First Seen program at The Street Canberra

First Seen provides opportunities for writers to work with a team to develop a new work for the stage.

The progam is supported by the ACT Government, and managed by Shelly Higgs in consultation with Caroline Stacey.

The Street Theatre’s Artistic Director and CEO, Caroline Stacy, talks to Barbie about First Seen

The first 2020 project is The Story of the Oars, by Nigel Featherstone, which had its first public showing on Friday 15 May.

The second 2020 project is Barren Ground by Helen Machalias, which will have a public showing at 5pm on Friday, 4 September

Barren Ground takes place on the Christmas Island detention centre between 2010 and the closure of the centre in 2018 It merges elements of the plot, dialogue and characters of Shakespeare’s The Tempest with media reports of the Christmas Island detention centre and first-hand accounts of the asylum seeker experience within the Australian system.

About Helen Machalias

Helen Machalias is a Canberra based writer who began her career as a journalist. She studied English and Theatre at the University of New England and University of Sydney. Helen has created work with Sydney Theatre Company, Riverside Theatres and Playwriting Australia, with a particular focus on theatre for young people.

She has been highly commended three times in Sydney Theatre Company’s Young Playwright of the Year Award and had her work performed as part of the Favourite Shorts regional play festival. She participated in The Street’s Hive Program in 2010 and 2011.

The resulting play, In Loco Parentis, xamined the pervasive nature of sexual harassment and assault on university campuses. It was performed at The Street as part of the Made in Canberra program for the Centenary of Canberra and won a 2014 Canberra Critics Circle Award.

She most recently worked with The Street on a creative development of her stage adaptation of Robin Klein’s People Might Hear You

About Shelly Higgs

Shelly Higgs is a theatre director, dramaturg, producer and currently the Project Co-ordinator for the Street’s First Seen Season. Shelly trained as an actor at CSU and RADA before co-founding regional touring company, Gearstick Theatre in 2002.

Since then Shelly has directed a number of works, produced dozens of shows and been keenly involved in the creative development of several new works here at The Street as both director and dramaturg.

About Caroline Stacey

Caroline Stacey is the Artistic Director/CEO of The Street Theatre, Canberra’s leading creative producer of contemporary theatre and live performance and the creative hub for professional and independent artists.

A multi-award winning director in 2012 Caroline received the Canberra Artist of the Year Award for her outstanding contribution to theatre and the performing arts. Caroline has an extensive career as a festival director leading Castlemaine State Festival for seven years and as a stage director of theatre and opera working for companies as diverse as West Australian Opera, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Sydney Opera House, Queensland Music Festival, Victorian Opera, Canterbury Opera, Melbourne Opera, Saltpillar Theatre, and Downstage Theatre (NZ).

Works she has directed for The Street include: Breaking The Castle, Flight Memory, A Doll’s House, Part 2, Venus in Fur, Diary of a Madman, The Weight of Light, Boys Will Be Boys, Cold Light, Constellations, The Chain Bridge, The Faithful Servant, MP, To Silence, The Give and Take, Where I End & You Begin, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Dido and Aeneas, Capital, Medea, The Jade Harp, Albert Herring, The Six Memos and From A Black Sky.