By Suzie Miller
28 March - 3 May 2023
After a sold-out run on the West End, Griffin Theatre Company’s original production of Suzie Miller’s Griffin Award-winning tour de force makes its much-anticipated return.
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 (RBG: Of Many, One, Anna K, 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 mature themes, sexual references and descriptions of sexual violence.
If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or Rainbow Door 1800 729 367.
This touring production is managed by Arts on Tour.
Director Lee Lewis
Designer Renée Mulder
Lighting Designer Trent Suidgeest
Composer & Sound Designer Paul Charlier
Production Manager Julia Orlando
Stage Manager Katie Hankin
With Sheridan Harbridge
Prima Facie was originally produced at the SBW Stables Theatre in 2019.
Geelong Arts Centre, VIC | Land of the Wathaurong (Wadawurrung) People
28 March – 1 April | BOOK
Theatre Royal Hobart, TAS | Land of the muwinina People
4 – 6 April | BOOK
paranaple arts centre Devonport, TAS | Land of the Punnilerpanner People
13 April | BOOK
Lighthouse Theatre Warrnambool, VIC | Land of the Gunditjmara People
15 – 16 April | BOOK
The Q – Queanbeyan, NSW | Land of the Ngambri and Ngunnawal People
19 April | BOOK
Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre, NSW | Land of the Wiradjuri People
21 April | BOOK
HotHouse Theatre Wodonga, VIC | Land of the Wiradjuri People
26 – 29 April | BOOK
Empire Theatre Toowoomba, QLD | Land of the Jagera, Giabal and Jarowair People
3 May | BOOK
100 minutes (no interval)
“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