Whilst a diverse group of companies and performers bring a range of shows to fortyfivedownstairs, we also produce and present our own shows.
In 2008 fortyfivedownstairs began operating as a co-presenter for a number of productions, including two seasons of Finucane and Smith‘s The Burlesque Hour; Ariette Taylor’s The Lower Depths (2008); and And When He Falls (2009) presented by John Stanton and acclaimed pianist/composer Dr. Tony Gould. In 2009 and 2010 a season of experimental and short individual performances were supported in Searchlight – a program modeled after the New York Under the Radar festival. fortyfivedownstairs has also yearly series of rehearsed readings of plays which were recipients of the R.E. Ross Trust Playwrights’ Script Development, several of which have since gone on to full production.
In 2010 fortyfivedownstairs produced Patricia Cornelius’ play Do not go gentle…, directed by Julian Meyrick.
Do not go gentle… received the 2006 R.E. Ross Trust Playwrights’ Script Development Award and 2006 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award. One of the judges of the Patrick White award described the work as … a play brilliant in conception and execution… presenting …a potent blend of ambition and originality, sorrow and optimism, exhilaration and dismay.
Since the production at fortyfivedownstairs Cornelius has gone on to win multiple awards for Do not go gentle… including the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Prize, and The 2011 Major AWGIE and the AWGIE Award for Stage.
Read more about the 2010 production of Do not go gentle… here.
2011 was the first year that fortyfivedownstairs produced two plays: Café Scheherezade by Thérèse Radic, based on the much loved novel by Arnold Zable and directed by Green Room Award winner Bagryana Popov and Whiteley’s Incredible Blue by Barry Dickins, directed by Julian Meyrick.
The triumphant initial season of Cafe Scheherazade in March/April 2011 was a sell-out; over 3000 people attended the play – a remarkable number for our small venue. This season met with such a positive response from audiences and critics alike that we produced an equally successful return season in August 2011.
Read more about Cafe Scheherazade here.
Whiteley’s Incredible Blue is ran at fortyfivedownstairs from Thursday 13 to Sunday 23 October 2011 as part of the Melbourne Festival. Barry Dickins’ award winning play gives us a poetic, but unvarnished picture of the artist, Brett Whiteley. A lyrical text for actor Neil Pigot is directed by Julian Meyrick with associate director Meredith Rogers. The Calvert George Fine trio accompany with a live Jazz fusion performance.
Read about Whiteley’s Incredible Blue here.
In 2012 fortyfivedownstairs produced our first in-house produced international production, Michael James Manaia, written by John Broughton and brought to us by New Zealand’s premiere Maori theatre company, Taki Rua.
Read about Michael James Manaia here.
In August 2013 we had Savages, by Patricia Cornelius and directed by Susie Dee. Savages was a cautionary tale about a group of men who don’t really know themselves or what they can become.
Described by critics as one of the most acute observers of the contemporary social condition – Patricia Cornelius confronts the realities and nuances of contemporary social behaviour with engaging characters and poetic text.
Read more about Savages here.
This November fortyfivedownstairs is proud to announce the Australian premiere production of Dreamers, written by Daniel Keeneand directed by Ariette Taylor.
We are thrilled to bring together this extraordinary creative team for the first time in over a decade. They previously collaborated in the highly successful and ground breaking Keene Taylor Theatre Project which ran from 1997 until 2002. Together they presented seventeen seasons of works, a total of 47 productions, including full length and short plays.
Dreamers will build upon this extraordinary collaboration, whilst producing a play with searing contemporary relevance.
Read more about Dreamers here.
In 2015 fortyfivedownstairs in association with the Melbourne Festival present a magical dream of Venice in Melbourne with the combination of music and art inspired by Claudio Monteverdi, master of music at St. Mark’s Basilica from 1613. Multi award winning artist Angela Cavalieri returns from a residency at Venice’s La Scuola Internazionale di Grafica with new works based on Monteverdi’s final opera, and monumental prints that take his Madrigals of War and Peace as their starting point. The exhibition is a culmination of Angela’s exploration of music as storytelling from the last four years including her Creative Fellowship at State Library Victoria. This spectacular installation is illuminated through sound by two sublime and beguiling live music programs: Variations and Cantations
Variations Press, Play invite you on an impassioned musical and visual journey as words, sounds, and images collide and coalesce. Led by critically-acclaimed pianist Sonya Lifschitz, contemporary ensemble Press, Play takes the sensuous splendor of Monteverdi’s madrigals as a departure point to create Variations – an inspired musical journey in time from the sumptuous beauty of High Renaissance, via the liturgical purity of Baroque, to the unpredictable whimsy of modernity.
Cantations features the historically accurate performance of leading Monteverdi scholar and harpsichordist John O’Donnell and the singers of Accademia Arcadia. The program features works from Monteverdi’s 7th and 8th book of Madrigals, as well as his contemporaries Giovanni Picchi and Girolamo Frescobaldi. All three died in 1643.