Griffin Theatre Company has unveiled its 2023 Season – the final season to be staged in the current SBW Stables Theatre before it undergoes major expansive renovation works beginning in late 2023 or early 2024.
With three world premieres – including the latest work from award-winning playwright and Griffin favourite Suzie Miller (Prima Facie) – and one Sydney premiere, the 2023 Season sees Griffin say goodbye to its cosy, historic home with an incredible theatrical bang.
“When I used to come to Griffin as an audience member, one of the things I loved was entering the SBW Stables Theatre, looking around and realising I was going to be taken to a completely different world by a writer… and this is the sentiment with which we’ve programmed our 2023 Season,” said Artistic Director Declan Greene.
“Griffin’s 2023 Season is full of works that will transport audiences to places beyond the realm of the everyday in a messy, expansive, joyously chaotic embrace,” said Greene.
17 February – 25 March
After a workplace indiscretion shatters his elite physiotherapy career, Ard Panicker ends up working at a metaphysical health spa giving Ayurvedic rubdowns to yummy mummies in Bondi. When he receives word that his estranged father has died, Ard’s world is thrown into turmoil. He begins to shake and shudder with mysterious full-body seizures – accompanied with waking visions of a terrifying, all-powerful deity. Desperate to find a cure for his phantasmagorical condition, Ard travels to the village in South India where his father was born. Instead, he finds an enlightened tantric guru who cracks open his sense of identity, sexuality and his grip on reality. From the brilliant brain of playwright Nicholas Brown (Lighten Up) and featuring a mind-melting breakout performance by Raj Labade, Sex Magick is a wildly funny (and just plain wild) exploration of queerness, masculinity and South Asian-Australian identity. Griffin’s Artistic Director Declan Greene (Green Park, Dogged) teams up with Brown to co-direct a tantalising mix of Western dramatic traditions, ancient Kathakali dance theatre, live video and glorious mayhem in an experience that will be like nothing else on Sydney stages in 2023. Guaranteed. In association with Sydney WorldPride.
12 May – 17 June
Hazel is no angel. In fact, she’s a delusional, reality TV-obsessed fantasist who swears like a sailor and has a fondness for greased-up male strippers. She’s also hugely, undeniably, ready-to-pop pregnant. Up the duff and coasting through ultrasounds, baby showers and appointments with her midwife, Hazel is very good at ignoring the stark reality that’s about to rock her world from the inside out – literally. What happens when you’re not ready to swap grinding to Ginuwine for nursery rhymes? When you’re questioning whether you’re even cut out for motherhood, but that horse bolted eight months ago? Pony is the sassy, oh-so-crass one-woman crusade that’s desperately searching for the light at the end of the (vaginal) tunnel. Written by Eloise Snape and directed by Anthea Williams, the exquisitely comedic Briallen Clarke (Muriel’s Wedding the Musical, The Heights) stars as the mortifyingly hilarious Hazel in the Australian stage’s answer to Fleabag and The Letdown. Pony was shortlisted for the Griffin Award 2022, the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award 2022 – 23, the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award 2021 and the Patrick White Playwrights Award 2022.
7 July – 12 August
This wasn’t how it was meant to go. A few iPhones, a huge TV, and a Socceroos jersey – shove them all in the IKEA bag then drive away as fast as you can. AJ wasn’t meant to be spotted at the scene or get ID’d in the line-up. AJ definitely wasn’t meant to go to prison. But once AJ is convicted of theft, he is placed behind the walls of an institution where his own body is stolen from him. In a cramped communal cell, AJ will become a ‘jailbaby’ – the ward of a justice system that chooses to turn a blind eye to the life-altering sexual violence committed against young men behind bars. After an acclaimed performance in 2020’s Dogged, Anthony Yangoyan reunites with director Andrea James for this crucial interrogation of Australia’s legal system by multi-award-winning playwriting powerhouse Suzie Miller. A spiritual sequel to her international phenomenon Prima Facie, Miller once again opens our eyes to the darkest corners of society and asks us to pinpoint the exact moment when it all goes so, so wrong.
1 September – 14 October
A lonely kid in rural Australia, fair-skinned Sarah Jane Jones is deathly sure of two things: 1. She’s the best dancer in the whole town of Chithole, and 2. She’s a proud Aboriginal woman. There’s very little proof of either of these things. So, when a long-lost photograph offers hope of her Indigenous ancestry, Sarah Jane high-tails it to the glitziest casino in Brisvegas. Her mission? To land a role in the First Nations burlesque spectacular: Blaque Showgirls… by any means necessary. Blaque Showgirls is Nakkiah Lui’s sparkly, smart-arsed spoof of the so-bad-it’s-good cinematic masterpiece Showgirls. The luminous Stephanie Somerville (Chalkface) fan kicks her way to the front of the chorus line, going head-to-head with all-dancing, all-diamantéd drag icon Foxxy Empire! Superstar director Shari Sebbens (Superheroes, City of Gold) jam-packs a long-awaited, pint-sized rhinestoned arena spectacular into the SBW Stables Theatre in 2023.
Alongside the main season, Griffin’s artist development program Griffin Lookout returns in 2023 with two shows: UFO by re:group performance collective and Gadigal Gal by Graham Simms aka
Nana Miss Koori.
Using an innovative blend of science fiction tropes, live cinema and exquisitely detailed 1:8 miniatures, UFO (18 – 29 April) follows a group of young people tasked with keeping tabs on a grounded UFO on the edge of a regional town. After sitting still and silent for weeks, the workers are about to call it quits when suddenly the UFO begins to stir.
Gadigal Gal (15 – 25 November) is the solo spectacular that is the result of 53 years of practiced wisdom, theatre, comedy, drag and a heaping serve of Gadigal glamour. Nana Miss Koori is ready to delight Griffin audiences with her dazzling display of pride, Culture and self-acceptance.
Subscriptions for Griffin’s 2023 Season are now available. For more information, visit: www.griffintheatre.com.au for details.
Image: Sex Magick, Pony, Jailbaby and Blaque Showgirls (supplied)