Simon Wellington, our General Manager, talks us through Griffin’s next big venture, Story Lab.

Next week, Griffin’s newest and possibly bravest professional development offering kicks off. Story Lab is the fortuitous result of a number of very important planets aligning.

Firstly, a strong desire by Griffin to address what we felt was a deficiency in our offering for the professional development of emerging artists. But also, on a much deeper level, to address a deficit in the main stage theatre sector as to how to meaningfully engage with artists working from diverse artistic and cultural backgrounds.

All of this came to fruition with the very generous approach by some Griffin supporters – the Girgensohn Foundation offered financial resources to help us implement a new program, and Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre offered the physical and technical resources of their wonderful building and team, where everything will take place.

From many discussions sprung the idea for Story Lab – the chance to bring together theatre-makers from diverse backgrounds for a hothouse week of exploration, collaboration, conversation and development.

Curated by former Urban Theatre Projects artistic director Alicia Talbot, Story Lab provides participants with access to some of the most interesting theatre-makers and creatives in the country. This year’s facilitators include Kate Champion (Force Majeure), Raimondo Cortese, Bruce Gladwin (Back to Back Theatre), Andrea James, Roslyn Oades, Joey Ruigrok van der Werven, and our very own Sam Strong and Lee Lewis. In addition to structured workshops, the participants will be challenged and provoked by forays into different fields – several guest speakers include architect Kiong Lee and restaurateur Nahji Chu. 

Following a huge response to our callout for emerging writers, directors and theatre-makers, we have selected 12 NSW-based artists, as well as inviting three interstate companies to support their local artists. Participants from NSW include: Jada Alberts, Travis Cardona, Alissar Chidiac, Jenevieve Chang, Sopa Enari, Nakkiah Lui, Mayu Kanamori, Kevin Ng, Tresa Ponnor, Chris Summers, Ildiko Susany and Angus Wilkinson. Interstaters include Michele Lee (supported by the Arts Centre, Melbourne), Chris Isaacs (Black Swan State Theatre Company, WA) and Bryony Geeves (Tasmanian Theatre Council).

So, now we’re all set for a wild week of challenging convention and sailing into uncharted waters. Wish us luck.