Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s path through COVID

Amylia Harris and Glenn Terry

As restrictions on public gatherings ease, Darlinghurst Theatre Company is thrilled to announce the appointment of Amylia Harris to the position of Co-Artistic Director. It is a key step in theatre’s plans to emerge from lockdown.

Amylia joined Darlinghurst Theatre Company in October 2015. Her career spans television and stage, most recently as the company’s Creative Producer. Working alongside CEO and Artistic Director, Glenn Terry, she has diversified the work of the company, with festivals, cabarets, playwriting programs and community partnerships.

Amylia was also responsible for overseeing the programming of the 2019 and 2020 seasons – the most successful to date – and producing the record-breaking and award-winning production of Once. Speaking at the time of her appointment, she said:

It is my absolute honour and privilege to take a seat at the small but formidable table of female Artistic Directors in this country. I’m excited to throw open the doors to bold, challenging and representational programming. To champion the stories and careers of women on and off the stage and challenge the status quo.

The appointment has been planned since the beginning of the year and Darlinghurst Theatre Company sees Amylia’s vision and leadership as crucial to paving a way through the COVID-19 crisis.

“I’m delighted Amylia has accepted the role of Co-Artistic Director,” Glenn Terry said. “She is a wonderful collaborator and leader, and will steward our company through this complex and challenging time with her signature vibrancy and deep care for artists.”

Amylia has her sights firmly set on a future of thriving live theatre.

It has never been more apparent to me that at the very heart of theatre is our need to gather and commune,” she says. “Theatre is a powerful marriage of shared place, time and story that cannot be fully experienced via screen. The power of technology to connect is brilliant, but as theatre makers some of us are feeling pressure to engage with a medium we did not choose. So, I say it’s okay to not feel ‘inspired’ to create or produce right now. Let’s instead give ourselves permission to plan. To dream. To rebuild the foundations and replenish our souls so we may burst forth into a post-pandemic world with a renewed sense of courage, sensitivity and fortitude.

Earlier this year, Amylia produced Amy Campbell’s new production of A Chorus Line, which was postponed on the date of its premiere. Receiving nightly standing ovations at the conclusion of every preview, A Chorus Line broke all previous advance-sale records at Darlinghurst Theatre Company. A remount of this landmark musical is planned as soon as physical distancing restrictions are lifted and public health advice permits. In the meantime, work is underway to lay down a path to recovery.

While our beloved 2020 season is still postponed, know that we are listening, watching and making plans for a vibrant future. We are currently analysing our role in the social and theatre ecology and looking at how we can serve both as we gradually return to normal.

A first step in this direction will be Darlo Tea Time from 3pm – 5pm on 21 May. Following the lifting of NSW Government restrictions last week, this will be an opportunity for ten artists or workers in the Arts community to gather in the theatre’s Two Trout restaurant. Amylia will personally host the event and invites anyone interested to “come, connect, commune and consume.” Tickets for this event are free and available at: https://bit.ly/2Tf9JVD

Another intitiative is the presentation of cabaret-style performances in accordance with the government’s guidelines for public gatherings. With an announcement due in the coming weeks, Amylia says, “We’re currently working on a post-COVID reactivation of our foyer and restaurant space, restoring safe opportunities for connection and artistry. Stay tuned for details on our upcoming cabaret series as we program soulful winter evenings of food, story and song.”

The theatre may still be dark and a date for the re-opening of A Chorus Line is yet to be confirmed, however, Darlinghurst Theatre Company is very much alive. Its reshaped leadership team is already building on its legacy and doing what it does best.  Chair of the DTC Board, Vicki Middleton said, “We knew Amylia was a powerhouse, a deep thinker, a champion of artists and their visions from the offset. She has made an indelible impact on our work, our artists and our company. The board are thrilled to see Amylia step up as co-Artistic Director alongside our founder and leader of 27 years Glenn Terry.”

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator, and is the current Deputy Editor-in-Chief of AussieTheatre.com. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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