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Byron Shire
August 1, 2021

Interview with Georgia Martin, Director of SHIT

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SHIT Kate Foster, Kate Horsley, Claire Atkins, by Lynden Foss


Drill Hall Theatre, Mullumbimby  |  10–25 May, Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm  |   $22/25

When someone is told repeatedly that they’re worthless, they come to believe it. That underpins the character dynamic in the new show at the Drill Hall – directed by Georgia Martin and starring local actors Kate Foster, Kate Horsley, and Claire Atkins. Bitterly funny, this is about women living on the fringes, so it only seems fitting that its also a major fundraiser for the SHIFT Project, which is focused on getting women in our region back into their lives. The show runs at the Drill Hall in Mullum from 10 till 25 May. Georgia spoke SHIT withThe Echo!

Why did you choose SHIT? What’s it about and why is it called SHIT?

The play was brought to me by the actors with a view to my directing it. I’d previously directed all of them before, in one play or another. I read it and was blown away. It’s beautifully written and constructed and boy, is it powerful. Patricia Cornelius, the multi-award-winning playwright, has just been invited to take the play to the Venice Biennale in July – the first Australian work to be staged there. I said, ‘Shit, stand back everyone, I want to direct this’.

It’s about class, misogyny, internalised oppression, shit parents, abusive relationships with men, brutal relationships with each other, the foster-care system. And above all what’s female and what’s feminine. We never see these characters through the male gaze, which is quite liberating for the actors. Sounds pretty grim, but it’s not all. You’ll get your quota of laughs.

The three women love no-one and no-one loves them. They think life’s shit, their world is shit, and they’re shit.

Are you worried that if it gets reviewed that you’re set up for someone to say it’s SHIT?! Or are you hoping for Good Shit?

Oh, it’s good shit, alright. I’m pretty sure that this SHIT can handle its own shit. But of course, it’s not going to be everyone’s cuppa tea. I don’t want it to be everyone’s cuppa tea; it’s too extreme, too in your face. Fantastic if people are shocked and appalled. There’s bound to be some people who’ll find it offensive, in particular by the language. It’s not ‘nice theatre’. But it’s exciting theatre.

How are you directing the piece and staging it?

Because there is such an underlying anger and grief my job has been to rein it in when necessary.

This play has such a raw energy that it doesn’t need any embellishment so the staging is minimalist. I’m focusing on the rawness of the women being allowed to carry it without any restrictions.

Tell me about the women in the show? What do they bring to the roles?

The actors are Kate Foster, Kate Horsley, and Claire Atkins. All three have rolled up their sleeves and jumped into the play and characters with absolute commitment and gusto, no holds barred. From the first rehearsal it seemed as if they’d been waiting to perform in this play all their lives. ‘Let me at it,’ they seemed to say.

You are raising money for SHIFT Project. Why did you align with them? 

We read about The Shift Project’s work in The Echo and saw a tie-in with their them and SHIT. Shift does fantastic work for local women who’re being supported through the challenges from homelessness to independence. As a community theatre it has been our practice to offer fundraising opportunities to local charities, ideally those with a connection to the themes of the play and this connection with SHIFT is ideal.

SHIT is on at The Drill Hall Theatre at 2 Jubilee Ave, Mullumbimby, over May 10–25 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and on Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $22/$25 and can be purchased at www.drillhalltheatre.org.au/shit and at The Bookshop in Mullumbimby.

Offensive language and adult themes – for mature audiences. General enquiries call 0420 986 570.

Tix at Mullumbimby Bookshop or drillhalltheatre.org.au

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