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The history and future of Commissioning Collective

Our Commissioning Collective provides generous support and the opportunity to nurture new, emerging and established writers, artists, directors, designers and technical crew, and commission original plays and new adaptations for South Australian audiences.

kathryn adams, kidaan zelleke and elena carapetis

In 2022, the Commissioning Collective will support Antigone. Playwright Elena Carapetis (The Gods Of Strangers, Gorgon) brings the first heroine of western drama raging into the 21st century in this cheeky, anarchic and subverted take on one of the world’s most revered classic plays.

Carapetis takes us from Ancient Greece to the modern day in a kaleidoscopic collection of vignettes that will make your head spin and leave your jaw on the floor. This is a rejection of the patriarchy, a love letter to girls and pop princesses, and a tribute to every Antigone reincarnated, from Malala to Emma to AOC to Greta. It’s an unapologetic, audacious explosion that dares to shake the very foundations of theatre – and to have a whole lotta fun while doing it.

Shows like Antigone epitomise the spirit of the Commissioning Collective: supporting bold, ambitious new works by South Australian and Australian artists.

Since 2015, the Commissioning Collective has supported the development of the following works:

Things I Know to be True by Andrew Bovell (2016)
In the Club by Patricia Cornelius (2018)
The Gods of Strangers by Elena Carapetis (2018)
Animal Farm by George Orwell (2019)
Hibernation by Finegan Kruckemeyer (2021)
Antigone by Elena Carapetis (after Sophocles) (2022)

As we reflect on the history of the Commissioning Collective, we look back at some of the shows made possible through the generosity and support of this incredible donor group since its inception in 2015. We asked some of our long-standing Commissioning Collective members about the most memorable shows supported by this group over the years.

Rob Brookman AM

“As the major theatre company of South Australia and one of the five largest mainstage companies in the country, STCSA has a responsibility to nurture the development of our theatre culture – and new work is at the heart of this. The Company has a notable record over the last decade in this regard and the Commissioning Collective has become a crucial part of providing the additional support required for commissioning and development.

The Collective kicked off with a memorable dinner in the STCSA Workshop in 2015 at which a band of theatre-lovers committed to support the creation of Andrew Bovell’s Things I Know to be True. The group funded the extra time required to workshop the ideas embodied in the play and the deep development of its characters. The results were outstanding, and the production was a triumph in Adelaide, on tour and at the Lyric Hammersmith London and throughout the UK. The play has gone on to many seasons both nationally and internationally and is to be developed into a major TV mini-series.

From little things, big things grow… Since then the Company’s commissioning program has continued to create notable successes like The Gods of Strangers, Euphoria and Hibernation. There is just no more important work that our State Theatre Company does!”

Jane Doyle

Things I Know to be True was such a revelation as a play, daring to address the familiar with great empathy, honesty and humour. A tenderly observed, fresh piece of Australian drama – what’s not to love?

Works like these deserve a place in Australian theatre’s repertoire and give voice to our reality. None of the subsequent plays we’ve supported has brought anything but great joy and helping them onto Aussie (and world) stages has been a great privilege.

Being part of the Commissioning Circle affords us the unmitigated pleasure of being involved from the ground up, watching talented creative artists, write, design, compose, light, stage manage, direct and act in new work. It’s thrilling to be involved.”

Don Sarah

“My wife is a long-time supporter of all genres of the Arts so we decided years ago to become benefactors of emerging artists, especially State Theatre Company South Australia. I became a member of the Commissioning Collective and have thoroughly enjoy the experience and the many shows we have supported.

The Gods of Strangers was for me a most memorable show for many reasons. Elena Carapetis is a local actor, playwright and director and the play centred around the ethnic influence on the history of our state. We saw the play twice, here in Adelaide and then visited with a group to Port Pirie to see the show in its setting, where we again enjoyed the show and the local hospitality.”

Are you interested in joining Commissioning Collective? You can become a member or renew your membership online here.

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