My blog has quite a lot of posts about Samuel West (Julius Caesar, On Chesil Beach and Darkest Hour) and Charles Edwards (My Fair Lady Australian tour and Henry IX).

Saturday, 12 March 2016

National Theatre of Parramatta, The Family Law, more diverse stories, gender swap Shakespeare

Coincidentally, the source for all of the Australian news in this post is from Fairfax #notsponsored.

The National Theatre of Parramatta's 2016 season begins in April with Swallow by Stef Smith. The NToP is a new company based at Riverside Theatres in western Sydney. It seeks to produce work that reflects diversity in Australian society. At the company's launch in November 2015, co-artistic director Annette Shun Wah explained, "What we usually see on Sydney stages does not reflect the nation as it is in terms of its cultural diversity, its socio-economic diversity, or in terms of age, gender or sexuality. We want to change that."
NToP has received support from public and private sources: Arts NSW, Parramatta City Council, Crown Resorts Foundation and the Packer Foundation (via the Sydney Morning Herald)

In February, Benjamin Law wrote about how Australians with an Asian background are rarely seen on TV (his Good Weekend column in the Sydney Morning Herald). He recently adapted his memoir The Family Law for television. Its TV debut had half a million viewers, which makes it one of SBS' highest rating original scripted programs. In addition, the series' first episode received over 1.1 million views when it premiered on Facebook (Media Day).

Actor Miranda Tapsell discussed diversity and identity in a recent Sunday Life interview. Excerpts:
"I'm often asked, 'Where are you from?' As if I'm meant to be from somewhere else, that my dark skin represents some other identity. I'm very proud to be from this country, but I wish more people could take a leaf out of my parents' book because they always saw a more inclusive Australia, where I don't have to explain my identity to anyone because it was embraced from the beginning."
"I know there's a hunger for those stories, for more diverse stories. I just feel that more women of colour should be sharing the stage and screen with me." [Tapsell has an Aboriginal background]


David Harewood has suggested that audiences "want to see more diverse stories. It’s not about putting three black people in the back of the shot. It’s about making it normal to see a black actor in a leading role. It still amazes me that Idris Elba is the only black actor in a lead role on British TV." (Radio Times via @actforchangehq)

Scott Ellis and Pippa Nixon have explained how gender can be flexible in Shakespeare productions. Ellis, a director, founded Merely Theatre (The Stage via @actforchangehq). Merely Theatre is currently touring A Midsummer Night's Dream and Henry V in rep. Nixon is playing Ariel in The Tempest at The Globe until 22 April (The Stage via @The_Globe).

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