A Note from Lee, 12 October


Here are six jokes Phil Spencer offered to sell me as I come back into the building and write my first enews in a while. No wait, we are still functioning under the ‘Brandis-ripple-effect-lack-of-funding’ so I can only afford three. But they will be excellent. And my enthusiasm for them knows no bounds because I am back in sunny springtime Sydney and the crazy Griffin house after a stint directing Hay Fever at Melbourne Theatre Company.

I feel like I have been in Melbourne having an affair with a British playwright. Somehow I feel like I have been unfaithful to Australian playwrights and that I should be coming back to Katherine Thomson on my knees begging for theatrical forgiveness. I mean don’t get me wrong—I had a great time with Noel Coward. Great cast, great play, great team, great company. No complaints…but there is nothing quite like the rush of a new play, is there? The wild ride that we all go on into new territory both on the artist side and the audience side is exhilarating. 

So come on, buy your tickets to next year’s roller coaster. Looking at the plays, it feels like we have Luna Park on this side of the harbour. Be brave, be curious, be entertained, be challenged, be a subscriber! Just make sure you be here for the great plays.

Here’s a joke: 74 days until Christmas. And have I mentioned how good a subscription is as a gift to family, friends, staff  and co-workers…

What’s not a joke is the heartbreaking performances onstage at the Stables in Diving for Pearls. This extraordinary play is a chance to look back to the 1980s and see how far we haven’t come as a country in taking care of people. Katherine Thomson is one of this country’s greatest writers and this play is one of our national treasures. Don’t miss it!

And to finish up, an anecdote. So I’m catching up with a playwright at Malthouse when a group of four women come out of Matt Lutton’s wonderful Black Rider. They all had different opinions of the work and were having a robust conversation when one of them said ‘I can’t wait to see Hay Fever next week’. I just loved that their spectrum of theatrical experience in a short space of time would include such vastly different works. That, for me, is when our theatres are working at their best—to provide wildly different experiences to the people of their city so that their conversation can be full and rich and inspiring.

It’s great to be back,
Love Lee

Lee Lewis
Artistic Director