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The Fence


The Fence

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NOVEMBER 4, 2009


The Fence
Urban Theatre Projects, Australia

January 14 – 30, 2010

Original concept and direction Alicia Talbot
Devised and performed by Helen Dallas, Richard Green, Vicki van Hout, Kelton Pell, Skye Quill
Story consultant Wayne Blair
Designer Alison Page
Composer Liberty Kerr
Lighting Designer Neil Simpson

Four friends have just finished dinner. Two are catching the footy score; the other two are in the kitchen
cracking jokes. Their voices drift through the fading light as a lone shadow slinks into the backyard, sinks
into a garden chair and stares into the house. She’s been gone a long time…

After sell-out seasons of Back Home (2006) and The Last Highway (2008), Australian theatre company
Urban Theatre Projects (UTP) returns to Sydney Festival with their newest creation, The Fence, opening
on January 14.

The story takes place in the family home of Mel and Joy in Sydney’s western suburbs. It investigates the
resilience and wisdom of five middle-aged Australians, four of whom grew up in care as part of the Stolen
Generations and Forgotten Australians. Unfolding every night in a purpose-built house, The Fence is an
explosive tale of love, belonging and dispossession.

In developing The Fence, UTP Artistic Director Alicia Talbot (Back Home, The Last Highway) spent
weeks working with 25 indigenous and non-indigenous Australian men and women who have similar
experiences to the characters. Alicia, renowned for her collaborative and discussion-driven approach,
acknowledges the collaborators as experts and together they have engaged in open dialogue to develop
the script, which Alicia refers to as “fictionalised reality”. The result is a raw, poetic and realistic portrait of
contemporary life.

“The work has been created from, but is not about, the collaborators’ real life experiences. It is essentially
an artistic enquiry about five people who have experienced healing and trauma, discovering their
wisdom. We have then set it over one night, collapsed into a 90-minute moment-in-time.

“We have been extremely privileged to receive the advice and guidance of indigenous elders, community
leaders and advocates, cultural thinkers and social commentators, and these discussions are ongoing
and will continue to shape the work until the season closes,” Alicia said.

The Fence features an extraordinary cast including Helen Dallas (Adios Cha Cha), Richard Green
(Boxing Day), Kelton Pell (Stone Bros, One Night the Moon, The Circuit), Vicki van Hout (Bangarra,
Ausdance) and Skye Quill (Chopper). Story consultant Wayne Blair, sound artist Liberty Kerr and
designer Alison Page join the artistic team.
Refreshingly honest, unpatronising and bullshit-free. – The Sydney Morning Herald (Back Home –
Sydney Festival 2006)

…a beautifully mounted and technically complex work, thoroughly alive to the spatial possibilities of the
venue. – Sydney Morning Herald (Back Home – Sydney Festival 2006)

This is a powerful and truthful piece, as good as it gets. – Artshub (The Last Highway – Sydney Festival

The crew behind Bankstown-based Urban Theatre Projects have been keeping it real for more than 25
years. – The Daily Telegraph

 Season Details     The Fence
 Where              Meeting Point: Parramatta Riverside Theatre*
                    Meeting time: 8.30pm
                    *Audience walks to site (it is an easy 10-minute walk)
                    For disability access, please call Urban Theatre Projects on (02) 9707 2111
 When               Preview: Wed 13 January
                    Performances: Mon-Sat 14-16, 18-23, 25-30 January
 Duration           80-minute show, plus 10-minute walk to and from site
 Price              Preview $30
                    Full $45/$35
 Bookings           Riverside Theatres (02) 8839 3399
                    Sydney Festival 1300 668 812

Based in Bankstown, western Sydney, Urban Theatre Projects is a social and political theatre company
with a 27-year lineage of creating distinctive new theatre. The company explores new territory in
contemporary arts practice and collaborative processes through a synthesis of artists, site, ideas and
public dialogue. Stories and images of contemporary life are created in collaboration with teams of artists
from hybrid art practices and diverse cultural backgrounds.

Siobhan Robertson
p: 0424 289 702

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