Dianna Nixon will produce & direct a cast of fine actors from the ACT region – Tracy Bourne, Chris Carroll, Lexi Sekuless – in rehearsed readings of Millicent Armstrong’s one act plays for the 2021 Gunning Arts Festival.
The readings will be part of the 2021 Gunning Arts Festival, and will take place outside Pye Cottage in Gunning, as well as in the community hall at nearby Dalton.
Millicent Armstrong was an Australian prize-winning playwright and farmer who wrote primarily about the experiences of country life in early 20th century Australia. A WW1 soldier settler, awarded the Croix de Guerre in France, Millicent lived and worked on “Clear Hills” near Gunning. Dianna Nixon has been researching Millicent Armstrong since discovering her on Wikipedia when buying a house in Gunning in 2016.
This project is one of a number of long-term explorations being undertaken which are designed to help reclaim lost aspects of our history, culture, and artistic canon. The ACT and Southern Tablelands regions were home to many significant artists (and still are) but this is not as widely known or fully appreciated as it might be. The project aims to bring one these artists and their work into the spotlight.
Bringing Millicent Armstrong’s amazing life story into public awareness, at the same time as reclaiming her artistic and literary legacy makes this project a winner. Its importance to the cultural identity of the small rural town she called her home for so many years cannot be overstated, but it is important as an activity to this whole region and to our wider performing arts industry. So whilst the work is not new, it will be finding a new audience, and be reclaimed as part of the Australian canon.
Donations will be used towards paying the actors and other personnel costs for these premiere readings at the 2021 Gunning Arts Festival. We hope to take the works into fully staged productions in the future. These readings will enable us to plant that seed.