So for the last seven years I have been writing to you every couple of weeks about the ups and downs of life at Griffin. When I started we had just finished the renovation of the Griffin office—thank you SBW Foundation. Dreams in White was in rehearsal, Josh McConville and Eryn-Jean Norvill had just won Sydney Theatre Critics Awards for their startling performances in Gordon Graham’s The Boys, the duck was floating in Darling Harbour for Sydney Festival, Julia Gillard was Prime Minister and later that year would lose the election to Tony Abbott who strongly campaigned to ‘Stop the Boats.’ It doesn’t seem that long ago or it seems a lifetime away, depending on the time of day.
So today I am writing to you for the last time as Artistic Director. This was my first full-time job. The first time I had a desk, reported to a Board, wrote a funding application. For so many people, audiences and artists alike, Griffin is a place for firsts, and I am no different. Just like you, I love that weird little theatre up on the hill for all the extraordinary experiences it has given me. Leading Australia’s new writing company every day has been a privilege that I will carry with me always. Of course I am sad to leave—there are bits of me that will always be in this building (quite literally, I think half my finger is hammered into the wall and painted over from one particularly frantic set installation). But the time feels right for a new artistic leader to rise and shake things up a bit. The city needs it and the country definitely needs it.
In my very first newsletter, I mentioned preparing for a trip to Perth to see the Play Festival. While I was there, I saw a reading of Eight Gigabytes of Hard Core Pornography. For the first time I walked up to a playwright and asked them if I could program their play at Griffin. It was a petrifying and exhilarating moment. That playwright was Declan Greene.
It is with great joy that I hand the stewardship of Griffin to such a talented and passionate artist. I look forward to joining you in the audience in the years to come to enjoy the provocations, challenges and inspirations he will throw at us.
Thank you for being with me and Griffin.
P.S. Book your tickets for Family Values! Get onto it! I know it’s been a tough start to the year but there is great theatre to see. We open next week!