Background

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.

Then in April 2024, thanks to donors to our Australian Cultural Fund campaign, we undertook a dramaturgical process, hosted and supported by The Street, Canberra. Artists with whom Dianna Nixon consulted during that process were:

Jenny Bell (Breadalbane-based farmer and visual artist)
 
Martin Thomas (production designer, who has relocated to the ACT after spending the last 7 years in the design team at Glyndebourne Opera)
 
Stephen Carlton (multi award-winning Qld playwright and academic whose works have been extensively performed)
 
Maria Shevtsova (professor of theatre and author, her books include the acclaimed Rediscovering Stanislavsky, editor of Cambridge University’s New Theatre Quarterly for the past nearly 3 decades)
 
Linda Chen (emerging artist who works across theatre and film, looking at the work from the perspective of its potential on screen)
 
Then we presented a 2nd reading at a private event in the old woolshed on the property where Millicent was living when she wrote “Fire”. 

 

Project Status

We will undertake a writing room process to develop the script in readiness for a mainstage production (perhaps as a co-production with a major company), and, in the future, further explore its potential for screen.

Collaborators

The first reading was given by actors Caroline Simone O’Brien, Christopher Samuel Carroll, Craig Alexander, Zsuzsi Soboslay and Dianna Nixon, as part of Gunning Arts Festival 2023, with financial backing from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, Veolia Mulwaree Trust and Acciona.

The same actors gave the 2nd reading, this time supported by donors to our Australian Cultural Fund campaign.

Work-In-Progress 

Writers room

Working towards mainstage production

Development into a screen project

Important dates and activities

Fundraising for our next stages.