Launch of Griffin Redux

I was delighted that Declan Greene, the current Artistic Director of the Griffin Theatre Company, was able to launch my new book Griffin Redux: The Ros Horin Years—Griffin Theatre Company 1989-2003 at the SBW Stables Theatre on Sunday 22 May 2022. This is the second volume (of three) of my chronicle of the Company’s work over its 40 year existence. 

Former Chair Chris Puplick—who both encouraged the writing and guaranteed the printing of Griffin Redux (also suggesting its title)—MC’d the proceedings.  Declan spoke of the responsibility he felt to be part of Griffin’s history and to continue the legacy of its ‘all Australia policy’ and the residency in The SBW Stables Theatre (the great gift bestowed on Griffin by Dr Rodney Seaborn and the Seaborn, Broughton and Walford Foundation in 1986). I spoke a little about he first book in the series, Griffin Rising: The First Decade of the Griffin Theatre Company 1979-1988, that was launched by the Company’s founder Jenny Laing-Peach in 2019. Shortlisted for the. NSW Premier’s History Award 2020, the judges comments summarise my approach to recording the history.

The Griffin Theatre Company, established in Darlinghurst in 1979, has performed a vital function in Sydney’s artistic scene for four decades through its unique commitment to producing exclusively Australian plays. As John Senczuk’s insider account amply demonstrates, the Company and its iconic Stables Theatre have nurtured and sustained a plethora of emerging artists and enriched Australian cultural life. 

Griffin Rising is a history of the Company’s first decade, a period of financial instability, but creative prosperity. Senczuk’s detailed account of the people, productions and politics of the Company is complemented by a wealth of illustrations that bring to life the vibrant spirit of a theatrical community. This is history firmly anchored in its time and place and accordingly draws the reader into the turbulent world of 80s theatre and inner-city Sydney. 

I used the same inclusive approach in the second book. I was very pleased to introduce Ros Horin who spoke of the challenges she faced also but the great pleasure she took in realising the work of so many playwrights during her tenure. She remarked that he job was only possible due to the hands-on approach of a proficient, diligent and supportive Board and especially her Chairs Chris Puplick and Ian Phipps.

‘Such a wonderful launch and so special to catch up with old friends,’ Mary-Ann Vale, down from Brisbane, remarked. Griffin Redux is dedicated to Mary-Ann for her remarkable contribution.   I was particularly grateful  to see my friend Timothy Daly (who delayed a trip to Canberra to be with us); Timothy generously penned the Foreword. Also amongst the large ‘roll call of luminaries’ attending were writer and director of The Boys Gordon Graham and Alex Galleazzi, with Pamala Barakat; playwright, director and former Chair Michael Gow; designers Robert Kemp, Judith Hoddinott, Sue Field and Ed Wilkinson; actors Annie Byron (who must hold the record for most appearances with Griffin!), Michael Beckley, Peter and Susie Cousens; May Brit Akerholt; administrators Lisa Hamilton and Rosemary Cameron (up from Melbourne) and Lisa Hamilton; Board members (past and present) Ian Phipps, Ezekiel Solomon, Marijke Conrade, Simone Whetton and Bruce Meagher (current Chair); and Peter and Carolyn Lowry, representing the S,B&W Foundation. I’d like to express my particular gratitude to Griffin ED/CEO Julieanne Campbell for her gracious hosting of the event.

‘It was so great to see wonderful friends and colleagues at the Launch. Thank you again John for your book.’—Ros Horin

Griffin Remix: The 40th Anniversary Milestone—Griffin Theatre Company 2004-2019 will be launched in February 2023.