Launching into 2021 🚀

Fraser Corfield, Artistic Director

It’s nearly Christmas! This rollercoaster of a year has been an intense ride but now it’s coming to the end I feel a bit sick and am ready to get off! … But before we do I’m very proud to launch our 2021 season.

Over the past twelve months we’ve been challenged to rethink so much about the world we live in and for us that means examining the role theatre plays within it. Planning for the future at the moment involves a swirling mix of anxiety, excitement, uncertainty and hope.

As always happens in such times, artists help us make sense of the illogical, the seemingly unfair, and the abstract in a changing world. Over recent weeks the words of Bob Dylan have been playing in my head

“Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen, and keep your eyes wide the chance won’t come again. And don’t speak too soon for the wheel’s still in spin, and there’s no tellin’; who that it’s namin’. For the loser now will be later to win, for the times they are a changin.“

ATYP’s 2021 season is a reflection on a changing world. We are very proud to bring you a season of new Australian plays and programs that speak to the challenges, relationships, technology and pathways we are navigating, here and now.

We are pumped to return to the theatre for the first time in twelve months with the exceptional I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You, the brain-child of Brisbane’s masters of mayhem, The Good Room. A hoard of 9–13 year old’s have asked adults questions about growing up, about wisdom, happiness, love and dancing. With a banging sound track and a spectacular audio-visual design, this epic production in the Riverside Theatre, Parramatta welcomes all generations back to ATYP. Come and consider the wisdom we’ve garnered and the ways we share it with young people.

Lights in the Park is a beautiful reflection on small town identity. Winner of the 2018 Senior ATYP Foundation Award, this character-driven play delves into the complex and fascinating relationships of teenagers – with each other, their parents, their space in the world, their dreams and of course, themselves.

We are proud to present the return season of Follow Me Home, the unexpected smash hit of 2019, developed with young people who have experienced homelessness. Four young actors transform into a myriad of characters reflecting different facets of all too familiar experiences. This is your chance to see this captivating play by award-winning playwright Lewis Treston before it takes off on a national tour. 

Once again we are partnering with our friends at Shopfront Arts Co-Op to devise something special. The process of growing up is not always pleasant. The Lies We Were Told examines those moments that leave us forever changed. For better or worse. What were the fantasies we believed, the misunderstandings we thought were truths, the lies we were told that, when revealed, aged us ever so slightly? The wicked humour of director Natalie Rose will inspire an ensemble of artists from children to young adults. The outcome will start your next dinner conversation.

And our season is rounded out with two plays that have won the coveted junior ATYP Foundation Commission Award. Soul Trading by Kate Walder examines what makes us human. If someone looks like you, can learn what you learn, speak like you and care about something or someone, does it matter if they are a machine? Meanwhile, Shack by George Kemp examines fear and community in a warming world. A small group on an arctic excursion is trapped in a shack without their teachers or guide while something outside is hunting in the blizzard.

In 2021 our main-stage season is supported by the launch of multiple extraordinary engagement programs. We used our time shut inside in 2020 to reflect, respond and invent new ways of working. Now we are very proud to be able to offer programs to every young Australian. Every school. Everywhere.

ATYP On Demand offers productions, teaching resources and programs free to every high school in the country and in 2021 it’s joined by ATYP On Demand Plus. ATYP’s digital classroom, this platform allows primary schools across Australia to use literacy and drama strategies to discover units within the national history curriculum.

We are also pleased to be launching ATYP Digital Touring, offering opportunities for performing arts venues across Australia to present high-quality filmed recordings of ATYP shows supported by live interactive workshops, masterclasses and Q&A experiences.

ATYP continues to deliver Australia’s largest playwriting program, commissioning new Australian plays and developing emerging writers across the country. In 2021, adding to our popular and ever-growing workshop program, we are launching the ATYP Studio specifically for artists aged 18-26 which will run parallel to the extraordinary programs for young people in primary and high school.

We look forward to riding the waves of change with you in 2021.