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STC’s new play explores migrant experience

Right Disapol Savetsila. Photo by Rene Vaile

Sydney Theatre Company’s nect production will be Australian Graffiti by Disapol Savetsila, a humorous and touching exploration of the migrant experience in Australia by 23-year-old playwright Disapol Savetsila, commissioned by Sydney Theatre Company in partnership with CAAP (Contemporary Asian Australian Performance) and Playwriting Australia.

Directed by STC’s former Richard Wherrett Fellow Paige Rattray (now Queensland Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director) who has been part of the play’s evolution since its STC Rough Draft in 2015, the production comes hot on the heels of her success with Nakkiah Lui’s Black is the New White.

Set and costumes are by former STC Resident Designer David Fleischer.

Since immigrating to Australia almost 20 years ago, Ben’s Thai family has uprooted their restaurant business more times than they care to remember. Moving further and further inland, their latest venture is in a dusty old country town where they struggle to attract any customers, let alone find their place in the community. What’s more, the chef has died. And bizarrely his body is not decomposing. For Ben though, a friendship with local girl Gabby is beginning to open his eyes to another way of life. But when mysterious graffiti appears at the local church, tensions throughout the town quickly escalate.

Australian Graffiti explores the complexities of identity and belonging, offering an insight into Australian lives often overlooked. While the play is fictional, Savetsila draws inspiration from some of his own experiences as the son of migrants working in the restaurant trade in rural NSW.

The youngest playwright ever commissioned by STC as part of its main stage program, Disapol Savetsila’s credits include Unwrap Me and Hothouse (Budding Theatre), as well as Hissyfest Wyong and Hissyfest 2015 (Tantrum Theatre). In 2013, he was a winner of ATYP’s national monologue competition ‘Where in the World’ and Stringybark’s ‘Future Times Award’. He is a member of Theatre versus Everything, co-writing PressOne4Love for Crack Theatre Festival 2015 and A Walk to Remember for You Are Here 2017.

Cast: Gabrielle Chan, Airlie Dodds, Peter Kowitz, Kenneth Moraleda, Mason Phoumirath, Srisacd Sacdpraseuth, Monica Sayers.

7 July to 12 August. Opening Night: Wednesday 12 July at 7.30 pm, Wharf 2 Theatre, The Wharf, Pier 4/5 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay. Bookings 02 9250 1777 or

Pre-season Briefing: Monday 3 July 6.15 pm, Wharf 2 Theatre. Matinee Club: Wednesday 19 July 12pm.

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