Griffin Festival of New Writing captures the lovely ugly of the Cross

Lovely Ugly - Griffin TheatreGriffin Theatre has created a site-specific experience to celebrate the many different faces of the Cross. Lovely Ugly, the 2012 Griffin Festival of New Writing presentation, plans to take audience members on a unique outing through Sydney’s notorious King’s Cross, one of the city’s most loved and reviled – all at the same time! – suburb.

Taking place for one night only on 13 June, Lovely Ugly is a fully immersive, multi-venue theatre experience created by the Griffin Studio artists in residence. The performance takes place across three icons of the Cross – the SBW Stables Theatre, the Altamont Hotel and the Kings Cross Hotel. Audiences will move between the venues to witness short performances, installations, and interactions.

Lovely Ugly is influenced by Joyce Germain, an American actress who had just received citizenship when she was found dead in the bathroom of her Darlinghurst apartment in 2006. When detectives found her, Germain was surrounded by a hard hat, a footspa, a toaster slung over the bath rail, drug paraphernalia and lipstick on the wall. The bizarre and macabre image of this crime scene has served as the starting point for Lovely Ugly.

It’s a little more David Lynch than it is Underbelly. Every audience member will have a different experience, and they may get yelled at for a bit – but Kings Cross is like that.

“There is a rich literary history in this area and the title references this ongoing paradox of the Cross: the contrast between the dysfunctional, impoverished and crime-ridden inner city suburb and its hip, affluent other side,” says Griffin Theatre Company Artistic Associate, Belinda Kelly.

“There is also a hunger at the moment for the immersive experience and unexpected, one-off events. With Lovely Ugly, we want to get audiences out of the traditional auditorium set up and change their ideas of what theatre can be.”

Griffin Theatre’s 2012 Studio  comprises writers Duncan Graham and Suzie Miller, director Tanya Goldberg, dramaturg Tahli Corin, four writers under a Playwriting Australia mentorship scheme – Vanessa Bates, Jessica Bellamy, Victoria Haralabidou and Jessica Redenbach – and two Affiliate Directors Dominic Mercer and Mackenzie Steele. Creative Events duo, Bams and Ted, are also working on the final scene and end location for the collective audience: a funeral service and wake.

Lovely Ugly begins at SBW Stables Theatre on Wednesday 13 June at the following times: 6.00pm, 6.20pm, 6.40pm, 7.00pm, 7.20pm and 7.40pm

For tickets and more information please visit

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and was the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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