Belvoir (theatre company)

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Belvoir is an Australian theatre company based at the Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney, Australia. Its Artistic Director is Ralph Myers.[1]

Belvoir receives government support for its activities from the federal government through the Major Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts and the state government through Arts NSW.[2]

History[edit]

Belvoir began, in 1984, with a unique action taken to save the Nimrod Theatre building. Two syndicates were established, 'Company A' with shares at $1000 each, which would own the building, and 'Company B', with shares at $10 each.[3] 'Company B' aimed to stage theatre productions which were 'contemporary, politically sharp, hard-edged Australian theatre; to develop new forms of theatrical expression; work by and about Aboriginal Australians; work created by women; radical interpretations of the classics and work that is surprising, diverse and passionate'.[4]

Belvoir was officially launched in February 1985.[3] Later that year, Signal Driver, written by Patrick White and directed by Neil Armfield, was 'the first play produced from the ground up by Belvoir'.[5] In the lead roles were Kerry Walker and John Gaden.[5][6] The theatre poster was designed by Martin Sharp.[3] Armfield later recalled that White, who had purchased ten shares in the theatre, was its 'greatest shareholder'.[5]

From its foundation, Belvoir also instituted a 'parity pay policy' where all employees, from actors to stage hands, received the same hourly rate of pay.[7] This policy, which continued from 1985 to the end of the 2011 season,[8] prompted former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating to describe the Belvoir as 'Australia’s last commune'.[9]

In 2005, Belvoir temporarily moved to the Seymour Centre, Chippendale, while the theatre building underwent an $11.6 million renovation, and returned the following year.[10]

In January 2011, Ralph Myers took over from Neil Armfield as artistic director, stating 'There's a wealth of Australian playwriting and 2500 years of great plays to draw on, I don't see a need to import new plays from overseas.'[8] In July 2014, Myers announced that he would be stepping down from his role at the end of the 2015 season.[11] Myers said he had 'an "ideological" commitment to the regular turnover of artistic directorships'.[11]

Also in 2011, Belvoir appointed Simon Stone as the first director-in-residence.[12] Stone's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck, with the Belvoir, went on to win both Helpmann and Sydney Theatre Awards, in 2011, before being taken to Oslo for a three night performance as part of the 2012 International Ibsen Festival.[13] Stone resigned from his position in 2013,[12] and was replaced by dual directors-in-residence Adena Jacobs and Anne-Louise Sarks.[14]

2010 Season[edit]

  • That Face - written by Polly Stenham, directed by Lee Lewis
  • Love Me Tender - written by Tom Holloway, directed by Matt Lutton
  • The Power of Yes - written by David Hare, directed by Sam Strong
  • Measure for Measure - written by William Shakespeare, directed by Benedict Andrews
  • Gwen in Purgatory - written by Tommy Murphy, directed by Neil Armfield
  • Namatjira - written by Scott Rankin, directed by Soctt Rankin and Wayne Blair
  • The Diary of a Madman - written by Nikolai Gogol (adapted by David Holman with Neil Armfield and Geoffrey Rush, directed by Armfield)

2011 Season[edit]

  • The Wild Duck - written and directed by Simon Stone, After Henrik Ibsen
  • Jack Charles v the Crown - written by Jack Charles and John Romeril, directed by Rachael Maza Long
  • Cut - written by Duncan Graham, directed by Sarah John
  • The Business - based on Vassa Zheleznova by Maxim Gorky, adapted by Jonathan Gavin with Cristabel Sved, directed by Cristabel Sved
  • The Kiss - written by Anton Chekhov, Kate Chopin, Peter Goldsworthy and Guy de Mauppasant, directed by Susanna Dowling
  • The Seagull - written by Anton Chekhov, directed by Benedict Andrews
  • Neighbourhood Watch - written by Lally Katz, directed by Simon Stone
  • Windmill Baby - written by David Milroy, directed by Kylie Farmer
  • Human Interest Story - choreographed by Lucy Guerin
  • And They Called Him Mr Glamour - written by Gareth Davies, directed by Thomas Wright
  • Summer of the Seventeenth Doll - by Ray Lawler, directed by Neil Armfield
  • The Dark Room - written by Angela Betzien, directed by Leticia Cáceres
  • As You Like It - written by William Shakespeare, directed by Eamon Flack

2012 Season[edit]

  • Buried City - written by Raimondo Cortese, conceived and directed by Alicia Talbot
  • I'm Your Man - creator and director Roslyn Oades
  • Thyestes - co-written by Thomas Henning, Chris Ryan, Simon Stone and Mark Winter after Seneca, directed by Simon Stone
  • Babyteeth - written by Rita Kalnejais, director Eamon Flack
  • Every Breath - written and directed by Benedict Andrews
  • Food - written by Steve Rodgers, directed by Kate Champion and Steve Rodgers
  • Strange Interlude - written by Simon Stone after Eugene O'Neill, directed by Simon Stone
  • Old Man - written by Matthew Whittet, directed by Anthea Williams
  • Death of a Salesman - written by Arthur Miller, directed by Simon Stone
  • Conversation Piece - choreographer and director Lucy Guerin
  • Private Lives - written by Noël Coward, directed by Ralph Myers
  • Medea - written by Kate Mulvany and Anne-Louise Sarks after Euripides, directed by Anne-Louise Sarks
  • Beautiful One Day - created by Paul Dwyer, Eamon Flack, Rachael Maza and David Williams
  • Don't Take Your Love To Town - created by Eamon Flack and Leah Purcell, based on the book Don’t Take Your Love to Town by Ruby Langford Ginibi, directed by Leah Purcell

Belvoir Education Program[edit]

The Belvoir's education program for students and teachers includes practical theatre workshops at the theatre or participating school, tours of backstage and behind the scenes areas of the theatre, technical tours led by a professional theatre technician and a Theatre Enrichment Program for 'senior English and Drama students in Western Sydney and regional NSW'.[15] In addition, Belvoir’s Outreach Program partners with local youth support organisations such as Youth Off The Streets, The John Berne School, Twenty10 and Regenesis Youth.[15] Through the Priority Funded Schools Program Belvoir also allows selected students to attend some performances free of charge.[15] Limited student work experience and work placement opportunities are also available.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nicholson, Anne Maria (12 November 2009). "Young blood to take Belvoir reins". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Major performing arts organisations: Belvoir". Arts NSW. Government of New South Wales. 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Cousins, Robert (2011-06-04). "Belvoir St: coming of age". The Australian. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  4. ^ Filmer, Andrew (6 July 2006). "A Place For Theatre: Performing At Belvoir Street". Backstage Space: The Place of the Performer. Department of Performance Studies, University of Sydney. p. 201. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  5. ^ a b c Armfield, Neil (2012). "Patrick White: A Centenary Tribute". Meanjin. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  6. ^ Blake, Elissa (2009-03-21). "Never far from home". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  7. ^ Schwartzkoff, Louise (21 February 2009). "The theatre company where nobody gets top billing". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Boland, Michaela (2010-09-16). "Ralph Myers puts stamp on Belvoir St". The Australian. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  9. ^ "Belvoir Annual Report 2011". Belvoir St. Theatre. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  10. ^ Jinman, Richard (2006-07-26). "Asbestos in the roof the latest drama at Belvoir Street". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  11. ^ a b Blake, Elissa (2014-07-22). "Final curtain: Belvoir artistic director Ralph Myers to leave theatre company". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  12. ^ a b Saxby, John (2013-04-08). "Director-in-residence leaves Belvoir home". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  13. ^ Blake, Elissa (2012-04-24). "Award-winning Belvoir production chosen for Ibsen festival". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  14. ^ Dow, Steven (2013-04-09). "Secret's out: Belvoir unveils a double bill". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  15. ^ a b c d "Education at Belvoir". Belvoir St. Theatre. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 

External links[edit]