GRIFFIN Theatre Company / Rice / 2016

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.

In 2016 the Girgensohn Foundation supported the development of the play Rice, written by Michele Lee. Winner of the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award 2016-2017, Rice began its life as part of Griffins’s Story Lab, which explores cross cultural and cross art form storytelling practices.

Michele Lee is an important emerging voice in contemporary writing. Ambitious in form and idea, her observations on race, gender and power can both be brutal and tender. In  this play Michele sets the personal politics of two women against the global politics of the world food economy. In doing so, she unpicks the vastly different relationship that migrants of varying generations and backgrounds have with Australia.

One of Griffin’s main goals for 2017 was to continue to reflect the diversity of contemporary Australia. Rice was part of achieving this goal as it engaged with Asian/Australian playwright Michele Lee bringing this unique take on the Asia/Australia relationship to their stage. This production has also created two iconic roles for Asian/Australian actors – and with a largely female creative team it supports the pursuit of gender equality in the arts.

Rice was co-produced by Queensland Theatre premiering in Brisbane in June 2017, followed by a five week season at Griffin Theatre Company and a one-week season at Hothouse Theatre in Albury-Wodonga.

As the 2017 premiere season was both critically and financially successful, Griffin is now looking to tour the work regionally from 2018 onwards. Sharing a story across geographic boundaries is vital in fostering a national conversation and raising the profile of contemporary Australian playwriting.