Oh look…it’s been a wild ride. Sometimes the universe gets behind you with a mighty blast. And you do have to acknowledge those moments when they happen. Thank you universe and firstly the total talent of Pip Williams and producers STCSA (Mitchell Butel, Julian Hobba, Shelley Lush) and STC (Kip Williams, Anne Dunn and dramaturg Ruth Little),and beautiful creative team of – direction Jess Arthur, Associate Director Shannon Rush, designer Jonathon Oxlade, costumes, Ailsa Patterson, lights, Trent Suidgeest, music/sound Max Lyandvart and stunning cast of Tilda Cobham-Hervey (pictured, as Esme), Rachel Burke, Ksenja Logos, Angela Mahlatjie, Chris Pitman, Brett Archer, Raj Labade and Anthony Yangoyan, all of whom are just amazing. And welcome to Brenna Harding and Carlos Sanson Jr who will be replacing Tilda (as Esme) and Raj (as Gareth) during the Melbourne season.
And thence to a recent press release from Andrea Michaels MP, the SA Minister for Art. She says:
“(The Dictionary of Lost Words) was adapted by South Australian playwright Verity Laughton from South Australian novelist Pip Williams’ award-winning and bestselling book and…become the highest selling Dunstan Playhouse production in State Theatre Company South Australia’s 50- year history.
The (STCSA) production, starring (South Australian) Tilda Cobham-Hervey, enjoyed a completely sold-out season in September and October 2023, becoming State Theatre Company South Australia’s highest selling Dunstan Playhouse show ever and one of the best attended shows on record at the theatre, which marks its 50th anniversary in 2024.
Generating more than $950,000 at the box office, The Dictionary of Lost Words attracted 14,219 people over its three-week season and sold out all available seats before its first preview. Restricted view seats were made available after opening, which then also sold out.
The show has also completely sold out its Sydney season at the Sydney Opera House where it is currently being presented by the show’s co-producers, Sydney Theatre Company. It will play at Arts Centre Melbourne in February 2024.
The Dictionary of Lost Words enjoyed not only unprecedented box office success but universal critical acclaim: “a must-see” (The Advertiser), “a real work of art” (Glam Adelaide), “an overwhelming success” (Theatre Travels), “an artistic masterpiece” (Time Out) and “exhilarating” (Sydney Morning Herald). “
I’m just back from the final Sydney show on 16th December and then – back in deceptively quiet Adelaide – will start work on the SAFC-funded development of Matthew Thorne’s first full length feature, Flatlands. The two projects couldn’t be more different but are equally exciting.
I also wanted to shout out for the Screen Canberra Screen Pod initiative, in which I participated this year. In late November I and a lot of other new(ish) screenwriters pitched our concepts to a bevy of sharp, capable and generous producers. It was a fantastic experience, challenging and rewarding both. If other playwrights are contemplating a career diversion or addition I can't recommend it highly enough.