Come to Where I Am

Theatre Free
Woman standing with hand against wall
Photograph: Supplied/Critical Stages

Time Out says

While Sydney's theatres tentatively reopen, this touring company brings new Aussie works to your home online

Just because several of Sydney’s theatres remain closed doesn’t mean that you have to go without your dramatic fix. If Aussie on-the-road theatrical outfit Critical Stages Touring (CTS) can’t come to a theatre near you, they’ll stream live into your living room instead.  

The brainchild of UK-based touring company Paines Plough, Come to Where I Am has challenged some 160 writers to create short plays about their hometowns, then shared them online via a smartphone app under the banner Come to Where I’m From. The project asks for donations, with all proceeds going towards employing playwrights.

Come to Where I Am – Australia presents new works sourced from across the country, from bustling cities to remote rural spots, the digital showcase champions a diverse group of playwrights and different forms of storytelling.

The first volume showcased works like that of Western Sydney writer James Elazzi (Lady Tabouli), who celebrated the power of music to connect across generations in Lady Tabouli, as well as new works from Newcastle’s Vanessa Bates (A Ghost In My Suitcase), Blackheath’s Margaret Davis (Push Me, Pull Me) and Maclean-based dramaturg Peter Matheson. Award-winning Melbourne playwright Samah Sabawi (Tales of a City by the Sea) was also in on the act, as was Queensland’s Jeanette Cronin (I Hate You My Mother).

Volume Two of the series platforms works including Escape to the Marriage, by Tahli Corin and Joshua Tyler of Victoria, as well as Car at the Top of the Tree by Tasmanian Alison Mann. Paradise is Silent by Jeanette Cronin joins the line-up, while Darwin playwright Tessa Rose reflects on country with A Little Bit of Territory.

Chris Bendall, CEO of Critical Stages Touring, said: “I couldn’t be more excited to share this project, which started as a creative response to the lockdown, an inversion of our usual model of touring artists to perform for audiences in all corners of the country. This project gives us all an opportunity, from the safety of our homes, to hear stories directly from the places that inspired them.

It’s been a joy to work with Paines Plough, a company I have long admired for their deep commitment to new writing and regional audiences. I hope that this is just the beginning of our relationship with them.”

The new Australian works will be produced as video postcards, filmed on location by each writer and dropping fortnightly. The next digital installments are planned for September 16 and 30. The project aims to bring the mini-plays to IRL theatres one fine day when theatres re-open en masse. In the meantime, you can check them out on the Critical Stages Touring website, and social channels including Facebook and YouTube, as well as being shared by Paines Plough in the UK. 

Want more digital theatre from Australian writers? Check out Liberty St.

This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas



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