World premiere 'This Rough Magic' refugee play based on 'The Tempest' - Dr Rebecca Clode and The Street Theatre


Producing for the ACT For immediate release 27 September 2023
This Rough Magic by Helen Machalias
A Christmas Island Tempest
This Rough Magic by Helen Machalias opens at The Street Theatre, Canberra's nationally recognised professional
theatre company and celebrated home of live performance, for a world premiere season from November 11 - 19,
2023. An exhilarating epic of power reckoning, survival and the cost of pursuing the promise of a better life, awardwinning
playwright Helen Machalias reimagines Shakespeare's The Tempest for our time.
A chaotic storm erupts. A disastrous shipwreck ensues. Refugees Prospero, Miranda and Ariel are washed ashore on
Christmas Island seeking asylum in Australia. But this side of the story is yet to be seen.
This Rough Magic merges elements of the plot, dialogue and characters of Shakespeare's The Tempest with media
reports of the Christmas Island detention centre, first-hand accounts of the asylum seeker experience within the
Australian system, and Persian storytelling to create an exciting new Australian work made in Canberra.
"This is a production to delight audiences who love Shakespeare, but also extends the boundaries of what people
might expect from a Shakespeare adaptation - in This Rough Magic, Iranian culture, Farsi language and Persian myth
and poetry are mixed with the Shakespearean text, and the magic held by the characters and the island setting
contrasts with the harsh realities of Australian politics on the mainland." Ms Machalias said.
Machalias's work with dramaturg Granaz Moussavi, an Academy Award nominee, went beyond the original mega
texts to find contemporary relevance and reflect the realities of refugees Moussavi met through her work in
detention centres, including Christmas Island.
Grown and developed from 2020 through the pandemic with an inclusive mix of directors, dramaturgs and actors,
This Rough Magic also will be published by Currency Press. Producing this work confirms The Street's ongoing
commitment to the development of ambitious new works for the stage and its position as the leading producer of
new work in the ACT. The Street's Artistic Director and CEO Caroline Stacey OAM states "this is a bold, thrilling big
ideas play that talks to who we are and the world around us in an exhilarating and fantastical fashion. Made by a
remarkable creative team we promise infinitely rich theatre of inquiry and imagination."
Acclaimed Director Beng Oh crafts an extraordinary fast-moving spectacle conjuring an island of strange sounds and
wondrous sights, enigmatic characters, and surprising relationships. An excellent acting ensemble featuring Reza
Momenzada, George Kanaan, Lainie Hart and Andre Le open up the spaces between myth and reality, life and death,
freedom and control.
With poetic writing pulsing with energy, This Rough Magic is a rich theatrical conversation with Shakespeare's The
Tempest, new in form, epic in scale and full of mysticism and longing. Not to be missed.
This Rough Magic at The Street Theatre 11 - 19 November 2023. Preview 10 November. Pre-show event with Parastoo Seif of dramatic oral
performances from The Book of Kings 18 - 19 November. See backgrounder with bios and season details.
Media Enquires including images and interviews: call Su Hodge on 0400 943 004 or email:

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The Street Theatre
15 Childers St
Australian Capital Territory

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