Emerald City

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Griffin Theatre Company

Emerald City

Venue Lennox Theatre
Dates 10 December - 13 December 2014

By David Williamson

A fast-moving, wisecracking commentary on contemporary urban mores and morals, and the rivalries and passions to be encountered on the road to success. Colin, a screenwriter, and his wife Kate, a publisher, move to the ‘Emerald City’, where fame and fortune are there for the taking, but surprises are in store for them both.

Sharp-edged, satirical and accusatory, Emerald City lays into the materialism of the 1980s with razor sharp wit.

Welcome to the glittering jewel of that other Oz – Sydney. A place where people go expecting their dreams to be fulfilled, but end up with superficial substitutes and broken dreams.

Fading screenwriter Colin is not long in Sydney before he’s seduced by its obsession with success. Teaming up with well-connected hack writer Mike, Colin finds himself in a tug of war between artistic ambition and big bucks. Fame and fortune – not to mention Mike’s criminally hot girlfriend – are up for grabs.

Part love letter, part hate mail to the harbour city, Emerald City is one of the best works by Australian theatre’s most beloved craftsman and commentator, David Williamson. Three decades after it was written, it still captures the ballsy spirit of the ‘80s and retains its skewering sharpness – a panoramic view of the city that’s always prized beauty over brains.

Griffin gives Emerald City the shameless revival it’s been crying out for. Lee Lewis dusts off her shoulder pads to direct.

Director Lee Lewis
Designer Ken Done
Costume Designer and Associate Set Designer Sophie Fletcher
Lighting Designer Luiz Pampolha
Composer: Kelly Ryall
Marcus Graham has had to withdraw from Emerald City due to ill health, and we wish him all the best in his recovery. We are excited to announce that Ben Winspear will be playing the role of Mike. 
With Lucy Bell, Mitchell Butel, Jennifer Hagan, Kelly Paterniti, Ben Winspear, Gareth Yuen

Dates & Times:
Wednesday 10 December 7:30pm
Thursday 11 December 1:00pm
Thursday 11 December 7:30pm
Friday 12 December 7:30pm
Saturday 13 December 2:15pm
Saturday 13 December 7:30pm

David Williamson – Playwright

David Williamson has been Australia’s best known and most widely performed playwright for the last forty years. He has produced over fifty plays, including: Emerald City, The Removalists, Don’s Party, The Club, Travelling North, The Perfectionist, Sons of Cain, Money and Friends, Brilliant Lies, Dead White Males, After the Ball, The Jack Manning Trilogy, The Great Man, Up For Grabs, Soulmates, Scarlett O’Hara At the Crimson Parrott, Nothing Personal, When Dad Married Fury, Managing Carmen, Rupert and most recently, Cruise Control.  His plays have been translated into many languages and performed internationally, including major productions in London, Los Angeles, New York and Washington (The Club in 1979 and Rupert at the Kennedy Center in 2014). Up For Grabs went on to a West End production starring Madonna in the lead role.

David’s screen adaptations of his own plays include Emerald City, The RemovalistsDon’s Party, The Club, Travelling North, along with his original screenplays for feature films including Libido, Petersen, Gallipoli, Phar Lap, The Year of Living Dangerously, and Balibo (as co-writer) and for television he adapted On The Beach. David’s many awards include 11 Australian Writers’ Guild Awards, 4 Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Screenplay and, in 1996, the United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Award. David has been named one of Australia’s Living National Treasures. 

Lee Lewis – Director

Lee Lewis is the Artistic Director of Griffin Theatre Company. Her credits for Griffin include: The Serpent’s Table, The Bull, the Moon and the Coronet of Stars, A Hoax, Silent Disco, The Call and The Nightwatchman. She is one of the Australia’s leading directors, having worked for numerous main stage companies, including Sydney Theatre Company: Honour, ZEBRA! and Love Lies Bleeding; for Belvoir: This Heaven and That Face; and for Bell Shakespeare: Twelfth Night and The School for Wives. Lee’s most recent directing work outside of Griffin includes Rupert for Melbourne Theatre Company in 2013, which toured to Washington as part of the World Stages International Arts Festival in March 2014. 

Ken Done AM – Designer

Since his first solo exhibition in 1980, Ken Done has become one of Australia’s most famous artists and his paintings are in collections throughout the world. Ken has held over 50 one-man shows, including major exhibitions in Australia, Europe, Japan and the USA. His works have been shown in the Archibald, Sulman, Wynne, Blake, and Dobell Prizes. Major projects in a very diverse career include the painting of a BMW Artcar, and the total decorative scheme for the Garden Restaurant at the Powerhouse Museum, in Sydney. In 1994, a major retrospective of Ken Done’s work “Ken Done: the art of design” was mounted by the Powerhouse Museum. In 1992, Ken received the Order of Australia (AM), for services to Art, Design and Tourism and in 1993, Ken, together with his fashion-designer wife Judy, won the Fashion Industries of Australia’s Grand Award for Fashion. Ken has also been an Australian Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 1988 and in 1999, he was asked to create a series of works for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies programs of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. 

Sophie Fletcher – Costume Designer & Associate Set Designer

Sophie Fletcher has worked extensively as a Set and Costume Designer in theatre and film since graduating from WAAPA. Her theatre credits as Set and Costume Designer include, for Belvoir: This Heaven, for Pants Guys / ATYP: Sweet Nothings.  Credits as Design Assistant for Sydney Theatre Company include: Waiting For Godot, The Maids, Gross und Klein; for Belvoir Peter Pan, Every Breath, Babyteeth and for Opera Australia: The Ring Cycle and The Marriage of Figaro.  Her credits as a Costume Designer in the film industry include: How To Get Clean and Florence Has Left The Building.  

Luiz Pampolha – Lighting Designer

Luiz Pampolha’s credits for Griffin Theatre Company include: The Call, The Serpent’s Table, The Story Of The Miracles At Cookie’s Table, The Nightwatchman, The Kid, and Concussion; for Sydney Theatre Company: Rabbit, The Removalists, Love Lies Bleeding, Saturn’s Return, Waiki Hip, The 7 Stages of Grieving, and Romeo & Juliet;  for Belvoir: Brothers Wreck, Antigone, Ruben Guthrie, Don’t Take Your Love To Town, and This Heaven; for Sydney Opera House: The CODA Collective, danceTank, and Emergence;  for Bell Shakespeare: Twelfth Night; for Marguerite Pepper Productions: Happy As Larry;  for Railway Street: Weather, Somewhere; for Australian Chamber Orchestra: Kreutzer vs Kreutzer; for Sydney Chamber Opera: The Cunning Little Vixen; for Pinchgut Opera: Griselda, Castor et Pollux, The Chimney Sweep.

Luiz is a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art, and a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand. He was nominated for best lighting design in 2006 and 2007 at the Sydney Theatre Awards, and for a Green Room Award in 2010. He has also designed productions for international arts festivals in Edinburgh, Wellington, Belfast, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. 

Kelly Ryall – Composer

Kelly Ryall’s credits for Griffin Theatre Company include: The Floating World, The Boys, And No More Shall We Part, Dreams in White, Mercury Fur and Don’t Say the Words. His other theatre credits include, for Belvoir: Nora and Hedda Gabler; for Bell Shakespeare: Tartuffe, Phedre, Henry 4, Macbeth, Julius Caesar and The School for Wives; for Melbourne Theatre Company: David Williamson’s Rupert, The Crucible, On the Production of Monsters, Return to Earth, Dead Man’s Cell phone, God of Carnage and Savage River; and for Malthouse Theatre: The Shadow King. His compositions for dance include for Kage: Sundowner; Carlee Mellow’s Expectation; and for Lucy Guerin Inc: Pieces for Small Places. For film, he composed for Lois and One Night and numerous television commercials. Kelly’s awards include: Green Room Awards for Love Monkey and Coop, 2009; Melbourne International Arts Festival Award, 2007; Green Room Award and Fringe Festival Award for Arabian Night, 2005.

Vanessa Wright – Stage Manager

Vanessa Wright works in Production Management, Stage Management and Tour Management for numerous theatre companies and productions. Her credits include, for CDP Theatre Producers: The 13-Storey Treehouse (Sydney Opera House season and national tour) and Biddies (national tour); for Ensemble Theatre: Frankenstein (Sydney Opera House season, Ensemble season and national tour), Just the TicketFour Flat Whites in ItalyThe Act and Becky Shaw. Her other theatre credits include: The Bobcat Ballet (Mackay Festival of Arts); for James Cook University: Confusions and All Stops Out; for Ellis Productions: Me and Jezebel; and for Show Pony Productions: Citizen Jane.  Her credits as a Lighting Designer include: The Woman in the WindowThe Breasts of Tiresias; and as a Sound Designer on Rhinoceros, all for James Cook University.  She was also Producer / Assistant Director on Howie The Rookie for Red Line Productions. 


Jennifer Hagan’s credits for Griffin Theatre Company include: The Falls by Hilary Bell. She also directed the The Blonde, The Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead, starring Jacki Weaver, which premiered at The SBW Stables before transferring to the Melbourne Theatre Company. Jennifer is a graduate of NIDA and has a career that has spanned 50 years. She created the role of Helen in the premiere season of David Williamson’s Travelling North and her most recent theatre credit was as Mme Pernelle in Tartuffe for the Bell Shakespeare Company at the Sydney Opera House. Her recent film credits include: Mad Max: Fury Road which will be released in 2015. 

Lucy Bell – Kate

Lucy Bell’s credits for Griffin Theatre Company include: Dreams In White, Speaking In Tongues, Through The Wire, The Falls and Wolf Lullaby. Her other theatre credits include, for Sydney Theatre Company: Darling Oscar and the Cherry Orchard; for Belvoir: Blue Murder and Twelfth Night; and for Bell Shakespeare Company: Pericles, Twelfth Night, and The Duchess of Malfi. Lucy’s film credits include The Square and Ten Empty. Her television credits include: 30 seconds, City Homicide, Wildside, Dirt Game, Bastard Boys, Farscape, All Saints, Grass Roots, My Husband, My Killer, Murder Call, Crownies, Love Child, A Place To Call Home and Magazine Wars. 

Mitchell Butel – Mike

Mitchell Butel’s theatre credits include, for Belvoir: The Government Inspector, Angels in America, Strange Interlude, A View from the Bridge; for Sydney Theatre Company: Romeo and Juliet, The Grenade, Harbour, Tartuffe, Mourning Becomes Electra, The Café Latte Kid, Six Degrees of Separation , For Melbourne Theatre Company: Tomfoolery and Urinetown; for Dainty: Boeing-Boeing; for Queensad theatre Company: Stones in his Pockets and The Venetian Twins; for Malthouse: Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl and Woyzeck; for Bell Shakespeare: Othello; and for State Theatre Company South Australia: Unidentified Human Remains. His music theatre credits include, for opera Australia: South Pacific, Orpheus in the Underworld, and The Mikado; for Silo: Assassins; for Arts Asia Pacific: Avenue Q; for Production Company: The Producers and Little Me; for David Atkins Enterprises: Little Shop of Horrors; and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, opposite Geoffrey Rush.  Mitchell’s Film/TV credits include The Broken Shore, Mr & Mrs Murder, Bordertown, Wildside, Grass Roots, Rake, The Bank, Two Hands, Dark City and AFI-nominated performances in Strange Fits of Passion and Gettin’ Square. Mitchell has appeared in three solo cabaret shows, Excellent Adventure, Now for the Weather and Killing Time (which is available on iTunes and is currently playing Sunday nights at the Hayes Theatre). Mitchell received Helpmann Awards for The Venetian Twins, Avenue Q and The Mikado and Green Room Awards for Hair and Piaf. Proud member of Actors Equity since 1988.  

Kelly Paterniti – Helen

Kelly Paterniti’s Sydney theatre credits include: Three Sisters, S-27 and Dealing with Claire. She grew up in Perth, Western Australia and has performed in various theatrical and film productions in WA including Stormworld, Wormwood, Romeo and Juliet, Cloudstreet and The Trojan Women. Her film credits include: Redd Inc, Griff the invisible and The Example; and television credits include: Home and Away, Packed to the Rafters and Cops LAC. 

Gareth Yuen – Malcolm

Gareth Yuenis a NIDA graduate and has regularly performed and developed new work with Melbourne Theatre Company, including the world premiere season of Happy Ending. He has also worked with the Victorian State Opera, the Chinese Theatre Group and made his stage debut in the USA with The Car Plays: San Diego for La Jolla Playhouse. As a director, Gareth won Best Play in the inaugural Collingwood 24-hour Play Festival. Gareth’s film credits include: The Jammed, Matching Jack and My Wedding and Other Secrets. His extensive television credits include: Headstart, The Ponderosa (USA), Kath and Kim, Underbelly, City Homicide, Upper Middle Bogan and early on in his career he played the ‘Blue Ranger’ in the US television series, Power Rangers. Later this year Gareth will be seen as ‘Lucas Fry’ in Channel 10’s new political drama Party Tricks.


“Lewis’ casting is brilliant, each actor brought a rip-roaring clarified comedy to their characters current reality creating a love for them all, even in their crude, selfish moments.” StevieZipper

“Mitchell Butel is a gift to the role of Colin..” ★★★★ TimeOut Sydney

“In the hands of Lewis and this fine cast it is all still…. very funny.” The Australian 

“Jennifer Hagan is deliciously dry as Elaine” Sydney Morning Herald   

“EMERALD CITY is as relevant as it’s ever been.” Sydney Arts Guide 

“Lee Lewis has directed an excellent, perfectly-cast production.” Daily Review, Crikey


Here’s how some critics have summarised Williamson’s contribution to Australian playwriting:

“Australia’s most enduringly popular social comedy writer…keenly observant and satirical.”Sydney Morning Herald

“Williamson always keeps us engaged…his words weave a spellbinding course…testament to the power of Williamson’s language.” Daily Telegraph

“Our greatest dramatic entertainer.” Chris Boyd, Financial Review

“His genius has been to define for us, in advance of our own recognition, the qualities which make up the Australian character.” Katharine Brisbane, The Australian

“Audiences love him, partly because he comes at elitist worlds with a sharp eye and a bias toward the everyman.” Fiona McFarlane


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Approximately 2 hours 10 minutes (Including interval)

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