Green Room: Fresh theatre, talking books, ACE artists

SA arts and culture news in brief: Theatre Republic promises its biggest year yet, headlined by a new play by Emily Steel; Adelaide Writers’ Week full line-up and schedule released; meet ACE’s new studio artists, and an Illuminate Adelaide callout.

Feb 10, 2023, updated Mar 23, 2023
Elizabeth Hay and Rashidi Edward will star in Theatre Republic's production of the Emily Steel play 'The Garden'. Photo: Thomas McCammon

Elizabeth Hay and Rashidi Edward will star in Theatre Republic's production of the Emily Steel play 'The Garden'. Photo: Thomas McCammon

A new work by award-winning South Australian playwright Emily Steel will have its world premiere at the Space Theatre later this year as the main 2023 production presented by Theatre Republic.

In announcing the premiere this week, the company described The Garden as “a funny, heartbreaking and very human examination of global inequality and its relationship to climate change, global food shortage and poverty”. It centres on the volunteer coordinator of a community garden (to be played by Elizabeth Hay) and a refugee (Rashidi Edward) who wanders into the garden wanting to become a member and grow his own vegetables. 

Steel’s previous plays include the AWGIE Award-winning 19 Weeks and the acclaimed State Theatre Company South Australia and Country Arts SA production Euphoria, which is set to have a short return season later this year. Theatre Republic says The Garden – to be presented from October 11 ­– is written with her “trademark wit, sparkling dialogue, and uncanny insight into what makes us humans tick”.

The company is currently running a fundraising campaign as part of the Creative Partnerships Australia Plus1 program to help bring the work to the stage (details here).

To celebrate its fifth anniversary this year, Theatre Republic has also produced a video featuring some of the artists it has collaborated with over the past five years speaking about their experiences. It says its full 2023 season, to be announced in April, will be its biggest yet.

Truth Be Told at Writers’ Week

Adelaide Writers’ Week has now released its full line-up and schedule for the March 4-9 event, which will feature around 160 writers over 130 sessions in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden.

New names added to the speakers list include ethicist Peter Singer, who take part in a conversation with author Samantha Rose Hill about the work of the late philosopher Hannah Arendt, a Holocaust survivor who covered the trials of Nazi official Adolf Eichmann. Singer will also speak at a session on climate change.

Other additions include international writers Sloane Crosley and Saree Makdisi, award-winning Australian author Craig Silvey, comedian Tom Ballard, journalist and author Laura Tingle, and Adelaide-based illustrator and author Jason Pamment.

As well as the live sessions this year, Writers’ Week director Louise Adler has also selected a dozen sessions that will be available to be streamed on a “pay what you can” basis. The Director’s Choice: Streamed from our place to yours series will include readings and talks by authors such as Shaun Micallef, Jane Harper and Richard Fidler.

Read more about the 2023 Writers’ Week, and its theme of Truth Be Told, in Penelope Debelle’s recent interview with Adler for InReview.

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Audiences at Adelaide Writers’ Week. Photo: Tony Lewis

In the Studios at ACE

Adelaide Contemporary Experimental has announced the line-up of artists selected for its 2023 Studio Program, which offers rent-free CBD-based studio space plus professional development opportunities for those selected.

This year’s studio artists are Teresa Busuttil (Helpmann Academy Studio Residency), Georgia Button (Adelaide Central School of Art Residency), Brad Darkson, Jennifer Mathews and Truc Truong (read more about each of the artists here).⁠ As part of the program, they will produce new work for ACE’s annual studio artist exhibition.

ACE this month opened new exhibition A river that flows both ways, which is the result of a partnership with the Biennale of Sydney. It features work from a selection of artists who participated in the 23rd Biennale, which was titled rīvus (Latin for “stream”) and explored ideas about bodies of water as dynamic living systems, tackling environmental themes including climate change and the effect of colonisation on First Peoples’ custodianship of ecosystems.

2023 Studio Program artists Georgia Button, Teresa Busuttil, Brad Darkson, Truc Truong and Jennifer Mathews. Photo: Thomas McCammon

See the New Light

Illuminate Adelaide is seeking applications for a program showcasing experimental and diverse moving image works by First Nations artists.

Artworks commissioned for New Light 2023, which is presented in partnership with the Australian Network for Art + Technology (ANAT), will be displayed on the outdoor screens at the King William Road entrance to Adelaide Festival Centre in July 2023 as part of the Illuminate Adelaide festival.

Applications are open to First Nations artists or groups nationwide (details here) until 3pm on March 8.

Beeyali, by Lyndon Davis, New Light 2021. Photo: Frankie The Creative

Green Room is a regular column for InReview, providing quick news for people interested, or involved, in South Australian arts and culture.

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