Welcome to Griffin

Griffin Theatre Company is Australia’s new writing theatre. In residence at Sydney’s historic SBW Stables Theatre, we lead the country in developing and producing great Australian stories, and are dedicated to supporting Australian artists.

  • Check out our 2015 Season Trailer!

  • Lucy Bell & Gareth Yuen join Emerald City cast

    We’re thrilled to announce that Lucy Bell and Gareth Yuen join Marcus GrahamMitchell ButelJennifer Hagan and Kelly Paterniti for David Williamson‘s iconic Emerald City. Directed by Griffin Artistic Director Lee Lewis, with Design by internationally-acclaimed artist Ken Done, this is one you won’t want to miss. Read more…

  • Angus Cerini wins the 2014 Griffin Award

    Melbourne playwright Angus Cerini was awarded the 2014 Griffin Award for his new work The Bleeding Tree.  Angus joins Griffin Award alumni such as Donna Abela (Jump for Jordan), Lachlan Philpott (Silent Disco) and Brendan Cowell (Rabbit). More about the Griffin Award here.

    Read more from Elissa Blake in the Sydney Morning Herald

    And from Justine Burke in The Australian




Our Blog»

19 August 4:14 pm


Palm trees, brightly coloured fish, the odd sarong… Design mood board for the upcoming Emerald City? No, Lee’s half-a-week squeezy holiday before we launch our 2015 Season. So, while the boss is off chasing a winter tan for the launch party, and the UnhoIy Ghosts team prepare to haunt the theatre, I have taken control of the laptop to give you a speed tour of an Associate Artist’s life at Griffin. 

Like Australia, Griffin is small, but nimble and plucky, constantly changing, and daring itself to do better. If you speak here, you are heard, and no one is allowed to stay quiet for long. There’s too much to do and too little time. The last eight months have flashed by in a blur of 124 plays submitted for the Griffin Award, the 64 applications for next year’s indie season, and the 50 or so artists who put their hands up for the Studio Residencies. Griffin and Google have partnered in an experiment into the digital unknown, no, really unknown… and our studio artists have been reporting back from Canada, Singapore, Scotland, and (we hope) South Korea. Somehow, through all this, the strange alchemy of programming next year’s Main Season offerings is also complete. It’s like getting an extra Xmas.

To me next year’s plays prove the depth and courage of what our writers are prepared to tackle. They take us across the country and around the world, back through time and into the realms of fantasy. There’s music and argument, the ecstatic, and the terrifying, and these are all our voices, talking to us, for us, accusing and inspiring, but impossible to ignore. All crammed into the bulging SBW Stables Theatre, home to so much Australian theatre history and theatre promise.

Santa is real people, and his elves are busy at the printers, glossing up your 2015 brochure. See you soon in the foyer. Ben.

11:49 am


As we head towards opening night of Campion Decent’s irreverent, life-affirming and deeply personal Unholy Ghosts, Campion reflects on seeing the play come off the page for the first time.

I recently sat in on the first few days of rehearsal for Unholy Ghosts (or UG as we affectionately call it)Some people asked me why. ‘Isn’t your job over? Don’t you get bored?’ No and no are the answers. With the first production of a new play there is – at the very least – tweaks to be done. Not until you hear it in the mouths of actors do you realise the rhythm of a line needs adjusting. Or another is no longer necessary and better played through an actor’s gesture or loaded silence. And so on and so forth. And, if you’re really lucky, an actor comes up with an irresistible offer that immediately betters a writer’s clumsy choice. As for the boredom part … Nup, I find the psychology of the rehearsal room endlessly fascinating. And who wouldn’t enjoy watching actors the calibre of Anna Volska, Robert Alexander and James Lugton strut their stuff?

James Lugton during rehearsals

Read more…

13 August 7:32 am


Griffin Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre Company would like to respond to Jane Green’s blog post, endorsed by Scarlett Alliance and Vixen Collective, regarding our companies’ production of Ugly MugsClick here to view Jane Green’s blog.

In Peta Brady’s play Ugly Mugs which is playing currently at Griffin, a doctor is conducting an autopsy on the corpse of a woman. He finds in her boot a photocopied newsletter called Ugly Mugs. He proceeds to read information from the newsletter in the course of the play.

The words that he reads are complete fiction. It is not a real copy of an Ugly Mugs issue. Peta Brady has not used anyone’s real stories of violence, abuse or rape in her script.

As an outreach worker for health services and a needle exchange program in Melbourne for many years she agrees that to use real material from a confidential source would be a gross invasion of privacy. The entire play is a fictional work, being inspired by extensive research and  observation in the field,  intended to highlight the need for the decriminalisation of street work in Victoria.

The play asks questions about where the impulse towards violence comes from. There are six characters in the play. One of them is a street-based sex worker. She is depicted as a strong, smart and funny woman with friends and support networks. She was happy with her life and was not expecting anything bad to happen to her. The playwright’s intention was that she not be a ‘victim’ but that her death be seen as a result of the criminalisation of her profession in Victoria.

The other characters include a teenage boy, a doctor, a mother, a teenage girl and a an angry man. Their stories weave together in a way that highlights how our judgement system is flawed, how women – all women -  are often more vulnerable to physical violence than men, and that the transmission of violent behaviour in our society can be generational.

The play is a co-production between Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre and Sydney’s Griffin Theatre Company. It was rehearsed in Melbourne and during rehearsals sex workers came into the room as consultants. Any concerns they had about representation were addressed by the playwright at that time.

In Sydney, Griffin approached and met with representatives of the Scarlet Alliance to discuss the play. At no time did Griffin request an actual copy of Ugly Mugs for publicity. At no point have we used any information from a real issue of Ugly Mugs as Peta Brady made it very clear that information is not to be made public in any way. We understand that it would be a breach of privacy.

We understand that the legal issues faced by street-based sex workers in New South Wales are different from Victoria and have highlighted that in our contact with media, as well as program notes associated with the play. During our meeting with Scarlett Alliance we suggested that if they felt the differences, or localised issues, needed to be further addressed, we would be happy to collaborate by providing a platform through the media, a public forum or online publication.

We know that the depiction of violence can be deeply upsetting, especially for people who have had personal experience of such acts. We believe that this play describes violence not to glamorise it as entertainment, nor to create ‘pity’ for the ‘victims’, but to provoke conversations in our audience about the steps we need to take as a society to unmake traditions or patterns of violent behaviour.


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