Griffin Theatre Company
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Griffin Theatre Company is an Australian theatre specialising in new writing, based in Sydney. It is the resident theatre company at the SBW Stables Theatre in Kings Cross. It is the only professional theatre company in Sydney entirely dedicated to the development and production of new Australian writing for the stage.
The Artistic Director is Lee Lewis, who took up the position in 2013. Previous Artistic Directors include Sam Strong (2010–2013), Nick Marchand (2006–2010), David Berthold (2003–06), Ros Horin (1992–2003), Ian Watson and the original Artistic Director, Peter Kingston.
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In 1979, actors Peter Carmody, Penny Cook, Rosemarie Lenzo and Robert Menzies banded together under the directorship of Jenny Laing-Peach to present the Irish play The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy at the Kirk Gallery in Cleveland Street, Surry Hills. They made a profit and went on to produce two Australian plays by John Stone at the Orange Door in Oxford St, Paddington – Discovering Australia and The Grand Finale of Rene Trouver, directed by Peter Kingston. The name 'Griffin' derived from the name of the street in Surry Hills in which Jenny Laing-Peach lived. Slowly the group enlarged (incorporating quite a few NIDA graduates) and next presented Joe Orton's The Ruffian on the Stair at the ANU Canberra in March 1980.
Bob Ellis and Anne Brooksbank, the owners of The Stables Theatre in Kings Cross, offered Griffin a lease. A month later Ruffian played as a lunch-time and late-night programme with David Williamson's The Coming of Stork in the main timeslot. For the next two years a mixture of overseas and Australian plays were presented at The Stables. But more and more the Company was becoming aware of the amount of Australian writing talent available and in May 1981 after successful readings of four new plays, the decision was made to adopt an all-Australian policy.
With small grants from New South Wales and Commonwealth funding bodies, in 1982 the Company kicked off with Grant Fraser's 'Cheap Thrills' and since then...Australian plays have been produced, most of which have been premieres. Writers represented are Stephen Sewell, Barry Dickins, Ron Blair, Steve J. Spears, Mil Perrin, Craig Cronin, Ingle Knight, Pamela Van Amstel, Ray Mathew, Clem Gorman, Ned Manning, Ross Lonnie, Doreen Clarke, Gordon Graham, Jennifer Paynter, Greg McCart, Mij Tanith, John Stone, Brett Murphy, Hannie Rayson and Michael Gow.
For the 1984 season the Company was awarded The Sydney Critic's Circle Award for "the most significant contribution to theatre that year."
In 1986 Peter Kingston was appointed the Company's first Artistic Director. He was followed into that position by Ian Watson.
In 1999, The Sun Herald described Griffin as Australia's ‘Theatre of the Decade'.
Cate Blanchett and Jacqueline McKenzie began their professional careers at Griffin. The films Lantana, The Boys, and The Heartbreak Kid (which later spun off into the television series Heartbreak High) were based on plays produced by Griffin. Away, Australia's most produced contemporary play, also started at the company.
Recent Griffin Theatre Company mainstage seasons are listed below.
- Masquerade by Kate Mulvany. 7–17 January 2015
- Caress/Ache by Suzie Miller. 27 February – 11 April 2015
- The House on the Lake by Aidan Fennessy. 15 May – 20 June 2015
- The Bleeding Tree by Angus Cerini. 31 July – 5 September 2015
- A Rabbit for Kim Jong-il by Kit Brookman. 9 October – 21 November 2015
- Emerald City by David Williamson. 17 October – 6 December 2014
- The Witches by Rohl Dahl, adapted from the stage play by David Wood. 24 September – 5 October 2014
- Ugly Mugs by Peta Brady. 18 July – 24 August 2014
- Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography by Declan Greene. 2 May – 14 June 2014
- Jump for Jordan by Donna Abela 14 February – 29 March 2014
- The Serpent's Table by Darren Yap and Lee Lewis. 24–27 January 2014
- Dreams in White – by Duncan Graham. 8 February – March 2013
- The Bull, the Moon and the Coronet of Stars – by Van Badham. 2 May – June 2013
- Beached – by Melissa Bubnic. 17 July 31 August 2013
- The Floating World – by John Romeril. 4 October – 16 November 2013
- The Boys – by Gordon Graham. 6 January – 3 March 2012
- The Story of Mary MacLane by Herself – by Bojana Novakovic, music by Tim Rogers, after the writings of Mary MacLane. 4 April – 12 May 2012
- Angela's Kitchen – by Paul Capsis and Julian Meyrick. 15 May – 9 June 2012
- A Hoax – by Rick Viede. 20 July – 1 September 2012
- Between Two Waves - by Ian Meadows. 5 October – 17 November 2012
- Speaking in Tongues – by Andrew Bovell. 4 February – 19 March 2011
- Silent Disco – by Lachlan Philpott. 22 April – 4 June 2011
- And No More Shall We Part – by Tom Holloway. 29 July – 3 September 2011
- This Year's Ashes – by Jane Bodie. 7 October – 19 November 2011
- Museum of Broken Relationships - by the Griffin Audience, in collaboration with Ian Meadows, Kate Mulvany, Shannon Murphy, Paige Rattray
- Graces – by Angus Cerini, Elise Hearst and Lachlan Philpott. 14 September – 7 December 2010
- Love Me Tender – by Tom Holloway. 18 March – 11 April 2010
- Like A Fishbone by Anthony Weigh. 16 July – 7 August 2010
- Quack by Ian Wilding. 27 August – 2 October 2010
- Angela's Kitchen by Paul Capsis and Julian Meyrick / Associate Writer Hilary Bell. 5 November – 18 December 2010
- The Fates – by Kamarra Bell-Wykes, Jonathan Ari Lander and Catherine Ryan. (Script) 19 May – November 2009
- Holiday – by Ranters Theatre. (Script) 4–28 February 2009
- Concussion by Ross Mueller. (Script) 13 March – 4 April 2009
- The Call – by Patricia Cornelius. (Script) 1 May – 6 June 2009
- Savage River – by Steve Rodgers. (Script) 12 June – 8 July 2009
- Strange Attractor- by Sue Smith. (Script) 23 October – 21 November 2009
- Seasons – by Nicki Bloom, Jonathan Gavin, Sue Smith and Rick Viede. (Script) 19 January – 8 February 2008
- China – by William Yang. (Script) 19 January – 8 February 2008
- The Kid – by Michael Gow. (Script) 22 March – 26 April 2008
- Don't Say The Words – by Tom Holloway. (Script) 4–26 July 2008
- The Modern International Dead – by Damien Millar. (Script) 12 September – 11 October 2008
- Tender – by Nicki Bloom. (Script) 21 November – 20 December 2008
- Impractical Jokes – by Charlie Pickering. 23 January – 2 February 2008
- Holding the Man – Adapted by Tommy Murphy. from the book by Timothy Conigrave (Script) 8 February – 3 March 2007
- The Nightwatchman – by Daniel Keene. (Script) 9 March – 18 April 2007
- October – by Ian Wilding. (Script) 20 April – 26 May 2007
- The Story of the Miracles at Cookie's Table – by Wesley Enoch. (Script) 10 August – 22 September 2007
- King Tide – by Katherine Thomson. (Script) 18 October – 24 November 2007
- The Seven Needs – by 7-ON. (Donna Abela, Vanessa Bates, Hilary Bell, Noëlle Janaczewska, Verity Laughton, Ned Manning and Catherine Zimdahl) (Script) 27 March – 13 November 2007
- The Emperor of Sydney – by Louis Nowra. 16 August – 23 September 2007
Running since 2004 (then called Griffin Stablemates), in parallel to Griffin's own mainstage season of new Australian plays, Griffin Independent is an annual season of 5–6 new plays presented by independent theatre companies.
Commissioned and premiered works
Playwrights whose work has premiered at Griffin include:
- Glenda Adams – The Monkey Trap (1998)
- Richard Barrett – The Heartbreak Kid (1987)
- Hilary Bell – Wolf Lullaby (1996), The Falls (2000)
- Andrew Bovell – After Dinner (1989), Whisky on the Breath of a Drunk You Love (1992), Speaking in Tongues (1996), Ship of Fools (1999)
- Brendan Cowell – Rabbit (2003)
- Timothy Daly – Kafka Dances (1993), The Moonwalkers (1995), Private Visions of Gottfried Kellner (1999)
- Wesley Enoch – The Story of the Miracles at Cookie's Table (2007)
- Gordon Graham – The Boys (1991)
- Michael Gow – Away (1986), Europe (1987), Live Acts on Stage (1996)
- Noel Hodda – The Secret House (1987), Half Safe (1990),
- Ingle Knight – White Nancy (1982)
- Ned Manning – Us or Them (1984), Belonging (2007)
- Tommy Murphy – Strangers in Between (2005), Holding the Man (Adapted from the book by Timothy Conigrave, 2006)
- Louis Nowra – Death of Joe Orton, The Boyce Trilogy:The Woman with Dog's Eyes (2004), The Marvellous Boy (2005), The Emperor of Sydney (2006)
- Debra Oswald – Mr Bailey's Minder (2004), The Peach Season (2006)
- Stephen Sewell – The Father We Loved On A Beach By The Sea (1981), In Stillness My Sister Speaks to Me (1990), The Secret Death of Salvador Dali (2004), Three Furies Scenes from the life of Francis Bacon (2005)
- Katherine Thomson – Wonderlands (2003), "King Tide" (2007)
- Ian Wilding – Below (2000), Torrez (2004), "October" (2007)
- Catherine Zimdahl – Clark in Sarajevo (1998)
Bestowed annually since 1998, the Griffin Award is offered to the most outstanding new work as read and judged by a panel appointed by Griffin. One stipulation on entry is that all works submitted have not been performed or produced prior.
- 1998 – Catherine Zimdahl for Clark in Sarajevo
- 1999 – Neil Cole for Alive at Williamstown Pier
- 2000 – Ian Wilding for Below
- 2001 – Verity Laughton for Burning
- 2002 – Noelle Janacsewska for Songket and Patrick Van der Werf for Presence
- 2003 – Brendan Cowell for Rabbit
- 2004 – Debra Oswald for Mr Bailey's Minder
- 2005 – Ian Wilding for The Carnivores
- 2006 – Mary Rachel Brown for Australian Gothic
- 2007 – Damien Millar for Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures
- 2008 – Rick Viede for Whore
- 2009 – Lachlan Philpott for Silent Disco
- The Currency Press Current Theatre Series publication for 'Morning Sacrifice' by Dymphna Cusack (1986 Currency Press Pty Ltd)
- "Griffin Theatre Company Archives" (PDF). Griffin Theatre Company. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Griffin Theatre Company website
- 'Company profile', Griffin Theatre Company (2009). Retrieved 6 December 2009.
- 'Griffin Production Archive', Griffin Theatre Company (2009). Retrieved 6 December 2009.