Works by women and diversity on stage, for wit incorporated theatre ensemble
Coinciding with the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, Footscray's wit incorporated theatre company has announced an exciting new season for 2017 that puts women at the heart of the story.
Artistic Director Belinda Campbell says it's an important statement. "Too often, we see stories that feature women only in supporting roles, even when it's a lead character," she says. "It can also be difficult to find stories written or directed by women. So this season, we're presenting a season of works by women. That means every actor, director and writer involved is a woman."
"But we know that gender isn’t the only great divider in our society. So you’ll also see casts as diverse as the community in which they are performing," Campbell says. "That means our shows will be performed by actors from diverse cultural backgrounds, of differing sexuality, some with disability some without.
"Of course, at the heart of it all, is great storytelling."
During the company's season launch party on Friday 2 December, Campbell also introduced the 2017 ensemble, including Allison Bell, Claire Bowen and Sarah Clarke, alongside Campbell herself and Company Manager Jennifer Piper.
The season opens with the world-premiere of A Hero's Guide to Saving the Planet, written by Campbell after the incredible success of 2016's Fairy Tale News (now published and available via Australian Plays Online). It's a comedy for anyone who loves a super-hero and will delight audiences of all ages during the mid-year school holidays. Another world-premiere follows, with A Scandal in the Weimar, a new Sherlock Holmes adventure from Claire Bowen and Jennifer Piper. Campbell will direct the classic buddy story, as Lady Sherlock Holmes and Dr Jean Watson travel to Berlin in 1939 to face off against the Nazis. 2017 will finish with Outside In. Set inside a women's prison, it's a script that the team believes should be a contemporary classic. It's everything audiences love about TV shows like Wentworth and Orange is the New Black, but live on stage.
wit incorporated has also promised more play readings and special events throughout the year.
The company's children's outreach program, Wit Kids, will continue into its second year, with support from Braybrook Community Hub and Seddon Community Bank.
They will also continue their Sundays at the Church workshop series, inviting theatre makers from around Melbourne's inner west and beyond to join them and continue to work on their craft in the beautiful surrounds of Bluestone Church Arts Space.
Company Manager Jennifer Piper says the program would not be possible without the support of City of Maribyrnong.
"Maribyrnong City Council, as well as hosting us in this amazing space, provided two grants in 2016 – one to fund the development of Couch Potato and one to run the pilot year of Wit Kids," Piper says. "In 2017 they’re providing another grant to help us grow our corporate partnership program, and they've also welcomed us back as Artists in Residence for 2016.
"We really couldn't do this without them."
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