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542 King Street Newtown 2042
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MEDIA RELEASE: Monday 14 January 2008

If it's February, it must be Mardi Gras at new theatre

new theatre 2008 Mardis Gras Production of Corpus Christi

It's a mini festival in one place! There?s the mainstage production: a big cast, big ideas play that just might cause a big stink! This is backed up by the staged reading or of a sharp, hilarious, deeply weird satire that also has religion at its core. The Lemon Delicious girls are returning once more to sing up a storm. And there?s a special late-night surprise with full details to be announced in a couple of weeks.


Corpus Christi
by Terrence McNally

What if Jesus Christ hailed from Corpus Christi, Texas . . .and what if he was gay?

Arguably one of the most controversial plays of the last ten years, Corpus Christi by American playwright Terrence McNally (Love, Valour, Compassion) has outraged Christian groups with its modern take on the story of Jesus' birth, ministry and death and his relationship with Judas and the other disciples.  It caused an uproar when first produced in the US nine years ago and the Religious Right picketed the Melbourne production.

Yet the moralists miss the point: this is not a play that mocks Jesus; it is a play that speaks out against inhumanity by providing a witty, contemporary interpretation of Jesus' life.

Director Leigh Rowney was tempted by the play for a number of reasons, even though it wasn't quite the vanguard of anti religious-right-homophobia that he hoped it might be. "As a Progressive Christian man, it appealed to me to explore a play which allows the possibility of gay people participating in the Christian faith. While my view of Christ on earth is of a man tempted by all possibilities and embracing (metaphorically and actually) people who identify as gay, straight, transgender, bisexual, kaluhtumpian or, like me, from Scone, I am comfortable with McNally's premise that this 20th century second coming is gay or bisexual."

The play is very funny, very cheeky, but with moments of profound yearning and tenderness. Into the mix is thrown a dramatised crucifixion, preceded by a scourging that might be a gay-hate male pack rape. Not to mention the presence of sequinned jock straps! All strong stuff, which this production is presenting with a Brechtian stripped-back simplicity.

Rowney believes the play's broad canvas will appeal to all ages. "My mostly young cast love it, but our senior gay community also will make an immediate connection with some elements: Jimmy Dean as the original male gay icon; the first HIV/Aids epidemic causing even the deeply faithful to wonder where God had gone; the tension between the public and private expression of the gay self."

Corpus Christi is a play that speaks to our desire in western culture to revisit spirituality (not merely organised religion) after decades of material preoccupation, cult-of-the-individual, greed-is-good global thinking. This play, with its funky ensemble of men and women, makes positive statements about community, acceptance, self-respect, dignity, grace, choice ... and most important of all, love.

new theatre is proud to be producing the Sydney premiere of this daring, at times irreverent, and lyrically very beautiful play as part of the 2008 Mardi Gras Festival.

Corpus Christi
by Terrence McNally
7 - 29 February 2008
Thursday - Saturday @ 8pm, Sunday @ 5pm
Tickets: $27 full / $22 concession / $20 (groups 10+) / $10 Preview Wed 6 January
Bookings: 1300 306 776 /

Directed by Leigh Rowney
Set Design: Dan Alleck Lighting Design: Andrew Weston
Costume Co-ordinator: Adriana Picker

Featuring: Jasmin Certoma, Harley Connor, Jonny Hendricks, Amelia Kerr, Lara Lightfoot, David McLaughlin, Hugh Monroe, Joshua North, Elisha Oliver, Amanda Porter, Matt Rossner, Garth Saville, Ben Simpson


Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You
by Christopher Durang
Directed by Annie Bilton (former Literary Manager, Griffin Theatre Company)

This ferociously funny attack on religious fanaticism may have some people squirming in their seats as Sister Mary preaches her own brand of fire and brimstone. As a part of our Censored season this will be followed by a forum on homosexuality and religion, hosted by Stephen Dunne.

Sunday 17 February 2007 @ 1pm
Tickets: $15
Bookings: 9519 3403


Lemon Delicious
Devised by Louise Fischer and cast

Back by popular demand, the tart and tasty gals are teaming up again for Mardi Gras to bring you a night of riotous song and dance. Lip, sip and suck your way through a lemonicious cabaret experience. Lemon Delicious is a twisted, sexy and sassy show and the girls know how to turn up the heat and quicken the pulse.

Saturday 23 February 2007 @ 5pm
Sunday 24 February 2007 @ 9pm

Tickets: $20
Bookings: 1300 306 776 /

For all media enquiries, including interview request and images, please contact: / 9519 3403 (Luke/Alice)

Happy Mardi Gras!

new theatre media-release-2008-01-20.shtml Last update 27 January 2008.
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