THE HEN HOUSE

WORLD PREMIER 

RIVERSIDE PARRAMATTA

7 - 9 SEPT 2023
 

Created by 

Josipa Draisma, Mara Knezevic &

Sime Knezevic

 

Directed by Anthea Williams

Musical Director Zeljko Papic

Designer Isabel Hudson

 

Produced by

In Wild Company & PYT Fairfield

Josipa Draisma & Mara Knezevic Photo by Anna Kucera

Josipa Draisma & Mara Knezevic Photo by Anna Kucera

Josipa Draisma & Mara Knezevic Photo by Anna Kucera

The Hen House, PYT Fairfield Development, Photo by Anna Kucera

The Hen House, PYT Fairfield Development, Photo by Anna Kucera

ABOUT

 

“This job is cursed. I cut this chicken, and chicken cuts me back!”

It's 1976 and Pavica is a young mother loving her new Australian life. Recently migrated from her poor tiny village in Croatia, she now finds herself smiling proudly on the production line, elbows deep in chicken carcasses. Promoted to forelady, Pavica loves her job. Her dream has come true.

Mila, however, does NOT love her job. In fact, she despises it. The screaming chooks, screeching machines, not to mention the tenosynovitis that plagues the production line. For her, this factory is a hell house. Mila is hellbent on taking this chicken business, and ripping it to bits.

Pavica and Mila are best friends. They need each other to survive this strange feathery world of work. But it might also be the very thing that completely drives them apart.

The Hen House is created and performed by dynamic sister-duo Josipa Draisma (Founder/Creative Director, In Wild Company) and Mara Knezevic (Playlist, PYT Fairfield), with director Anthea Williams (Hir, Sydney Theatre Awards Best Director). It is a fierce and funny migrant story, supported by an electrifying all-female live rock band, featuring original music, storytelling, movement and design, exploring the dignity and comedy of the female working-class experience.

PRODUCTION 

World Premier at Riverside Parramatta Theatre

7 - 9 September 2023

CREATIVE TEAM

Co-Creators/ Performers: Josipa Draisma and Mara Knezevic
Director: Anthea Williams
Musical Director: Zeljko Papic
Co-Creator/ Dramaturg: Sime Knezevic

Producer: PYT Fairfield

Designer: Isabel Hudson

Choreographer: Emma Saunders

Producer: PYT Fairfield

Touring Manager: Arts On Tour

ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES
Josipa Draisma – Co-Creator/Performer
Josipa is an award-winning interdisciplinary performing artist and cultural leader working across theatre, music, cabaret, and comedy. Her original work has been programmed across national comedy and arts festivals in Australia including Sydney Comedy Festival, Melbourne Comedy Festival, Melbourne Cabaret Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival.

 

Mara Knežević – Co-Creator/Performer

Mara Knežević is a theatre-maker, performer, and singer-songwriter. She co-creates music under MARA DUKE and has released music on major platforms since 2015. She is an ongoing member of the female/non-binary collective All Girl Electronic based in Parramatta. Her credits include the Helpmann Award nominated dance-theatre work PLAYLIST (dir. Karen Therese, PYT Fairfield, 2017).

 

Anthea Williams – Director

Anthea Williams is an award-winning theatre and film director and a Churchill Fellow. Anthea develops both theatre and screenplays and has worked in development at Causeway Films, Screen Australia, Belvoir, and London’s Bush Theatre. Anthea was awarded Best Director of a Mainstage Production at the Sydney theatre Awards 2017 for Hir. This production won several other awards including Best Mainstage Production.

 

Zeljko Papic – Musical Director

Zeljko Papic is an experienced producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and mix engineer with over 25 years of studio and live performance experience. He has worked with a number of artists and music projects which have gone on to receive wide recognition both nationally and internationally. Zeljko is the owner and operator of The Song Boutique. His work with artists has gone on to achieve major label interest, commercial radio airplay and finalist positions in the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition and International Songwriting Competition.

 

Emma Saunders – Choreographer

Emma Saunders has been described as a “formidable” (Realtime, 2010) Australian dance artist who works as a dancer, choreographer, director, educator and curator. Emma is a co-founding member of the award-winning Sydney based trio, The Fondue Set who have created 10 full length works including Green Room Award-winning No Success Like Failure presented at the Sydney Opera House (2008) and Dance Massive, Arts House (2009). Emma’s work has been presented nationally at the Melbourne Arts Festival, Sydney Festival, UTP and Riverside Theatre.

 

Sime Knezevic – Co-Creator/Dramaturg

Sime is an Australian writer, poet, playwright and dramaturg. Since the mid-00s, Sime has presented or developed new theatre work at PACT Theatre, Belvoir, Bundanon, Performance Space, Parramatta Riverside, Brisbane Powerhouse, PICA, Shopfront Theatre, Sidetrack Theatre, Urban Theatre Projects, University of Wollongong, Crack Theatre Festival, Next Wave Festival, and Sydney Fringe Festival. Sime is a recipient of the Subbed In Chapbook Prize for his debut poetry collection The Hostage and has been shortlisted for the Philip Parsons Playwright Award.

 

Isabel Hudson – Designer

Isabel Hudson is an award-winning set and costume designer. Isabel won Sydney Theatre Awards for Best Set Design of an Independent Production in both 2019 and 2018 – for her set designs on the smash-hit, sold out musicals AMERICAN PSYCHO and CRY-BABY at Hayes Theatre Co. She also received Sydney Theatre Award nominations for Best Set Design of an Independent Production for the musical THE VIEW UPSTAIRS (Hayes Theatre Co.), and for DRY LAND (Outhouse Theatre Co.).

 

ABOUT PYT FAIRFIELD

PYT has a reputation as a brave and transformative company who make urgent work that explores the critical issues of our times. We challenge the conventions of traditional theatre by creating innovative performance and social artistic experiences in theatre spaces and across diverse urban sites of Fairfield, Western Sydney and beyond, and with a key focus on cultural diversity. PYT has presented work across Australia including at the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Festival, Arts House Melbourne, Adelaide Festival Centre and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.  

DEVELOPMENT HISTORY

2023 – PYT Fairfield, 3 weeks 

2021 – PYT Fairfield, 2 weeks 

2020 – PYT Fairfield, 2 weeks

                      

The Hen House, PYT Fairfield Development, Photo by Anna Kucera

The Hen House, PYT Fairfield Development, Photo by Anna Kucera

The Hen House, PYT Fairfield Development, Photo by Anna Kucera

the hen house is supported by


 

The Hen House, PYT Fairfield Development, Photo by Anna Kucera

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In Wild Company acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and pay our respect to Elders past, present and future. 

The Hen House, PYT Fairfield Development, Photo by Anna Kucera