Saturday, January 16th, 2010 - Old Mill Theatre
THE Old Mill Theatre is launching its 2010 season at the start of February with the highly-acclaimed – yet chilling and confronting – play The Boys.

Best known for the 1998 movie adaptation starring David Wenham and Toni Collette, it scored WA playwright Gordon Graham an Australian Writers' Guild award in 1992.

The Boys follows the story of Brett’s return home from prison when, together with his brothers, they go on a drunken, resentment-filled rampage fuelled by the women in their lives.

Amid considerable controversy, Graham said the characters came from his own upbringing in Perth – but the initial inspiration was from the shocking Anita Cobby case, near Blacktown, NSW, in February 1986. [*February 2 - three days before this play opens - marks 24 years since those events]

Director Dannielle Ashton said she chose to direct The Boys because it was an extremely powerful piece of theatre that would challenge audiences.

“Audience members will witness vile and meaningless behaviour from the male characters in the play, who are unnervingly still so identifiable in Australian society,” she said.

“In contrast, the female characters dominate the play with their loyal willingness to continually compromise their lives for the boys.

“The mother and girlfriends of these boys are extremely prominent and crucial in the delivery of the narrative by showing flashes of vulnerability as women and allowing the boys to treat them the way they do.

“The fact the plot is loosely based on a horrific true story creates even more power for the audience and there is a large amount of depth to play with in the seven characters.

“It’s a strong ensemble piece and the actors are required to carry a difficult physical and emotional piece of theatre, with the right amount of strength, aggression, empathy, intelligence and humility.”

Ashton admits the content of the play will be confronting for audiences and is conscious of the actors falling into stereotypes.

“This play relies heavily on reality, so it is important to keep the characters genuine,” she said.

“The actors have to be completely truthful in their portrayals so the audience can go on the same emotional journey of hate, anguish, fear, love and resentment.”

Ashton has been involved in theatre for more than 20 years, most recently staging Trainspotting – scoring her a best director award at the 2009 DramaFest – and an acclaimed production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Previously, she won the 2008 DramaFest Best Overall Production Award for The Return and best production and best director awards for co-directing A One Night Stand-Off with Martin Lindsay at the 2008 South West Drama Festival.

The Boys plays at 8pm, February 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19 and 20 with a 2pm matinee on February 7. Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on (08) 9367 8719.

The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on Mends Street, South Perth, opposite the Windsor Hotel.


the boys1.jpeg: Krysia Wiechecki, Leah Maher, Valerie Riches and Julia Hern are appearing in The Boys this February.

the boys-david bruce & krysia: David Bruce and Krysia Wiechecki are taking to the stage in The Boys at the Old Mill Theatre.

the boys-david gregory.jpeg: Appearing in The Boys are David Bruce, David Gregory, and Murray Jackson.

the boys-murray & julia .jpeg: Murray Jackson and Julia Hern… performing in The Boys at South Perth’s Old Mill Theatre this February.

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Old Mill Theatre

South Perth's Old Mill Theatre is fortunate to be operating out of one of the most historic buildings in South Perth. It was opened in 1899 as a Mechanics Institute Hall. The South Perth Council purchased the building in 1913 and renamed it the Mends Street Hall. The Council still owns the building, and supports our use of it.

The building first became a home of theatre in 1948, when the South Perth Dramatic Society moved in. The name Old Mill Theatre was first used in 1958, and the company was incorporated in 1959. We are therefore celebrating our official 60th birthday party this year.

A number of significant changes to the building have occurred over the past few years, with major extensions completed in 2002. An understage tunnel, which links our two backstage dressing rooms, and enables easier access from one side of the stage to the other, was completed in 2008. Bathroom facilities have also been installed backstage as part of this project, which is wholly self-funded.

The Old Mill Theatre is fortunate to have strong support from our local council, the City of South Perth. The City undertook major renovations to the exterior of the building in 2008, and the theatre is looking better now than ever before.
Dannielle Ashton
P: 0400 438 695


WA theatre staging highly acclaimed play based on true Anita Cobby story


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