The Other Place is a production in Theatre Works’ 2019 mainstage season, running 8th of August 2019 to 8th September 2019. The play was written in 2016 for the inaugural Russell Beedes Performing Arts Fellowship presented by the State Library of Victoria, investigating the career trajectories of Betty Burstall and Buzz Goodbody. Both women started their careers around the same time, from a similar place, creating similar experimental theatre. While Betty found success in Victoria, Buzz faced intense criticism that, in part, led to her taking her own life.
The Other Place was inspired by the fictional idea of their meeting – Buzz travelled to Melbourne in the early 70s, around the time that Betty began La Mama proper – and took off from there. How different would theatre have been if they hadn’t had to contend with male gatekeepers?
Our production centres not only feminist ideologies but also features a female-led creative team and cast: director Jessica Dick is leading the artistic delivery of this project. With a cast of female-identifying performers bringing these stories to life – and with it, the stories of women across the world with similar experience – we’ll embody the spirit of both Buzz and Betty – creating and taking up space as women. Both women were leaders in their field and dedicated to boundary-pushing: as such, a straight retelling of their histories doesn’t feel right for this project.
The team have already undertaken a creative development of this work (State Library, 2015, and fortyfivedownstairs, 2016) and with the Theatre Works presentation opportunity we’re now moving forward with a four-week rehearsal schedule, planning production meetings and seeking funding to cover the costs of this preparation period and the production season at Theatre Works. This is where you come in.
While seed funding is attached to the presentation opportunity, we’re seeking at least $2000 to help cover costs: paying creatives and materials, props, and costumes.
This project makes Australian theatre culture more accessible to a wider audience, as almost a crash-course in dramaturgy and theatrical style as the show moves through several distinct styles from Elizabethan through to the Postdramatic theatre of today. We want to do justice to these movements, and to creating several distinct theatrical worlds for an audience to take in.
This presentation opportunity is a successful step up after Bryant’s Sneakyville (2018, fortyfivedownstairs) and Dick and Butler’s Gruesome Playground Injuries (2018, Chapel Off Chapel). It’s the chance for these women to be seen not just as figures, but as creators, thinkers, and real people.