‘It doesn’t matter when a play is set. It’s better if it’s set in the past. It’s clearer.’
New South Wales. 1789. The first convict ships arrive in Botany Bay. What is their new civilisation to be founded upon? Fear and punishment? Or a chance at redemption? Second Lieutenant Ralph Clark is directing the colony’s first play. But with most of the officers against him, and a leading lady about to be hanged, will the show go on? Can a little education change the lives of a few forgotten criminals?
‘Hectic, frantic, panicky’: one would conventionally describe the rehearsal and development process to be as such but honestly, it hasn’t been. Don’t get me wrong, it has been time consuming, tiring and has eradicated most, if not all, free time in my life this University year thus far and at times the girls have had to prevent me from imploding. But has it been worth it? OH YES! It is the talent both from the production team and cast that has pushed this production away from such labelling; being surrounded by an efficient and head-strong team I have certainly felt like the amateur! For this I am indebted to you all, cast and crew, for making this one of the most beneficial experiences of my life. Your work and efforts certainly show. Huge congratulations to you all.
I would like to thank Catherine Rose first of all for her relentless efforts. She has not just been the best Producer a Director could have (no seriously, she is like a machine), she has also been an Assistant Director. Catherine, you have contributed to the play considerably and for that I am indebted to you. To Cassie, my close friend and rock. Your professionalism never ceases to astonish me; you have kept this play afloat, me grounded (‘No Matt, we cannot have a big blue light on the floor to imitate a river…’) and I know you’ve worked so hard outside the realms of the rehearsal room. And to Caitlin, you have always been there to calm me down, brought me tea & burritos and your ability as DSM is unquestionable. To my three Cs, thank you.
Further, I would like to thank the designers. You have been the mirrors to my brain and put in so much hard work. I would also like to thank Jess Paetz for helping to get the Officers’ Jackets from The Crucible Theatre. I knew I could count on you. To my wonderful cast, you are all so talented and deserve every success in the future. To my housemates, friends and family for their continual support. I haven’t always been around but you’ve been so understanding. And finally to Sean for all his support. Thank you.
‘Our Country’s Good’ is a play of our time that parallels society on numerous levels. With the ever looming presence of arts cuts, it draws out the importance of theatre as an institution which promotes a right to expression and human development. It evokes issues regarding human rights (prisoners’ rights) and race; the act of colonisation and its suppressive, detrimental effects on other cultures and civilisations. The play’s focus on human nature and the political is what drew my attention to it and I hope this is made clear in my interpretation. Thank you for coming and I hope you enjoy it.
Captain Arthur Phillip – Mike Edwardson
Major Robbie Ross – Dan Turner
Captain David Collins – Jonathan England
Captain Watkin Tench – Waleed Arshad
Captain Jemmy Campbell – James Travers
Reverend Johnson – Ollie Raggett
Lieutenant George Johnston – Dominic Corfield
Lieutenant Will Dawes – Christina Schloegl
Second Lieutenant Ralph Clark – Kevin Matthews
Second Lieutenant William Faddy – Ed Crowther
Midshipman Harry Brewer – Paul Hilliar
Aboriginal Australian – Max Cunningham
John Arscott – Richard Veazey
Ketch Freeman – Tom Lodge
Robert Sideway – Adam Renvoize
John Wisehammer – Andy Beasley
Mary Brenham – Bethan Ratcliffe
Dabby Bryant – Grace Darbyshire
Liz Morden – Kate Butler
Duckling Smith – Aoife Boyle
(Shitty) Meg Long – Rhiannon Spaven
Director – Matt Plant
Production Manager – Cassie Mitchell
Producer – Catherine Rose
Deputy Stage Manager – Caitlin McKiernan
Assistant Stage Managers – Lucy Price, Emily Weston
Lighting Designer – Emma Reale
Sound Designer – James Bingham
Set Designer – Charlie Steele
Lighting Operator – Oli Godwin
Sound Operator – Jordan Rossi
Costume Team – Helena Bradbury, Elisa Santos, Heather Newson, Jess Paetz, Sarah Rubini, Rachel Wassell, Cathy Sables, Clara Johnson, Rachel Turner
Hair Team – Ellie Winn, Rachel Wassell, Cathy Sables, Mel Harrison, Helena Egan
Make-up team – Elisa Santos, Sarah Rubini, Rachel Turner, Helena Bradbury