us sometime before then. 

Frantic – yes. Nervous – a little. Happy – definitely.

Warm regards,
Will 

Will Harvey
Associate Producer

*Butterflies not guaranteed. But a deep and faintly malicious sense of satisfaction at another’s misfortune is almost as good.

A Strategic Plan in rehearsals. Opens 27 January.

13 January 11:16 am

Friday the 13th: Dress up and win

This Friday the 13th, we decided to turn the supposedly unluckiest day upside-down, and offer one punter a double pass to any 2017 Griffin Main Season production in the funnest way we could think of: a dress-up competition. Fags, blood, zombies or ghouls, it’s Halloween come early at the Stables and we want you to dress your most ominous. The prize will go to the spookiest costume

Book your tickets to Nosferatutu.

5 January 2:00 pm

10 Minutes With Sheridan Harbridge

Who is Sheridan Harbridge?
I’ve been called everything in my time – from a Wise-Arse Wench, to a Gay Icon, to a Potty Mouthed Pest. I think I’m a theatremaker who loves whimsy and raucousness. 

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by performers and companies who cross genres –  Alan Cummings is very fascinating to me, flipping through screen, theatre, cabaret, writing. Windmill Theatre Companies recent production of Girl Asleep,which I had the pleasure to be in, was wild and electric; the school’s show had the kids screaming, I want to make adults squeal with delight like that. 

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d like to keep young people coming to the theatre. It’s an old boring sentence, but it’s a pursuit. Its a medium of magic and catharsis, and I’m a champion of its potency, and I want to grow old and develop with my audience.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I did New Orleans for a week last year, and it blew my mind. Cultural melting pot, it’s own strange and dark culture in the middle of America. There’s no place like it in the world. Oyster Happy Hour, 80c oysters, I went twice, final one on the way to the airport, and made myself stupid-sick and happy with over 36 oysters.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to?
I take them to Watsons Bay – the cliffs, the lighthouse, the seafood.

What are you currently reading?
Trainspotting. 20 years after everyone else because I’m always behind the times.

What are you currently listening to (or watching)?
Watching The Crown. It’s strangely addictive, even though you know the plot. 

Happiness is?
Whiskey in bed. 

What does the future hold for you?
Lot’s more theatre this year. Calamity Jane at the Hayes, and The Cat/The Dog at Belvoir for acting fun, and a new project that’s a sister show to Songs for the Fallen.

Why do you think a show like Nosferatutu is important?
Nosferatutu is about many things: love, desire and loneliness is a part of it, but the thing that is ringing clear in the rehearsals is the idea that a monster is made by a monster, the cycle that can’t be stopped, and monsters long for beauty and softness. These creatures were isolated, but we must wonder why they were created. It’s a question about how communities gather together and isolate. It’s a very beautiful portrait of a man who desperately wants to belong, desperately wants to not hurt and destroy, but his instincts cannot be curbed. He’s very heartbreaking. Amongst lots of hilarious blood, singing and dancing and naughtiness. 

What’s your most memorable performance/production to date?
Oooh gosh. Hard one. We did a performance of my earlier show Songs for the Fallen at Oxford Art Factory, a nightclub, with the whole audience on their feet dressed for a masquerade. It was loud, wild and electric. I was feeling it so much I jumped in the crowd and surfed the whole room, even the security guards joined in, they were having such a good time. It was a moment where the show was spilling joy from every nook and cranny and I thought THIS! This is why this art form is in our blood.

Nosferatutu runs 7 January – 21  January.

1:45 pm

A Note From Lee, 5 January

New Year!

To do:

1. Paint the graffiti off the orange stage door entrance.

2. Drop in in the rehearsal room for Ross Mueller’s A Strategic Plan…they look like they are having way too much fun.

3. Buy a raincoat so I can sit in the front row for the first preview of Nosferatutu on Saturday - the first preview with blood could get a bit wild!

4. Start reading this year’s Griffin Award entries.

5. Go back to the gym to start working off Mum’s ice cream Christmas pudding… thanks Ruth!

And we are off and running!

Welcome back everyone. And hello Wesley Enoch’s first Sydney Festival!

Love,
Lee

19 December 3:32 pm

A note from Lee, 19 December

So because things are not busy enough in the rush to Christmas (starting A Strategic Plan rehearsals, hosting a fundraiser for Nosferatutu, saying farewell to our Associate Producer, Melanie Carolan, who is moving to Critical Stages) we decided to hold our annual General Auditions. Each actor was invited to perform two monologues from Australian plays, and I have to say it was a real delight to see so many actors enjoying the words of great Australian playwrights.

I saw bits of plays written by Kate Mulvany, Andrew Bovell, Jane Bodie, Daniel Keene, Patricia Cornelius, Louis Nowra, Gabrielle McDonald, Michael Gow, Tammy Weller, Michael Abercromby, Maxine Mellor, Rashma Kalsie, John Harding, Nakkiah Lui, Joanna Murray Smith, David Stevens, Elizabeth Coleman, Van Badham, Michael Gurr, Lally Katz, Ray Lawler, Suzie Miller, Brendan Cowell, Vanessa Bates, Campion Decent, Declan Greene, Mary Anne Butler, Lachlan Philpott, Jada Alberts, Reg Cribb, Dorothy Hewitt, Nick Enright, Matt Egerton, Melissa Bubnic, Jane Harrison, Tara Clark, Sam O’Sullivan, Kit Brookman, Tommy Murphy, Disapol Savetsiva, Alex Broun, Duncan Graham, Steven Sewell, Alana Valentine, Jack Hibberd, Patrick White, Sean Riley, Michael Lill, Peter Kenna, Matt Ryan, Verity Laughton, David Williamson, Janis Balodis, Gareth Ellis, Laura Jackson, Robert Allen, Margaret Hickey, Will O’Mahony, Katherine Thomson, Wayne Tunks, Linda Aronson, Robert Dessaix, Travis Cotton, Aanisa Vylet, Erica J Brennan, Ross Mueller, Chris Isaacs, and Chris Bryant.

It was a wondrous way to spend two summer days. Thank you of course to all the actors for their work, but thank you deeply to all the playwrights for creating the scripts that are so inspiring to actors, to me and to audiences around the world. You rock.

Nothing left to say. Thank you everyone for a great 2016 filled with amazing plays. Thank you for subscribing in record numbers for 2017. Thank you in advance to all you last minute ‘this would be a great gift for my family’ subscribers who haven’t made the phone call yet… the office is open until noon on Friday and we will help you get it done in time to have under the tree.

You have all been the best audience a company could ever hope for. Merry Christmas. See you in the New Year.

Love,
Lee

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