New Australian play “Flame Trees” – intriguing, potent and coming to St Kilda in March!

Flame Trees publicity shot with cast.  L-R: James Mason, Sally McLean, Wayne Tunks, Matthew Candeland, Sarah Berryman & Hannah Gott
Flame Trees publicity shot with cast. L-R: James Mason, Sally McLean, Wayne Tunks, Matthew Candeland, Sarah Berryman & Hannah Gott

It’s been a busy few months, then Christmas hit, then the New Year and before I knew it … it was mid-February!  But what a year it’s been so far!

Lots has been going on since the last update – best if you get it straight from the source, so acting updates can be found here and documentary updates are all here.

Currently my primary focus is being in the cast of the world premier of a fantastic new Australian play Flame Trees from acclaimed dramatist, Wayne Tunks (The Subtle Art of Flirting / 37 Ways To Say I’m Gay). The brilliant Perri Cummings is directing and between them they have assembled a rather awesome cast (if I say so myself!).  This aforementioned awesome cast are Sarah Berryman, Matthew Candelands, Hannah Gott, James Mason (yes the Aussie actor from Neighbours, not the other one), Wayne Tunks and yours truly.

We have been deep in rehearsals for the past couple of weeks and I’m getting so excited to get this on the stage.  We only have 19 days until we open previews (eek!!), and then we run until March 16th at Theatre Works in St Kilda, Melbourne.

Described as ‘Sydney’s most prolific dramatist’ by the Daily Telegraph, Wayne has found success with his plays all through Australia and now the world and has written another intriguing tale – this time about troubled relationships in a small country town, following the return of the perpetrator of a deliberately lit bushfire – a decade after it destroyed people’s homes and caused the death of a young local.

Essentially, Flame Trees is the story of one woman’s fight for redemption and is a modern Australian drama about fire and the fear it brings.

But it’s not all doom and gloom!  The script is peppered with lovely comedic one liners and also celebrates Australian larrikinism, as well as our ability to survive and rise above disasters.

And rehearsals are fun.  Such a great cast of actors and lovely people to boot!  I’m truly enjoying the process and loving the chance to work under the very talented Perri Cummings as director.  Usually Perri and I get to share the stage or screen together as actors (which I love), but I’m also loving working with her in this way – especially as she is (as I think I mentioned) a rather brilliant director too!

But this post is not just about me saying how great my creative life is right now (although, let’s be honest, it is pretty wonderful on that front at the moment!). Due to Flame Trees being produced independently (ie – we don’t have the budgets of say, the MTC), we’re on the hunt for donations to help out with set construction and publicity.  When staging a new work, this is fairly typical in Oz, and if it wasn’t for the wonderful supporters of independent theatre out there, many of these fascinating works would never see the light of day … so we are calling on your support.

Flame Trees is currently running a donations campaign on (the Australian version of Indiegogo and Kickstarter) which you’ll find here:  Every little bit helps, so if you have some spare change – drop it in the bucket (as we say here in Oz).  No matter where you’re based worldwide, you can donate, so if you’re feeling generous – feel free to help!

Just click here to get involved – and we’d like to say a huge “THANK YOU!!” to everyone who has given so far.

So, that’s what my world looks like at the moment!  Hope yours is also filled with good people, challenging work (in a good way) and general fun.  I’ll leave you with the video for the Pozible campaign for your enjoyment, which stars James Mason who plays “Matt” in the play (although he is possibly better known as “Chris Pappas” on the popular Aussie TV series Neighbours 😉 )

Till next time – may your world be merry and your heart be light,

Sally x

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