GRIFFIN Theatre Company / Prima Facie / 2019

The Griffin Theatre Company is focused on Australian writing. Located in Sydney’s historic SBW Stables Theatre, they lead the country in developing and producing great Australian stories, and are dedicated to supporting Australian artists.

Winner of the 2018 Griffin Award, Prima Facie is an indictment of the Australian legal system’s failure to provide reliable pathways to justice for women in rape, sexual assault or harassment cases. It’s a work of fiction, but one that could have been ripped from the headlines of any paper, any day of the week, so common you could cry.

Sheridan Harbridge stars as Tessa, a criminal lawyer at the top of her game who knows the law permits no room for emotion. To win you need to believe in the rules. And Tessa loves to win, even when defending clients accused of sexual assault. Her court-ordained duty trumps her feminism. But when she finds herself on the other side of the bar, Tessa is forced into the shadows of doubt she so ruthlessly cast over other women.

Turning Sydney’s courts of law into a different kind of stage, this taut, rapid-fire and gripping one-woman show exposes the shortcomings of a patriarchal justice system where it is her word against his.

Prima Facie premiered at the Stables Theatre in May 2019 and was also performed in the Canberra Theatre Centre and Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. Due to its extraordinary success Prima Facie had a re-run at the Seymour Centre in 2021.

This powerful story was written by criminal lawyer/playwright Suzie Miller. Sheridan Harbridge received many standing ovations for her formidable performance and received the ‘Best Female Actor in a Leading Role – Main Stage’ award at the 2019 Sydney Theatre Awards. Lee Lewis’ direction was excellent.

The Girgensohn Foundation was the production partner of this play.