Artistic Director’s Message
HOME ‘let come’ – 2020
I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which any Red Line Production takes place, and pay respect to the 29 clans of the Eora Nation. I would also like to acknowledge that this land falls within the boundaries of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council. I would like to pay respect to Elders both past and present, and all Aboriginal peoples whichever nation they come from.
There is only one thing more satisfying someone walking through the doors of the Old Fitz for the first time, and that is watching people return. For the first timers they have to navigate their way through the backstreets of Woolloomooloo to find a 160-year-old pub in the middle of a housing commission estate, they walk through the dark blue door and they come upon a range of colourful characters in the bar.
Be it an iconic female impersonator of Les Girls fame, or a playwright sipping an overly generous glass of sauvignon blanc, or an Irish Wolfhound who sticks his head out from under a table to inspect theatregoers,or a man dressed in a Hawaiian shirt with a soothing voice perfect for a late night radio show for the lovelorn.
Now unless you are in the ‘know,’ the actual location of the theatre isn’t immediately obvious and on many an occasion people have had to be rescued from walking into the bathrooms, the kitchen or even finding themselves in a basement pokie room.
Once a regular they know they can have a drink and or dinner and wait for the bell where there can be a rush to get the best seats.
We have rung that bell thousands of times, much to the chagrin of the locals and the Irish Wolfhound, but with every bell ring, which involves two laps of the pub, inside and outside, it is a reminder that art always finds a way, and in the backstreets of Woollomooloo it is our privilege to call the Fitz ‘HOME.’
And it is home for a group of extraordinary locals, this place is an extension of their individual living rooms and you can set your watch to their arrivals.
The collection of human beings that gather at this place on a daily basis are the most special humans I have ever met, and they complement our theatre perfectly. Because theatre is a place of togetherness and shared experience.
It is importantly a home for artists, although a 60 seat theatre is an economically impossible environment, artists come through these doors and invest in the space. We have had lighting designs, set designs, performances, stage and production management, direction, and costumes of a world class standard fairly freaking consistently and they are always an investment from exceptional artists who are the reason that over 221,000 people have sat in that theatre and seen a show with us.
And so – Our season, celebrates that, our season is simply called…
We have travelled away from home over the last half decade and moved shows into Belvoir St (The Wolves,) The Ensemble, Glen St & Merrigong (A View From The Bridge,) The Civic Theatre (Howie The Rookie,) and as much as we grow, we celebrate our treasured Old Fitz and always want to nurture this sacred space.
2020 is a big year, not just for Red Line, not just for the Fitz, but for the world, and it is a year, that is so important to celebrate the little things, the things that inspire us, the people that love us, the sun shining, and the rain- and to hope for more of it.
This season will start with our biggest project yet, we will be reimagining Reg Livermore’s legendary Betty Blokk-Buster Follies as part of Sydney Festival at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent in Hyde Park. At the helm is Helpmann Award Winning director Craig Ilott, whose production of Smoke and Mirrors remains one of the most nourishing productions I have ever experienced.
Additionally, we have adapted Andy Griffiths ‘JUST series’ for the stage and we will be presenting the show for the next generation of theatre goers everywhere from Chippendale, to Parramatta, to Wyong, to Penrith and will continue to roll it out across the country.
And here? At our home, we proudly present our biggest, bravest and most extreme season yet.
Including the two shows I have already mentioned we have 6 world premieres, 1 Australian Premiere, 2 Sydney Premieres, and 2 phenomenal revivals.
You may also notice that nothing is programmed past November 7th 2020, to be honest, that’s because I don’t know what I could program, that would be appropriate for a time that will have all eyes on the US election.
Whatever we do will be in consideration of how 2020 evolves and I encourage ideas from everyone.
In the spirit of celebrating:
For me, the most profound experience I had in the theatre this year was Every Brilliant Thing at Belvoir.
If you didn’t catch it, the premise was very simple, it was someone writing down a list of things that are ‘brilliant’ in their life, things, by writing them down allowed them to be forever stitched in the fabric of the person
Here is a little list from me of 35 brilliant things
1) Belvoir slaying the Helpmann awards with the most ambitious project in their history
2) Lee Lewis being appointed as the Artistic Director of Queesland Theatre
3) Genevieve Muratore’s laugh, and hearing her hold back tears in a bio box
4) Mad March Hare Theatre Company
5) Jeremy Waters dedication in producing three massive shows in 12 months
6) A Dino Dimitriadis, Ben Brockman and Ben Pierpoint collaboration
7) An agent talking to an unsubsidised theatre company with enthusiasm
8) Openly talking about mental health
9) The Actors Benevolent Fund, who provide assistance to artists in need with kindness and an open heart
10) An artist reaching out to the Actors Benevolent Fund
11) Being able to offer a subscription for the first time in Red Line’s history
12) Wesley Enoch trusting Red Line to play a major role in his 2020 festival
13) People who value the arts
14) People who donate to the arts
15) 11 years of Sport For Jove
16) 10 Years of Apocalypse Theatre Company
17) The ‘critics circle’ who put together the Sydney Theatre Awards voluntarily
18) Shell Mckenzie’s twins
19) Shell Mckenzie
20) Al Pacino being lucky enough to work with Kate Mulvany
21) Maggie Franklin’s ‘theatre time’ group
22) Drama Schools that educate students about unsubsidised theatre
23) The Glugs
24) Robin Goldsworthy making his writing debut
25) People who replace ‘main stage’ with ‘subsidised’ in their vernacular
26) Standing ovation man
27) The success of ONCE at the Eternity Playhouse
28) Meyne Wyatt’s explosive writing debut
29) Paige Rattray’s national smash hits coming fresh, fast and
30) The sound of clapping
31) Subsidised theatres programming work from the unsubsidised
32) An actor being fearless
33) Tarantino and Lynch both scoring Damon
34) A full house
And finally, my most brilliant thing..
35) Vanessa Wright.
Welcome to Red Line 2020.