Good evening everyone, and thank you for joining us at wit incorporated’s 2018 Season Launch!
First, and most importantly, we acknowledge that we’re on the lands of the Kulin nation. This land was never ceded and still belongs to those people. Even though we weren’t invited here, we are so lucky to be welcomed and allowed to stay. To share stories and to benefit from this beautiful country. To their elders, past, present and emerging, we offer our respect and our gratitude. We will stand with you in whatever capacity you require, for as long as is required.
It’s my great pleasure to welcome some special guests.
- Vivian Clarke and Craig Rogers, the Arts & Culture wonders at City of Maribyrnong
- Lisa Horsburgh and Michael Sheill, Arts & Culture at City of Brimbank
- Siena Balakrishnan, Executive Producer at Bowery Theatre
- Kate Hood, Artistic Director of Raspberry Ripple Theatre Company
- And all of our 2017 collaborators.
A special thank you to Two Birds Brewing, for hosting us here at The Nest. I am yet to discover any way in which Jayne, Louis and Sarah are not amazing.
We had another successful residency at Bluestone Church Arts Space this year, and I am VERY pleased to announce that we’ll be back in that magical space for 2018! Thank you very much Maribyrnong City Council and their Arts and Culture team. Your support is tremendous and we’re really looking forward to another great year in the space.
We are very proud of our 2017 year of women in theatre, and our pledge to have greater representation on stage.
That was not a one-off adventure. will continue to be a focus for us. We think we can make it easier for more people to attend our shows, so this year's focus is ACCESS.
In 2018 we’ll be providing more space for wheelchairs, a more welcoming and accessible reception, Auslan interpreted performances and relaxed performances. We’ll be constantly looking for ways to bring theatre to everyone in our community.
And now the shows!
First up in our 2018 season: Bombshells by Joanna Murray-Smith
Six women are about to explode. Which one do you see in the mirror?
They’re at the brink. On the edge. Dropping bombshells with every turn. Standing right in that moment when you’re not sure if you’ll laugh, cry, scream or tap dance.
How long do you have to fake it before you make it? Why are we all still pretending that everything is okay?
Join the mother, the dumpee, the drama nerd, the bride, the widow and the diva as they balance gladness, sadness and madness. It’s something we can all relate to.
Bring your mum, your sister, your lover, your wife, your friend, and see yourselves on stage.
Featuring Jennifer Piper and Belinda Campbell, and directed by Sarah Clarke this show will have a season in March.
Our final show of 2018 is: Ophelia Thinks Harder by Jean Betts
So you think you know Hamlet?
The King is dead, the Queen has married his brother, the Prince is a hazard and the new King is a puppet. Standard day in Denmark, apparently.
Meanwhile, Ophelia tries to please. Ophelia wonders why she is not enough. Ophelia is fed up, so Ophelia thinks harder.
“How come I turned into a woman!!? Can’t I just stay a person?”
When the world tells you to become the impossible, what do you do?
A hilarious rethink of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy – only this time Ophelia gets all the best lines.
Featuring all your favourites: Sarah Clarke, Chad O’Brien, Ebony McGuire, Jennifer Piper and directed by yours truly, this show is up in November.
Well, that’s the season. But that’s not all. After an incredibly well received run this year A Hero’s Guide to Saving the Planet will remount and tour to local schools and community centres through term 2 and 3 of 2018.
Join Captain Eco and the Green Defender again as they race against time to discover who has been covering the streets of Footscray with litter! Will the Green Defender ever become a real superhero? Will they catch super-villain The Waster before the world is covered in trash? And will the Narrator ever get to finish a sentence?
Be ready for shiny capes, cheesy catchphrases, epic ukulele songs and groan-worthy jokes. This fun-packed silly-songed adventure will have you laughing off the edge off your seat and then wiggling your way to a compost bin.
With the help of the superheroes, and their guide book, learn all you need to know about recycling, reusing, reducing, plastic pollution and most importantly how we can all be environmental superheroes!
If your school would like to book in this super show, have a chat to Claire.
On top of these great shows we aim to bring you more play readings in 2018. And
Once again, thanks to support from Maribyrnong City Council, Sundays at the church, a workshop for actors, writers and directors will also continue, next year. Held at Bluestone Church Arts Space, these get togethers are not a class. They are a chance to meet other artists, work on your craft, test material and rehearse in this beautiful space.
We operating a 'pay what you can' system. We depend on your contribution to cover costs, but we understand it's not always possible for working actors to stump up the cash. Just bring along a fiver, or spare change and drop it in the jar when you get here.
The dates for 2018 Sundays are on the website now. So make sure you put them in your diary and come along!
Last but not least, Wit Kids!
Our children’s outreach program, will continue to provide drama classes to 5-12 year olds next year. Thanks to generous support from The Melitta Frick Foundation Trust, Braybrook Community Hub and Maribyrnong Community Centre, almost 100 children have enjoyed our classes this year. Enrolments are flooding in for next year and classes will start back in early February.
None of this would be possible without three very important groups of people.
Firstly, our artistic collaborators.
In Australia, it is close to impossible to earn a full-time living as an actor. We simply do not have the level of government support afforded other professions. So, we diversify. We have day jobs. And we make theatr for profit share. For the amazing theatre-makers around you, that means learning how to rig lights, running PR campaigns, working somewhere around 60 hours a week (on average), barely managing to keep the lights on some months. All so that they can bring you world-class, professional theatre, right on your doorstep.
It is so exciting for me to be able to collaborate with these amazing people. We work with emerging, mid-career and established artists and every single one of them has taught me something. So thank you. All of you. A very special thank you to the two actors who this year made their professional stage debut with us. Brava.
And the wits. Belinda, with whom I’ve stood shoulder-to-shoulder for four years. Claire and Sarah, whose enthusiasm this year has been -- apparently -- inexhaustible. And Ebony and Chad, both already actors whose work I adore, and who join us for 2018. These warriors work at all sorts of odd hours, on many thankless tasks, never compromising on their artistic standards and always upholding the ethics on which we have built wit incorporated. So, after I finish talking, go and find a wit and tell them they’re great.
Next, our sponsors and funding partners.
City of Maribyrnong have become our lifeblood. We’re heading into our fifth year of creating theatre in and for Bluestone Church Arts Space, and our third year as artistic residents. This year, we have received funding via Braybrook Community Hub for Wit Kids, via Due West for A Scandal in the Weimar, via Community Grants to create a sponsorship program and for the first time have been included in Council’s annual budget.
We started wit incorporated because this community had no full-time, professional theatre company. We saw a gap that needed filling. That does mean, of course, that we were entering a market that didn’t quite exist yet. So it has been just marvellous to find other companies in this community who want to work to make it a livelier, more artistic place to live.
Minuteman Press Footscray join us next year as printing sponsors, and as you can see, Ed, Fiona and the team do an amazing job. Take them big printing jobs. They’re local and they do what they do well.
Prostage Victoria made sure we had a platform to perform on, and somewhere to put our audience. They also really love cookies.
Village Real Estate supported us with advertising space in The Westsider this year, and are increasing their support in 2018.
Braybrook Community Hub continue to support our Wit Kids children’s drama program, through venue sponsorship and additional funding, with Maribyrnong Community Centre providing venue sponsorship.
Brimbank Council has become our second home this year, with their support via Sunshine Art Spaces. We now have a beautiful little studio in Sunshine, in which we can store our stuff (no more boxes under beds), rehearse and run our company.
Cheers once more to Jayne and everyone at Two Birds. This beer is great, and to be able to serve beer made by women in the west at our shows is particularly delicious.
To serve that beer alongside wine made in Victoria by Jen Pfeiffer under her Rock it Like a Redhead label for Naked Wines makes the bar pretty close to perfect, in my mind.
In 2018, we welcome Shoe Envy as our presenting partner for our season of Bombshells by Joanna Murray-Smith. So you know our women on the edge will be wearing exquisite shoes.
We also have huge love for Howard Fine Acting Studio, Williamstown Little Theatre, The Westsider Newspaper and all of the businesses who accept our posters and flyers whenever we come barrelling through their door.
Take your business to these people. They are good at what they do, they operate ethically, and they are good to be around.
Finally, our audiences.
You are the reason we exist. We tell these stories for you. Without you in the audience, we might as well be sitting quietly.
The exponential rate at which our local audience has grown over the past four years is sometimes overwhelming. The excitement with which people talk about being able to walk down to see a professional production is palpable. The shock of being recognised at the grocery store is unlikely to leave.
But seriously. Thank you for buying tickets. Thank you for subscribing. You get us out of bed in the morning, and you keep us up at night making sure our characters are full, interesting and human.
Please, keep buying tickets. Even better, get yourself a subscription. In fact, why not give subscriptions to a whole bunch of people for Christmas? You can pop over there and see [???]
Thank you all, so much, for your enthusiasm and support. We’re far from done, and we can’t wait to see you again next year.
So, here’s to the west, here’s to community and here’s to theatre.