Presented by Music Theatre Projects
The Twyford – Hall Venue
Saturday 23 September @ 7.30pm
Entry via Beach St entrance.
Refreshments available for purchase at interval. No BYO.
Tickets are limited as this is an intimate and unamplified performance.
Not suitable for audience under 15 years including babes in arms due to some confronting content.BOOK NOW
Music Theatre Projects presents four short plays by (almost) forgotten WW1 soldier settler farmer and playwright, Millicent Armstrong. Three of the works are presented as staged readings, while the final work has more fully developed staging. With minimal set and costuming, the skills of six fabulous actors bring these beautifully crafted miniatures to life, supported by an atmospheric soundtrack.
These 4 plays – At Dusk, Thomas, Penny Dreadful and Drought – have languished for nearly 70 years, with the exception of At Dusk which was last performed in the 1990s in Melbourne. Two of them reflect the realities of rural life, one set during the Federation drought, the other centred on sexual violence. Then there is a domestic comedy, which is truly laugh out loud funny, and a dark melodrama. Millicent’s works reflect their connection to the Australian Gothic tradition, and feature sparkling dialogue, idiomatic writing, and strong female characters, with a focus on the relationship between sisters.
Director, Dianna Nixon: “Imagine this. I’m googling for affordable housing outside the ACT. As a practicing freelance performing artist, this was necessary if I was to finally own my own home. It also meant going back to my farming roots somewhat. But … imagine this: while Googling I discover this person who lived near Gunning in the first half of the 20th century, who went to the Western Front in WWI, was awarded a Croix de Guerre for bravery, became a soldier settler, and is listed on Wikipedia as: “playwright, farmer”. What? And hardly anyone here was aware she’d existed, outside her family, and the present owners of Millicent’s old farm, Clear Hills.”
The soundscape was created by Stephen Lindsay of Old Binda Road Studios in a collaboration with Dianna Nixon. Along with the richly detailed supporting soundscape, you will hear wild sound captured from the region.
“We hosted Music Theatre Projects 2021 readings of a selection of short plays by local author Millicent Armstrong in our theatre… They brought Millicent Armstrong’s voice to life, and our local audience were thoroughly entertained and made aware of the talent not only of Millicent Armstrong, but of the performers, produced and directed brilliantly by Dianna Nixon of Music Theatre Projects.”
– Max Cullen & Margarita Georgiadis, Picture House Theatre Gunning.
“The characters were well-delineated and the atmosphere capturing the loneliness of rural life was powerful and convincing, acknowledged in the writer’s own time with Australian and international awards between 1923 and 1934. But it was the authentic dialogue and sense of the voices of the time which particularly struck me, throwing light on an earlier and harsher era in Australia’s history.”
– Helen Musa, Canberra City News
“We could not have enjoyed the experience of being part of the audience…more. We enjoyed each of the plays and were impressed by how quickly the cast was able to transport the audience into each story, given that the plays were so short. This was enhanced by the atmospheric sounds and music, that really helped fire the audiences’ imagination. The final play “Drought” was particularly poignant, and for people like us, who have lived and worked all their lives on the land, it was extremely powerful and very moving. The difficult subject matter was handled with great sensitivity, but with maximum impact.”
– Audience member, Gunning
(Twyford Gift Certificates not valid for this event)