Fire – first public reading of a 100 year old Australian play

It only took a century.

On Sunday 29 October, as part of Gunning Arts Festival, Music Theatre Projects presented a reading of Millicent Armstrong’s long form play, Fire.

The work was written in 1923, and published in serialised form in May 1923 in The Daily Telegraph.

We presented our reading at Gunning Court House for an invitation-only audience of interested parties – stakeholders and colleagues in the arts industry, politicians and policy makers, media, and a significant group of Armstrong’s family. People travelled from Dubbo, Sydney, Albury, Canberra, Yass, Goulburn and Queanbeyan to join locals in the audience.

The work elicited tears from our audience, and, though it needs some dramaturgical tightening, is a gem.

Next steps will be to do that dramaturgical work, then a second reading in our district, again for an invited audience. Then we’ll investigate how we might present it in a mainstage production (perhaps as a co-production with a major company), and, potentially, develop it into a feature film.

In the future, we also plan to publish our production edits of Millicent Armstrong’s play so as to widen the access to these works for future study and performance.