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NIDA and Sydney Theatre Company embark on groundbreaking collaboration

Above: Adolphus Waylee and Christy Tran in rehearsal. Below: Director Tasnim Hossain in rehearsal.

Australia’s national drama school and Australia’s largest theatre company have joined forces in a groundbreaking collaboration as part of NIDA’s June Student Production Season.

Eat Me is comprised of four connected short plays set 50 years apart written by the four members of Sydney Theatre Company (STC)’s 2020/21 Emerging Writers Group, James Elazzi, Jordyn Fulcher, Enoch Mailangi and Wendy Mocke. The Emerging Writers Group aims to encourage the next generation of Australian playwrights, helping them discover and hone their own distinctive voices. The plays have been commissioned by NIDA.

The plays are directed by the four members of the CAAP Directors Initiative at STC, Courtney Stewart, Kenneth Moraleda, Tasnim Hossain and Jennifer Rani. Run in collaboration with Contemporary Asian Australian Performance, the STC CAAP Directors Initiative is aimed at unearthing, nurturing and developing Asian Australian directors for the stage.

The Eat Me actors, designers, stage managers, technical directors and props and costume makers are all NIDA students. STC Literary Manager Polly Rowe and STC Associate Director Paige Rattray are also contributing to the collaboration.

NIDA Director in Residence David Berthold, who programmed the NIDA Season, believes that the time was ripe for this kind of collaboration.

'NIDA and STC are both very future focused and so I was thrilled when STC took up this offer,' he said.

'It’s an extraordinary grouping of artists at the beginning of their careers, and it’s resulted in a theatre work that wrestles with the biggest of questions. Eat Me deals with how forces such as capitalism and colonialism have consumed our lives, and how that might eat up our future. It is an incisive and insightful examination of where we’ve been and where we might be heading.'

Eat Me is gripping drama told from the perspective of a new generation of artists and is sure to be a highlight of NIDA’s June Production Season. The four short connected plays are:

–.– by Enoch Mailangi
Directed by Tasnim Hossain
In 1919, new technology leads to miscommunications, hurt feelings and hungry expectations.

Blowback by Wendy Mocke
Directed by Kenneth Moraleda
In 1969, five friends in a stolen car and caught in raging fires find they are not alone.

The Necklace by James Elazzi
Directed by Courtney Stewart
In 2019, five friends waiting for the burgers to arrive dig at the vale of inheritance.

The End of Everything from the Perspective of Lawn Chairs by Jordyn Fulcher
Directed by Jennifer Rani
It’s 2069. If we drink enough, will we feel the stars going out?

The NIDA season also includes Metamorphosis, a live cinema interpretation of Franz Kafka’s fable, directed by NIDA’s Dr Benjamin Schostakowski. NIDA welcomes Kate Champion back to NIDA, directing Hilary Bell’s kaleidoscopic Perfect Strangers, where audience and performer meet in a revolving world. And award-winning Heather Fairbairn directs Alice Birch’s timely exposure of patriarchy in REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN.

Eat Me is open to the public from 10–17 June.

Find out more at NIDA Open Day, 12 June.

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