Last week I headed up to Sydney to announce a new DSE production, They Divided the Sky. This production will be on at Belvoir in June of this year as part of the 25A intiative.
It’s a beautiful project that will be created with performers Nikki Shiels and Alexander England, performers I first met ten years ago when they performed in my Peer Gynt. Nikki is a founding member of DSE and created such a memorable Nora for my Dollhouse, as well as being part of the ensemble for our last major project M+M. Nikki of course has been creating beautiful work for some of the best directors in the country in both Melbourne and Sydney in recent years. Alexander has been wowing television audiences – a particular favourite of mine was his role in A Beautiful Lie, the ABCTV adaptation of Anna Karenina – and the soon-to-be released film Little Monsters has got quite a buzz around it -but he’s also a theatre animal of the first order. Since performing in Peer Gynt, Alexander was an integral part of both development processes for M+M and I’ve been looking for a project that would tempt him back to the stage since. I love working with new artists, of course, but there is also a special pleasure in returning to the room with old comrades, deepening relationships and working from an ever-more dense understanding and appreciation of each other’s craft and world-view.
Joining the creative team will be the incomparable designer Robert Cousins. Together, we are stimulated by the challenges of embracing the “dogme” philosophy that 25A has imposed. Amelia Lever-Davidson is a brilliant young lighting designer who has been winning awards and traveling the globe these past few years, I’m really looking forward to introducing her work to Sydney audiences. And James Paul, who has been a very important member of my core team for a few years now, will be designing sound.
Belvoir’s 25A is a great initiative to re-open the Downstairs Theatre at Belvoir to independent artists, the first season looks great and was enthusiastically received. It looks like a very important addition to our theatre ecology and we all hope it will thrive and evolve.
I’ll write a little more about They Divided the Sky separately, it’s a beautiful novel by Christa Wolf (excellently translated by Luise von Flotow, if you want to dive into it before seeing our show), and the project has a very interesting provenance. More soon but fair warning: it’s a small venue and a short season, so book early if you don’t want to miss it.