We are playwrights. We are the truth tellers. We are the interface. We are the roadmap. We are the whistleblowers. We are the imaginers. We are here. We are Next In Line.
Over the course of 2020 we're welcoming Sydney’s most insightful, fresh, boundary-pushing playwrights into Darlinghurst Theatre Company to show you their work.
Each playwright will work with us on a development, culminating in a public reading. They'll give us a fresh take on the world around us, challenging us to think wider and deeper.
Join us to see the future of our stages.
The first work programmed in Next in Line is Jelbu Meri by Phoebe Grainer and Wendy Mocke.
'Jelbu, carry me on your back. Together we will form a mountain to reach up and touch our elders. Tell me, is your soul made of fire like mine?' 'I will carry you Meri, and together we'll be wildfire sweeping across their dry mountainous plains. They do not know our bones were made someplace else.'
'Jelbu/Meri' is a storytelling between two black women. Two black women who have soaked their bones in ochre and saltwater. Two black women whose skins contain the stories to their ancestors. Their journeys cut across timelines, weave between cultures and searches for meaning in new knowledge and old wisdom.
Jelbu Meri is intended to explore the lived experiences of an Aboriginal woman and Papua New Guinean woman, growing up as black women in Australia. The two women within the piece are of different countries yet their stories find their way to each other like old friends that have come home to rest. They discover as black women what it means to hate themselves before they know to love themselves. They unpack what it means to be too dark to be pretty and the complexities and pitfalls of black love. They deconstruct the ‘strong black woman’ narrative and cast our gaze upon the value of a soft black woman. They delicately peel the layers back in order to gain a better understanding and a deeper connection. It is a journey of time; it is a signal to cleanse. It is a call to love; and for the black woman, a timely stand of resistance.
ABOUT WENDY MOCKE AND PHOEBE GRAINER
Originally from Mareeba, QLD, Phoebe Grainer spent most of her childhood moving through the Northern Territory and Broome, WA. It was in Broome that Phoebe began her lifelong love affair with acting. After successfully applying for the Aboriginal Theatre course at WAAPA, Phoebe then moved to Perth. During her time studying Aboriginal Theatre, Phoebe had the opportunity to hone her craft performing in various Aboriginal plays and contemporary Aboriginal dances including the role of Wally Stephens in the play ‘Casting Doubts’ by Maryanne Sam. She was accepted into the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) at NIDA which she completed in 2016Phoebe worked with AFTRS for their director’s workshop & toured with the Performing Lines production of ‘Saltbush' and performed in ‘From Darkness we Came” for Playwriting Australia. Most recently, Phoebe was seen in ‘Doing’ by Amy Sole for KXT.
Wendy Mocke is a Papua New Guinean inter-disciplinary storyteller. She is a NIDA Acting graduate and Creative Director of Melanin Haus, a creative arts company based in Cairns. Her acting credits include: ABC’s The Code, Home Invasion at the Old 505 and Moby Dick at the Seymour Centre, where she was nominated for a Sydney Theatre Award. Wendy performed in last year's Festival Fatale at Darlinghurst Theatre in a play she co-wrote called Jelbu Meri. Wendy has also undertaken a residency at Rex Cramphorn Studio for a verbatim theatre piece she devised called Voices of West Papua. One of Wendy's quests as a writer and artist is to make alive what is quiet and asleep in Melanesian stories and unpack the myriad of layers that is black Pacific Islander identity.
Next in Line will run throughout the year at Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Sign up to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with our latest public readings and developments.
Next In Line will be programmed through open submissions. We will open for applications in late 2019 and program throughout 2020. Please follow us on social media or subscribe to our e-news to receive the announcement.