For the first time we are partnering with the University of Sydney’s Department of Performance Studies on the next Creative Development Studio
The Performance Studies students will observe the three-day Creative Development Studio of Donna Abela’s play Jump for Jordan as part of the Dramaturgy course led by Dr Laura Ginters. Donna was recently awarded the 2013 Griffin Award for an outstanding play that displays an authentic, inventive and contemporary Australian voice.
Playwriting Australia is excited that this partnership will give students learning about dramaturgy a rare look into the process of developing a new Australian play. The Creative Development Studio will be hosted by the University of Sydney in partnership with Griffin Theatre Company in August 2013. Donna will collaborate with director Iain Sinclair, dramaturg Jane Bodie and an ensemble of actors.
About the play
Lola’s father Shahir was a refugee from Palestine, who named his daughters after Hollywood sex symbols and Australian native flowers. Now that he’s dead, Lola is fair game for her strict Jordanian mother, who won’t let her forget the shame Lola brought when she ran away from home at the age of twenty. A play about family history, cultural prescriptions and personal ambition.
“Jump For Jordan is inspired by a real experience which excited my abiding interest in themes of migration, displacement, exile, and clashing cultural expectations. However, I was equally curious about the anxiety and paranoia that gripped my friend, and how assumptions, internalised racism and moral panic could eclipse actual events. For this reason, Jump For Jordan is also set within the main characters’s fluctuating levels of consciousness: memory, reconstructed family history, paranoid fantasies, and insomnia-induced conversations with the dead”. Donna Abela
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About the playwright
Donna Abela is a writer with over thirty works. Her credits include A Cleansing Force (Novemberism), A Walk in the Park (New Theatre) Olympia and Phoung and Oliver Twist Is (428 project), Spirit (Griffin Theatre), The Greatest Show On Earth (Queensland Music Festival, co-written with Patrick Nolan),The Rood Screen (Darlinghurst Theatre) Tales From the Arabian Nights (Theatre of Image), The Daphne Massacre (Parramatta Riverside Theatres), Aurora’s Lament, Mrs Macquarie’s Cello, and Fathom (ABC Radio), Highest Mountain Fastest River (Salamanca Theatre Company), Quest (Pact Youth Theatre), One In A Million (Death Defying Theatre), Circus Caravan and 4 Speed Blenders (Jigsaw Theatre Company), and No Funny Business, More Funny Business, and Lots More Funny Business (New Theatre).
Donna co-founded Powerhouse Youth Theatre in 1987 in Western Sydney. For PYT she wrote Ratbags, Reek Havoc, Was Liverpool Always Full of Headbangers? and Shazam, and devised a number of unscripted works. Donna worked continuously for PYT for seventeen years as it consolidated its practice of community collaboration, and established a base at the Fairfield School of Arts. She chaired the company from 1993 to 2003. She was on the board of the national script development organisation Playworks, Women Performance Writers Network from 1999 to 2006, acting in the position of Artistic Director in 2002, and chairing the company in its final year.
Donna studied at UTS, UNSW, the NIDA Playwrights’ Studio, and the City Art Institute. She is a doctoral student at the University of Wollongong, and teaches scriptwriting at Wesley Institute.
Photograph: Brett Boardman