To complete the 2020 Season, following on from Neighbourhood Watch and Animal Farm, New Theatre presents Picnic at Hanging Rock adapted by Tom Wright from the novel by Joan Lindsay.
On a blistering summer’s day in 1900, three private school girls and their teacher inexplicably vanished while on a day-trip to Hanging Rock in country Victoria. It was supposed to be a Valentine’s Day treat. They were meant to be home for dinner. They were never seen again.
In this adaptation, five young female performers recount the enduring mystery that has haunted the Australian psyche for over a century and struggle to make sense of what happened. We witness the euphoria and terror which reverberates through the tight-knit rural community as the potential for history to reveal itself becomes frighteningly real.
Tom Wright’s adaptation was first seen at Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne in 2016, where it had a sell-out season, before touring to Edinburgh and then London. New Theatre is thrilled to be presenting the Sydney public premiere of this evocative dramatic work.
"We're very excited to be bringing this evocative theatrical work to Sydney audiences," says New Theatre's Artistic Director, Louise Fischer, "and to welcome back as director Sahn Millington, who did such a great job here last year with Cat's Talk Back."
"It's not going to be what people might expect," adds Sahn. "Forget pan pipes and floaty frocks; Tom Wright has drawn deeply from Joan Lindsay's novel, incorporating much of her highly poetic language. It's much closer to the book than to Peter Weir's film."
The play is written for a cast of five young female actors, who cover all the roles: from schoolgirls to headmistress, teachers and townsfolk, teenagers to the elderly, female and male.
"It's an incredibly exciting prospect to cast and then explore this text, which requires great imagination, physical dexterity and range from the actors," says Sahn. "I'm very influenced by ancient Greek theatre, so I'm really looking forward to creating a ensemble, a chorus, that steps up to tell this haunting, terrifying story. Sound design will be intrinsic to the overall effect, and I'm very fortunate to have a great team on board, in Sound Designer Patrick Howard, and Composer Georgia Condon." Season: November - December (dates/times TBA). Tickets will go on sale once season dates are confirmed. Event URL: https://newtheatre.org.au/picnic-at-hanging-rock/