Girl Asleep

Part fairytale and part lipstick-smeared vigilante escapade.

About

  • AGES 14+
  • 80mins
  • Occasional coarse language, Strobe effects

Mayhem. Adventure. Hormones.

Greta Driscoll is chronically shy and privately falling apart.

Frozen in the spotlight of her fifteenth birthday, things go from bad to worse when a stranger arrives propelling her into a parallel place; a latent world that’s weirdly erotic, violent and thoroughly ludicrous.

Part fairytale and part lipstick-smeared vigilante escapade, this is a girl’s own adventure where heroism and gender implode in a unique exposé of the sisterhood.

Now’s your chance to see the play that went on to become an internationally award-winning film.

Meet the Cast and Creative Team

Matthew Whittet

Writer, Performer

Matthew is an actor and writer who has worked extensively in theatre, film and television for over twenty years. As an actor, Matt has performed for Belvoir many times in productions including CinderellaThe Book Of Everything, Conversation Piece and Atlantis. His plays Old Man, Cinderella and Seventeen have also premiered at Belvoir.

Matthew has been a recipient of the Philip Parsons Fellowship (Belvoir), The Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship and the ATYP Foundation Commission Award for his play Fight With All Your Might the Zombies of the Night. The 2014 Adelaide Festival trilogy of plays with Windmill are School Dance, Big Bad Wolf and Girl Asleep which Matt adapted to screenplay and resulted in an award-winning feature film.

Rosemary Myers

Director

Under Rose’s leadership as Artistic Director, Windmill creates and presents work inspired by the vibrancy, sophistication and inventiveness of young people and the exhilarating challenges they pose to creating theatre of relevance in this modern time.

Rose is a multi-Helpmann Award nominated director, her productions regularly visit leading stages and festivals around Australia and the world, including the Sydney Opera House, Hong Kong’s Arts and Leisure Centre and New York’s New Victory Theatre. Her directing credits for Windmill include Rumpelstiltskin, Pinocchio, The Wizard of Oz, Fugitive, School Dance, Big Bad Wolf and Girl Asleep.

Prior to Windmill, Rosemary was the Artistic Director of Arena Theatre Company and Artistic Director of Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Out of the Box Festival in 2010. In 2015, she directed her first feature film Girl Asleep with Windmill Theatre Co, and in 2017 she was awarded the prestigious Australia Council Theatre Award.

Jonathon Oxlade

Designer

Jonathon has designed set and costumes for Queensland Theatre, LaBoite Theatre, isthisyours?, Aphids, Arena Theatre Company, Polyglot, The Real TV Project, Polytoxic, Men of Steel, Lemony S Puppet Theatre, Terrapin Puppet Theatre, Vitalstatistix and Barking Gecko.

He has also worked with Bell Shakespeare, The Border Project, State Theatre of South Australia, Dead Puppet Society, The Last Great Hunt, Sydney Theatre Company, The Escapists, Melbourne Theatre Company, Sandpit, Belvoir St Theatre and Windmill Theatre Co, where he is resident designer. Jonathon has received numerous awards. Most recently in 2016, Jonathon was awarded the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship and received APDG awards for both Best Production Design and Best Costume Design for Girl Asleep, and received an AACTA award for best Costume for Girl Asleep.

In 2017, he received the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Costume Design for Mr Burns.

Luke Smiles

Original Soundtrack

Luke creates highly detailed soundtracks for theatre, dance and film, working across all areas of music composition, sound design, foley and sound effects editing. His work is enjoyed by audiences both nationally and around the world.

Working under his business name motion laboratories, Luke has composed and produced soundtracks for many Australian and international artists & companies. Various credits include: Carbon Field (Queensland Ballet), ʻGʼ (Australian Dance Theatre), Glow (Chunky Move), Roadkill, The Ninth Wave (The Farm), Split Second Heroes (Gabrielle Nankivell), SURGE (Dancenorth), The Maids (Sydney Theatre Company), Wildebeest, Neon Aether (Sydney Dance Company), Fugitive, School Dance and Girl Asleep (Windmill Theatre Co).

Richard Vabre

Lighting Designer

Richard is a freelance lighting designer. He has lit productions for Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Victorian Opera, Windmill Theatre Co, Arena Theatre Company, NICA, The Darwin Festival and Back to Back Theatre.

He has also designed the lighting for Stuck Pig’s Squealing, Chambermade, Rawcus, Red Stitch, Polyglot, Melbourne Worker’s Theatre, Aphids and many productions at La Mama Awards. Richard has won 5 Green Room Awards including the Association’s John Truscott Prize for Excellence in Design (2004). He has also been nominated for 8 other Green Room Awards.

Gabrielle Nankivell

Movement Consultant

Gabrielle Nankivell is a South Australian director and performer with formative ties to Europe. Working independently and commissioned by leading dance companies and training institutions, Gabrielle also maintains a collaborative creative practice with composer Luke Smiles.

Gabrielle’s work has been widely presented across Australia, Europe and Asia. 2019 commissions include Neon Aether, a new work for Sydney Dance Company’s 50th Anniversary Season 1: Bonachela / Nankivell / Lane, currently touring nationally, and Ava, a bespoke solo for Samantha Hines in Dancenorth’s upcoming Communal Table for Brisbane Festival. Split Second Heroes, her latest, independently produced full-length work, premiered at the Adelaide Festival Centre in July 2017 receiving an Adelaide Critics Circle Individual Award nomination.

Gabrielle also provides choreography and movement consultancy across stage and film productions. Recent engagements include State Theatre Company of South Australia’s The Popular Mechanicals, Windmill Theatre Co’s multi award-winning School Dance and Girl Asleep and internationally acclaimed Australian feature film Girl Asleep, directed by Rosemary Myers.

Sheridan Harbridge

Performer

Sheridan is an actor, playwright, singer and comedienne, graduating from NIDA in 2006. Her musical Songs for the Fallen won Best Musical, and Outstanding actress at the New York Music Theatre Festival in 2015, and has toured Australia and New Zealand. She collaborated with UK cult band The Tiger Lillies on Cockatoo Island for the Biennale of Sydney, and appeared with John Cleese in the Just for Laughs Festival, Sydney Opera House.

Her theatre credits include Muriel’s Wedding the Musical (STC) The Sugar House, The Dog/The Cat (Belvoir), Girl Asleep (Windmill), North by Northwest, The Beast, and The Speechmaker (MTC), Gaybies (Darlinghurst), Kill Climate Deniers, Jump for Jordan (Griffin), 80 Minutes No Interval (Old Fitz), Fiddler on the Roof, Carmen and My Fair Lady (Opera Australia), An Officer & a Gentleman (GFO), Threepenny Opera, Miss Julie, Cabaret, The Bald Soprano, Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah, Frog & Smudge and DreamSong (Arts Centre Melbourne).

Antoine Jelk

Performer

Since his graduation from Flinders Drama Centre in 2014, Antoine has had the privilege of working with companies from all tiers of the Adelaide Theatre industry.

His credits include Tartuffe and Long Tan by State Theatre Company and Brink Productions, Deluge the premiere work by Tiny Bricks for the Adelaide Festival, Schmidt by Back Porch Productions, Eurydice by Foul Play Theatre, Eyes by Sandpit , Beep by Windmill Theatre Co, and Yo Diddle Diddle by Patch. Antoine most recently performed in A View From The Bridge with State Theatre Company SA and looks forward to touring with Beep again next year in Canada and the US.

Amber McMahon

Performer

Amber trained at Flinders University Drama Centre and was a recipient of the Adele Koh Scholarship to study at the Stella Adler Company & SITI Company in New York. Amber most recently performed in Banging Denmark (STC), Small Mouth Sounds (Darlinghurst), and a sold out run of The Appleton Ladies Potato Race (Ensemble).

Previous work includes North by Northwest (Kay & McLean Productions), Accidental Death of An Anarchist (STC)The Popular Mechanicals (STC/STCSA)Bliss, Picnic at Hanging Rock (Malthouse), Atlantis, Twelfth Night, and Angels in America (Belvoir). She was also a part of STC’s Actors Company. Amber’s screen credits include the award winning feature film Girl Asleepfor which she was nominated for Australian Film Critics Association’s 2017 Best Supporting Actress Award.

She can next be seen in the upcoming SBS mini-series The HuntingAmber has also won two Helpmann Awards for Best Supporting Actress for work in Windmill’s Girl Asleep and School Dance.

Ellen Steele

Performer

Ellen Steele is a theatre maker and performer based in Adelaide, South Australia. She is a founding member of isthisyours?, an all-female collective committed to creating new and unconventional performance. Since their inception in 2007, isthisyours? have created five original full scale works, toured nationally and won multiple awards. Their latest production was a world-first reworking of David Williamson’s The Club (An All-Female, 3 Actor Version) as part of State Theatre Company SA’s 2019 season.

Ellen has toured extensively throughout Australia, Asia and North America with companies including Windmill, State Theatre Company SA, Vitalstatistix, Slingsby, Belvoir, The Border Project, Aphids and Patch. As an independent maker Ellen has developed work with TerryandTheCuz, Spilt Second and Zoe Meagher for Next Wave Festival, Misery Children and Sanctum Theatre.

Ellen is a current recipient of an Arts SA Fellowship undergoing research and development in Beijing and Adelaide for a new cross-cultural work, The Friendly Games.

 

Lois Bryson

Performer

Lois is thrilled to be making her debut theatre performance with Windmill as young Greta Driscoll in Girl Asleep. Always with an affinity for performing, Lois has attended various classes including ‘Making Theatre’ (SAYarts), Ballet & Jazz Ballet (Accent on Dance) and has made many a self-starring (unpublished) short film on the very small screen. Lois is 11 years old, enjoys gymnastics, shooting goals, school choir, cooking desserts and is in her third year of studying piano.

Eva Zurak

Performer

Eva is very excited to be joining Windmill in her debut performance as young Greta Driscoll in Girl Asleep. Eva is nine years old and lives east of Adelaide with her parents, two sisters and attends primary school. With a natural flair for drama and the arts, Eva was enrolled in acting classes at Actors Ink eight months ago and has subsequently found an activity she is passionate about. Eva also enjoys creating ‘how to make’ videos on her own YouTube channel and spending time with her friends and her puppy Rollo. Eva would like to thank director Rosemary Myers for providing her this opportunity and is absolutely thrilled to be able to perform.

Highlights from the Show

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY

"Ellen Steele plays Greta with utter charm and conviction, the light in the room who gives everyone else a chance to shine"

THE ADVERTISER

"Vivacious and memorable… has all the bright, bold, energetic hallmarks of earlier works"

THE AUSTRALIAN

"Girl Asleep is an excellent night out for both adults and almost-adults"

INDAILY

"Matthew Whittet’s big-hearted coming-of-age tale rode high on Rosemary Myers’ slick direction and energetic comic performances and elaborate sets and costumes"

THE AGE

"Familiar blend of fantasy, comedy and gentle sentiment aimed at all audiences"

THE AUSTRALIAN

"A memorable show, bringing together the entertaining absurdity of dreams and the struggles of adolescent life in a perfect mix."

GLAM ADELAIDE

Note from the Writer - Matthew Whittet

Girl Asleep is about closing the doors of childhood and opening up the strange and incongruous doors of adolescence. Of the vast changes that occur inside the minds, hearts and bodies of kids at this crazy time of life. Of how truly difficult it is to be a teenager. Of how enormous things are. Of how emotional things can be, and how exhilarating the ride can be. The peaks are high, and the troughs are not. They’re the times I look back on as an adult, and know that the seeds of who I am now were planted at those exact moments. That only now can I see how important certain moments were when I was 14 or 15. That some of the battles I fought then were the ones that define so much of who I am now.

Girl Asleep started with a handful of elements. We knew that we wanted it to be a young girl’s journey. That she’d be a hero, and do incredibly brave things. We knew that we wanted to set it in the 1970’s. We knew we wanted to look at the ideas behind the tale of Sleeping Beauty, and at this strange time in some young kids’ lives where they seem to retreat. Like sleepwalkers. Eyes lowered, voices at almost a whisper, looking for all the world to not even be there. But beneath this somnolence and quiet, a storm rages. One that often threatens to swallow them whole. One that involves impossible challenges and fierce battles. Battles that they must face whether they like it or not. Otherwise they might remain asleep forever. Trapped in the challenges they never managed to overcome. And for Greta, our chronically shy hero, all this happens. And more. On the night of her 15th birthday, a party happens that she never even wanted. A party where everyone is invited. Even her worst fears and nightmares.

The journey of this story has been a long and incredible one. It started as the third play in a trilogy of teenage stories, along with Fugitive and School Dance – which were all performed in repertory at the 2014 Adelaide Festival. Then it transformed its way into becoming a screenplay, which was made by the same team – along with some excellent new additions, and has gone on to find a whole new life and audience. Greta’s story has had a life and an energy all of its own. For which I’m eternally grateful.

All these works – Fugitive, School Dance and both permutations of Girl Asleep – have been made with an immense amount of joy, silliness, craft and heart. They are all about friendship in one way or another, and they have all sprung from a friendship amongst the most excellent bunch of theatre brains. Generous, excitable and infinitely imaginative people, who all know the value of a good fart joke. Seriously.

Note from the Director - Rosemary Myers

Girl Asleep premiered in 2014 as the third part in a trilogy, which saw Windmill Theatre Co collaborate and develop a theatrical language over several years with a group of artists who shared similar aesthetics and passions.

Each trilogy production is self-contained but at the heart of the works are rites-of-passage stories focused on the teenage years; this high stakes, often-painful time of life that is also full of possibility as you begin to carve out your own place in the world.

In Girl Asleep, our protagonist, Greta Driscoll is clinging to her childhood. She is shy and plays it under the radar in a new school in the 1970’s, a significant era for feminism in Australia. Girl Asleep focuses on the latent aspect of adolescence. All that time you spend in your own mind escaping, contemplating, and dreaming. Greta starts as a passive protagonist and the play is the story of her activation. Writer, Matthew Whittet brings this terrain to life with his poignant telling of the outsider story, of friendship and family, and his hilarious and deeply affecting characters that are embodied by our excellent actors.

With the talents of our creative team members Jonathon, Luke and Richard, we have sought to make these worlds vibrant and alive through the use of recapitulated popular culture, and the combination of old school theatrics and contemporary production techniques.

The amazing experience of making this theatre show did not stop with the trilogy when, through the HIVE fund (an Adelaide Film Festival initiative), we were able to transfer our theatrical language to the big screen and create a feature film based on our play. Creating the film was another chapter of this ride and an opportunity to explore this story in a brand new medium.

Now that we are revisiting the play again in Adelaide, we have had the opportunity to refine this work again, based on all we have learnt about the story. Living with Girl Asleep over the past six years through the play and film, there have been so many different drafts that the spell checks of both Matt and I have defaulted to correct the word ‘great’ to ‘Greta’ in our respective versions of Microsoft Word.

A large and diverse worldwide audience has now enjoyed our Girl Asleep story, many tapping into their inner teenager. For us, the experience of returning to perform the show to a live audience, with lots of teenagers in the room, is truly adrenaline-charged. This is its true home. Windmill is so thrilled to present Girl Asleep again in Adelaide and we hope you have a ‘Greta’ experience of the show.

Windmill production Girl Asleep10. Windmill Theatre's GIRL ASLEEP - Matthew Whittet. Photo Tony Lewis11. Windmill Theatre's GIRL ASLEEP - Zara Blight. Photo Tony Lewis12. Windmill Theatre's GIRL ASLEEP - L-R Zara Blight, Ellen Steele. Photo Tony Lewis13. Windmill Theatre's GIRL ASLEEP - Matthew Whittet. Photo Tony Lewis14. Windmill Theatre's GIRL ASLEEP - Matthew Whittet. Photo Tony Lewis15. Windmill Theatre's GIRL ASLEEP - L-R Ellen Steele, Eamon Farren. Photo Tony LewisWindmill production Girl Asleep16. Windmill Theatre's GIRL ASLEEP - Amber McMahon. Photo Tony Lewis17. Windmill Theatre's GIRL ASLEEP - Jude Henshall. Photo Tony Lewis18. Windmill Theatre's GIRL ASLEEP - Amber McMahon. Photo Tony Lewis19. Windmill Theatre's GIRL ASLEEP - L-R Ellen Steele, Eamon Farren. Photo Tony Lewis9. Windmill Theatre's GIRL ASLEEP - L-R Ellen Steele, Eamon Farren. Photo Tony LewisWindmill production Girl AsleepWindmill production Girl Asleep

Credits

  • Writer, Performer Matthew Whittet
  • Director Rosemary Myers
  • Designer Jonathon Oxlade
  • Original Soundtrack Luke Smiles
  • Lighting Designer Richard Vabre
  • Movement Consultant Gabrielle Nankivell
  • Performer Sheridan Harbridge
  • Performer Antoine Jelk
  • Performer Amber McMahon
  • Performer Ellen Steele
  • Performer Lois Bryson
  • Performer Eva Zurak

Acknowledgements

A Windmill Theatre Company production.

Girl Asleep received special funding from Major Commissions and Festival Commissioning Fund through Arts South Australia and 2014 Adelaide Festival.

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