Short+Sweet 2008 Program Announced

It’s the biggest little play festival in the world, and it’s back next month…  with brilliant, all-new work!

If you’re interested in politics, Stanislavsky, balloons, meerkats, Iraq, Harold Bloom, Juanita Nielson or sex, you’ll be at the Seymour Centre and Newtown Theatres this summer, as the 2008 Short+Sweet play festival explodes into creative life with these - and scores more - thrilling themes.

After months of agonising assessment by industry professionals, over 1500 entries from all over the world have been honed down to a final program of the “Top 90” plus a series of 40 more one-off “Wild Card” performances.

Australian playwrights include Mary Rachel Brown, Vanessa Bates, Robert Reid, Glyn Roberts, Tom Holloway, Jonathan Gavin (author of the upcoming Tiger Country at the Griffin), Ben Ellis, Noelle Janacewska, Ross Mueller (author of Belvoir's Construction of the Human Heart), Suzie Miller, Nick Parsons, Linda Aronson, Drew Fairley (Bangers and Mash), Ron Elisha, Emma Vuletic and Benito Di Fonzo. International playwrights of note include the USA's Corey Hinkle, Anna Ziegler, Lisa Dillman and Carson Kreitzer. The British heavies are Glyn Cannon, Adam Brace and Ben Ockrent. Directors include James Beach, Brendan McDonnell, Natalie Lopes, Aaron Beach, Louise Fischer, James Balian, Victor Kline, Jenelle Pearce, John Sheedy, Augusta Supple, Ruth Bell, Alex Byron, Henry Jennings, Beejan Olfat, Luke Finch, Anthony Hunt and Lucinda Gleeson. Shopfront Youth Theatre is one of many independent companies presenting – their project is entitled “Bishop and the Actresses”.

Short+Sweet also boasts a new partnership with the Australian Film Commission; selected AFC directors are Dean Francis, Naomi Ross-Deutscher, Richard James Allen, Michelle Bleiher & Andrew Graham.

There's a charged selection of political plays this year - many plays about the War on Terror and the occupation of Iraq. There are also spoofs of Australian bush ballads, noir send-ups, risque comedies and a zoological smorgasbord of meerkats, bears, squid, dolphins, dragons, swinging ape-men and even a giant chicken. There are plays about Bob Dylan, Rene Descartes, Eva Braun and Rachel Corrie. There are funny plays, sad plays, plays about sex including a most unusual use for balloons. There are plays about the nature of plays themselves, even plays without characters! 

Organisers were overwhelmed with the response to this year’s call for entries. Scripts came from all over Australia, as well as New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, the USA, Croatia and the UK. Festival organiser Van Badham described the process as “exhilarating”.

“The response has been utterly unprecedented,” she said.  “The quality and range of the entries that we’ve received have really blown us away. Short+Sweet is making a real impact in the theatre world, not just in New South Wales or Australia, but globally.”

The festival has a worldwide presence with official satellite versions now established in Melbourne, New Zealand, Singapore, regional Aussie centres and – shortly - the UK and USA.

The main Sydney program will present nine week long seasons of ten plays running in parallel at the Seymour Centre and Newtown Theatre between January 16 and February 17.

The piece judged as the best from each week’s program  - as well as the overall “People’s Choice” and the winning ‘Wild Card’ play - will progress to the gala final on February 22 and 23, at the Seymour Centre Everest Theatre where sell-out audiences and rich prizes await!

For more information including the full program and bookings, visit www.shortandsweet.org

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