By Suzie Miller
24 November - 11 December 2021
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After a sold-out season at the Stables, Suzie Miller’s Griffin Award-winning tour de force makes its much-anticipated return to the Seymour Centre stage in 2021.
Prima Facie is an indictment of the Australian legal system’s failure to provide reliable pathways to justice for women in rape, sexual assault or harassment cases. It’s a work of fiction, but one that could have been ripped from the headlines of any paper, any day of the week, so common you could cry. Sheridan Harbridge stars as Tessa—a criminal lawyer at the top of her game who knows the law permits no room for emotion.
To win, you just need to believe in the rules. And Tessa loves to win, even when defending clients accused of sexual assault. Her court-ordained duty trumps her feminism. But when she finds herself on the other side of the bar, Tessa is forced into the shadows of doubt she’s so ruthlessly cast over other women.
Turning Sydney’s courts of law into a different kind of stage, this taut, rapid-fire and gripping one-woman show by Suzie Miller (Sunset Strip) exposes the shortcomings of a patriarchal justice system where it’s her word against his. Maybe we need a new system.
Want to go deeper? View the online program
Prima Facie contains descriptions of sex scenes and sexual assault.
NSW Rape Crisis
1800 424 017 (24/7)
Sexual Assault Counselling Australia
1800 211 028
(8am – 11pm, Mon – Fri)
Director Lee Lewis
Designer Renée Mulder
Lighting Designer Trent Suidgeest
Composer & Sound Designer Paul Charlier
Stage Manager Khym Scott
With Sheridan Harbridge
Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre
Season 24 November – 11 December
Monday – Friday 7pm
Saturday 1pm & 7pm
Tuesday 30 November
Please note, there is a complete lock-out on all performances and latecomers won’t be admitted, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the Seymour Centre, grab a drink, and get settled.
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Meet the Team
Meet the Writer
“Prima Facie gives a platform for a woman to speak her truth, asking us to look beyond first impressions and to dig deeper into the very structures and procedures that embed underlying injustices. This is an urgent and compelling work: one that should be as widely seen for its craft, just as much as its subject matter should be better understood by our politicians, lawmakers and general public. Run, don’t walk.” ★★★★★ Debbie Zhou, Time Out
“The power of Miller’s script finds its match in both performer and production. Sheridan Harbridge is open, raw and technically impressive as Tessa, offering up a perfectly calibrated performance full of emotional truth. It’s one that also registers as deeply generous, almost attentive, as if the actor is extending one hand to the audience at the play’s most bruising moments. She is skillfully directed by Lee Lewis, whose intelligent production handles the play’s subject matter and tonal shifts with supreme finesse.” ★★★★1/2 Justin Nguyen, Limelight
“Sheridan Harbridge is superb as Tessa. Combative, controlled and clear-sighted in the first half, her decimation in the second is all the more gut-wrenching in this intense production directed by Lee Lewis.” ★★★★ Joyce Morgan, Sydney Morning Herald
“Miller’s writing is sharp, urgently precise, and yet still evokes beauty; it’s a steely play overlaid with delicate, insightful emotional work. In the hands of Sheridan Harbridge, a performer who invites you into her characters’ inner life without hesitation, it soars… the play is a living document, a map for change. It’s theatre that holds our hands and says: there could be justice for those one in three. We can change the law.” ★★★★ Cassie Tongue, Audrey Journal
“This was one of the most chilling, affecting plays I have ever seen — it agitated something great and powerful inside me — and it’s something every woman should experience.” Jessie Tu, Women’s Agenda
“An astonishingly rich and refined work…rarely has a standing ovation at curtain call felt so natural.” ★★★★★ Veronica Hannon, Theatre Now
“Harbridge is magnificent as she portrays a confident woman at the top of her professional game, one who is physically and emotional humiliated but determined to rise above the gender and legal odds stacked against her…She never falters in delivering the grit and broad spectrum of emotions required.” ★★★★ Steve Dow, Australian Book Review
“Miller is precise and thorough, in her careful storytelling. She engages our hearts and minds, for a stirring theatrical experience, perfectly suited to our current climate of #MeToo heightened social consciousness…Actor Sheridan Harbridge holds us captive for the entire 100 minutes, of her spellbinding one-woman show. It is an extraordinary achievement.” Suzy Wrong, SuzyGoesSee
“This is not a plea, and it is more forceful than a call-to-arms. It is a voice of steely reckoning that contains within its very timbre the rage of being a woman.” Bryoni Trezise, The Conversation
“What gets Sheridan Harbridge through this performance? Hearts are surely not designed for such shattering…I fully expected to be wreckage by the end of this show as I experienced its building to an apogee of blistering indictment but instead, I came away energised by the power of theatre to respond to systemic injustice.” Judith Greenaway, Reviews by Judith