‘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.