Belvoir (theatre company)

Belvoir is an Australian theatre company based at the Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney, Australia, originally known as Company B. Since 2016 and as of 2022 its artistic director is Eamon Flack.

Belvoir
Formation1984
TypeTheatre group
Location
Artistic director(s)
Eamon Flack
Websitebelvoir.com.au

The theatre contains a 330-seat Upstairs Theatre and a 80-seat Downstairs Theatre.[1]

The Belvoir company receives government support for its activities from the federal government through the Major Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts and the state government through Create NSW.[2]

Many Australian actors who have later found wider success both locally and internationally such as Deborah Mailman, Cate Blanchett, Jacqueline McKenzie, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, Toby Schmitz, Judy Davis and Brendan Cowell have appeared in Belvoir productions.[3]

HistoryEdit

TheatreEdit

Belvoir St Theatre
 
LocationBelvoir Street, Surry Hills,
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates33°53′20″S 151°12′33″E / 33.88889°S 151.20917°E / -33.88889; 151.20917Coordinates: 33°53′20″S 151°12′33″E / 33.88889°S 151.20917°E / -33.88889; 151.20917
TypeIndoor theatre
Seating typeReserved
Opened1984
Website
belvoir.com.au

The theatre, converted from a former tomato sauce factory, opened in 1974 as the Nimrod Theatre for the Nimrod Theatre Company. The first production at the theatre was rock musical The Bacchoi.[4] It was renamed as "'Belvoir St" in 1984 by Sue Hill and Chris Westwood when the building was purchased by a syndicate of people (Belvoir Street Theatre Pty Ltd).[5]

Renovations costing around A$11.6 million commenced in 2005 and were delayed in 2006 with the discovery of asbestos in the building's roof. The theatre reopened in October 2006 with the Sydney season of It Just Stopped by Stephen Sewell.[6]

Formation of the companyEdit

Belvoir began, in 1984, when two syndicates were established: "Company A" with shares at $1000 each, which would own the building, and "Company B", with shares at $10 each.[7][8] Company B aimed to stage theatre productions which were "contemporary, politically sharp, hard-edged Australian theatre; to develop new forms of theatrical expression; work by and about "Aboriginal Australians; work created by women; radical interpretations of the classics and work that is surprising, diverse and passionate.[9]

CompanyEdit

Belvoir was officially launched in February 1985.[7] Later that year, Signal Driver, written by Patrick White and directed by Neil Armfield, was 'the first play produced from the ground up by Belvoir'.[10] In the lead roles were Kerry Walker and John Gaden.[10][11] The theatre poster was designed by Martin Sharp.[7] Armfield later recalled that White, who had purchased ten shares in the theatre, was its 'greatest shareholder'.[10]

From its foundation, Belvoir also instituted a "parity pay policy" where all employees, from actors to stage hands, received the same hourly rate of pay.[12] This policy, which continued from 1985 to the end of the 2011 season,[13] prompted former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating to describe the Belvoir as "Australia’s last commune".[14]

In 2005, Belvoir temporarily moved to the Seymour Centre, Chippendale, while the theatre building underwent an $11.6 million renovation, and returned the following year.[15]

In January 2011, Ralph Myers took over from Neil Armfield as artistic director, stating 'There's a wealth of Australian playwriting and 2500 years of great plays to draw on, I don't see a need to import new plays from overseas.'[13] In July 2014, Myers announced that he would be stepping down from his role at the end of the 2015 season.[16] Myers said he had 'an "ideological" commitment to the regular turnover of artistic directorships'.[16]

Also in 2011, Belvoir appointed Simon Stone as the first director-in-residence.[17] Stone's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck, with the Belvoir, went on to win both Helpmann and Sydney Theatre Awards, in 2011, before being taken to Oslo for a three night performance as part of the 2012 International Ibsen Festival.[18] Stone resigned from his position in 2013,[17] and was replaced by dual directors-in-residence Adena Jacobs and Anne-Louise Sarks.[19]

In 2016 Myers was succeeded as artistic director by Eamon Flack.[20] In February 2022 Carissa Licciardello and Hannah Goodwin were appointed directors-in-residence.[21]

In 2019 Belvoir collected an unprecedented thirteen Helpmann Awards, including Best Play, Best New Australian Work and Best Direction of a Play. In the same year actors in Belvoir productions collected Best Female Actor in a Play, Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play, Best Male Actor in a Play and Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play.[22]

ShareholdersEdit

There are currently 600 shareholders,[23] including noted actors, directors, writers and performers Robyn Archer, Gillian Armstrong, Peter Carey, Judy Davis, Mel Gibson, Max Gillies, Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, David Williamson, Neil Armfield and Colin Friels. Previous shareholders have also included Joan Sutherland, Ruth Cracknell, Gwen Plumb, Dorothy Hewett, Mike Willesee and Patrick White.

Balnaves FellowshipEdit

The Balnaves Foundation is a private philanthropic organisation founded by media executive Neil Balnaves AO in 2006.[24]

In 2011 the Balnaves Foundation established support for two Indigenous-led works per year at Belvoir. It also created the Balnaves Award, which evolved into the Balnaves Fellowship in 2021. The fellowship is awarded to a playwright or director or writer/director, who is given A$25,000 over 12 months to create a new work, spending two days a week over 10 months as a resident artist at Belvoir.[25]

Past recipients of the award or fellowship include:[25]

SeasonsEdit

2023Edit

  • Blue by Thomas Weatherall, directed by Deborah Brown
  • Into The Woods, music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine, directed by Eamon Flack
  • Blessed Union by Maeve Marsden, directed by Hannah Goodwin
  • Scenes From the Climate Era by David Finnigan, directed by Carissa Licciardello
  • At What Cost? by Nathan Maynard, directed by Isaac Drandic
  • The Weekend by Sue Smith, based on the book by Charlotte Wood, directed by Sarah Goodes
  • Miss Peony by Michelle Law, directed by Courtney Stewart
  • Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill by Lanie Robertson, directed by Mitchell Butel
  • The Master and Margarita adapted from the Bulgakov by Eamon Flack, directed by Eamon Flack
  • Robyn Archer: an Australian Songbook devised and performed by Robyn Archer

2022Edit

2021Edit

(Miss Peony was rehearsed and produced but the season was cancelled due to Covid restrictions. At What Cost?, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire and Wayside Bride were likewise rehearsed but were postponed to the 2022 season.)

2020Edit

(Note that the outbreak of COVID-19 saw the theatre go dark after two performances of Dance Nation. The season resumed on 16 September with A Room of One's Own, followed by Cursed! and My Brilliant Career, which played into 2021. The productions of Escaped Alone and Summerfolk were cancelled.)

2019Edit

2018Edit

2017Edit

2016Edit

2015Edit

  • Radiance, by Louis Nowra, directed by Leah Purcell
  • Kill the Messenger, by Nakkiah Lui, directed by Anthea Williams
  • Blue Wizard, by Nick Coyle
  • Elektra / Orestes, by Jada Alberts and Anne-Louise Sarks, directed by Anne-Louise Sarks
  • The Wizard of Oz, adapted by Adena Jacobs
  • Samson, by Julia-Rose Lewis, directed by Kristine Landon-Smith
  • Mother Courage and Her Children, translated by Michael Gow, directed by Eamon Flack
  • The Dog / The Cat, by Lally Katz and Brendan Cowell, directed by Ralph Myers
  • Seventeen, by Matthew Whittet, directed by Anne-Louise Sarks
  • La Traviata, by Ash Flanders and Declan Greene, directed by Declan Greene
  • Ivanov, written and directed by Eamon Flack (after Chekhov)
  • Mortido, by Angela Betzien, directed by Leticia Caceres

2014Edit

  • Oedipus Schmoedipus, created by Zoe Coombs-Marr, Mish Grigor and Natalie Rose
  • Once in Royal David’s City, by Michael Gow, directed by Eamon Flack
  • The Government Inspector, directed by Simon Stone starring Mitchell Butel.
  • 20 Questions, with Wesley Enoch
  • Cain And Abel, created by Kate Davis and Emma Valente, directed by Emma Valente
  • Brothers Wreck, by Jada Alberts, directed by Leah Purcell
  • Hedda Gabler, directed by Adena Jacobs
  • Nora, by Kit Brookman and Anne-Louise Sarks, directed by Anne-Louise Sarks
  • Oedipus Rex, directed by Adena Jacobs
  • The Glass Menagerie, directed by Eamon Flack
  • Is This Thing On?, by Zoe Coombs-Marr, directed by Kit Brookman and Zoe Coombs-Marr
  • A Christmas Carol, adapted by Benedict Hardie and Anne-Louise Sarks, directed by Anne-Louise Sarks
  • Cinderella, by Matthew Whittet, directed by Anthea Williams

2013Edit

  • Peter Pan, adapted by Tommy Murphy, directed by Ralph Myers
  • This Heaven, by Nakkiah Lui, directed by Lee Lewis
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Simon Stone
  • Stories I Want to Tell You in Person, written and performed by Lally Katz, directed by Anne-Louise Sarks
  • Forget Me Not, by Tom Holloway, directed by Anthea Williams
  • Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches
  • Angels in America Part Two: Perestroika, directed by Eamon Flack
  • Persona, adapted and directed by Adena Jacobs
  • The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe, written and directed by Ros Horin
  • Miss Julie, adapted by Simon Stone, directed by Leticia Caceres
  • Small and Tired, written and directed by Kit Brookman
  • Hamlet, directed by Simon Stone
  • The Cake Man, by Robert J. Merritt, directed by Kyle J. Morrison
  • Coranderrk, by Andrea James and Giordano Nanni, directed by Isaac Drandic

2012Edit

  • Buried City, by Raimondo Cortese, conceived and directed by Alicia Talbot
  • I'm Your Man, creator and director Roslyn Oades
  • Thyestes, co-written by Thomas Henning, Chris Ryan, Simon Stone and Mark Winter after Seneca, directed by Simon Stone
  • Babyteeth, by Rita Kalnejais, director Eamon Flack
  • Every Breath, written and directed by Benedict Andrews
  • Food, by Steve Rodgers, directed by Kate Champion and Steve Rodgers
  • Strange Interlude, by Simon Stone after Eugene O'Neill, directed by Simon Stone
  • Old Man, by Matthew Whittet, directed by Anthea Williams
  • Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, directed by Simon Stone
  • Conversation Piece, choreographer and director Lucy Guerin
  • Private Lives, by Noël Coward, directed by Ralph Myers starring Toby Schmitz.
  • Medea, by Kate Mulvany and Anne-Louise Sarks after Euripides, directed by Anne-Louise Sarks
  • Beautiful One Day, created by Paul Dwyer, Eamon Flack, Rachael Maza and David Williams
  • Don't Take Your Love To Town, created by Eamon Flack and Leah Purcell, based on the book Don’t Take Your Love to Town by Ruby Langford Ginibi, directed by Leah Purcell

2011Edit

2010Edit

Belvoir education programEdit

The Belvoir's education program for students and teachers includes practical theatre workshops at the theatre or participating school, tours of backstage and behind the scenes areas of the theatre, technical tours led by a professional theatre technician and a Theatre Enrichment Program for "senior English and Drama students in Western Sydney and regional NSW". In addition, Belvoir's Outreach Program partners with local youth support organisations such as Youth Off The Streets, The John Berne School, Twenty10 and Regenesis Youth. Through the Priority Funded Schools Program Belvoir also allows selected students to attend some performances free of charge. Limited student work experience and work placement opportunities are also available.[26][needs update]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Venue Hire". Belvoir St Theatre. 10 October 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Belvoir". Create NSW. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  3. ^ "History & Past Productions". Belvoir St Theatre. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  4. ^ "LIFE STYLE TALKING POINT New Nimrod Theatre opens". The Canberra Times. Vol. 48, no. 13, 774. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 5 June 1974. p. 18. Retrieved 20 July 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ Cousins, Robert (4 June 2011). "Belvoir St: coming of age". The Australian. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  6. ^ Jinman, Richard (26 July 2006). "Asbestos in the roof the latest drama at Belvoir Street". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Cousins, Robert (4 June 2011). "Belvoir St: coming of age". The Australian. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Records of Company B at Belvoir Street Theatre".
  9. ^ Filmer, Andrew (6 July 2006). "A Place For Theatre: Performing at Belvoir Street". Backstage Space: The Place of the Performer (PDF). Department of Performance Studies, University of Sydney. p. 201. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Armfield, Neil (2012). "Patrick White: A Centenary Tribute". Meanjin. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  11. ^ Blake, Elissa (21 March 2009). "Never far from home". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  12. ^ Schwartzkoff, Louise (21 February 2009). "The theatre company where nobody gets top billing". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  13. ^ a b Boland, Michaela (16 September 2010). "Ralph Myers puts stamp on Belvoir St". The Australian. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Belvoir Annual Report 2011" (PDF). Belvoir St. Theatre. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  15. ^ Jinman, Richard (26 July 2006). "Asbestos in the roof the latest drama at Belvoir Street". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  16. ^ a b Blake, Elissa (22 July 2014). "Final curtain: Belvoir artistic director Ralph Myers to leave theatre company". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  17. ^ a b Saxby, John (8 April 2013). "Director-in-residence leaves Belvoir home". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  18. ^ Blake, Elissa (24 April 2012). "Award-winning Belvoir production chosen for Ibsen festival". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  19. ^ Dow, Steven (9 April 2013). "Secret's out: Belvoir unveils a double bill". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  20. ^ "Eamon Flack Appointed New Artistic Director". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 November 2014.
  21. ^ "BELVOIR ANNOUNCES THE APPOINTMENT OF TWO RESIDENT DIRECTORS : CARISSA LICCIARDELLO AND HANNAH GOODWIN | Sydney Arts Guide".
  22. ^ "2019 Nominees and Winners". Helpmann Awards.
  23. ^ "About". Belvoir St. Theatre. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  24. ^ "Who We Are". Balnaves Foundation. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  25. ^ a b "Fellowship and Residencies". Belvoir St Theatre. 25 February 2022. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  26. ^ "Education at Belvoir". Belvoir St. Theatre. Retrieved 5 August 2014.

External linksEdit