CAMP is one of the theatrical highlights of Sydney Mardi Gras 2023 and Sydney WorldPride – the first truly global LGBTQIA+ pride in the Southern Hemisphere, which officially starts with Fair Day on Sunday 19 February.
Written by rising-star Australian playwright Elias Jamieson Brown (Green Park) and directed by Kate Gaul (The Trouble with Harry, The Moors, H.M.S Pinafore), CAMP captures the excitement and spirit of revolution present at the birth of Australia’s gay rights movement.
Their fierce and often painful struggle for recognition and even some semblance of basic human rights (equality was but a distant dream back then) paved the way for the almost unfettered freedoms we enjoy today, culminating in the current joyful celebrations.
Against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, Australia is on the cusp of political change. The body of a murdered lecturer floats in the River Torrens, a young woman escapes a lobotomy to ‘cure’ her sexuality, and a single mum struggles to find her place in a society that brands her as ‘abnormal’. Moving, joyful, and powerfully told, CAMP chronicles the struggles, successes, and legacy of early Pride activists who risked family, careers and imprisonment to achieve social reform in Australia.
Importantly, it also dramatises the untold history of women inside Australia’s Pride movement.
Under Kate Gaul’s masterful direction, the actors give powerful performances which convincingly follow their personal journeys through shame and oppression to the realisation that they do not have to accept such injustice. From a tiny crew of disparate personalities, a movement was born that galvanised change in the unlikeliest of circumstances.
“It is a privilege and a huge responsibility to produce and direct a new play. The challenge with CAMP is to be respectful and truthful around the events that inspired the play and have the courage to interpret the work through a truly theatrical prism. I know audiences will be moved and challenged. We celebrate an untold history which reminds us that no struggle is ever over,” says Gaul.
Judging from the rapturous audience applause at the closing of the touching final scene, she and the cast have achieved their mission.
Stars Adriano Cappelletta (Ensemble Theatre’s Death of a Salesman), Anni Finsterer (Bell Shakespeare’s Othello), Genevieve Mooy (Adelaide State Theatre Company’s The Appleton Ladies Potato Race), Jane Phegan (Ensemble Theatre’s Good People), Lou McInnes (Sport for Jove’s The Crucible Symposium), Sandie Eldridge (Sport for Jove’s All’s Well That Ends Well) and Tamara Natt (Queerstories) give passionate, funny and sometimes heartbreaking performances that remind us of what the human spirit can achieve if we only dare to believe.
In this tale of corruption, love, and liberation, past and present collide in a theatrical phantasmagoria that is joyfully, unashamedly CAMP!
- Where: Seymour Centre, Corner City Rd and Cleveland St, Chippendale
- When: 15th February – 4th March 2023
- Ticket prices: Full $49 | Concession $39 | Mardi Gras Member $39 | Under 35, Group 8+ $39 | Preview $36
- Book here or call the box office on (02) 9061 5344.
- Times: Wednesday – Friday 7:30pm, Sunday 19th Feb 6pm, Saturday 25th Feb 1:30pm, Saturday 4th March 1:30pm and 7:30pm.