J Ward hosts new theatre

Ararat will host a double feature of hard-hitting, new Australian theatre productions – in the first time either have been are being shown outside of capital cities.

On Saturday night, Ararat Performing Arts Centre will bring ‘A Prudent Man’ and ‘Swansong’, fresh from major Fringe Festivals throughout Australia, to a unique setting, J Ward – where the Ararat Lunatic Asylum’s once housed most depraved and most dangerous men in Victoria.

The centre programming coordinator Dianne Toulson said holding the two one-man shows in J Ward would heighten their impact.

“What an amazing space to do a ground-breaking show,” Ms Toulson said.

“These two shows cleaned up at the national Fringe Festivals and they’re the next big thing in Australian theatre.”

She is thrilled to being such “an amazing culture experience” to Ararat, instead of residents having to travel to Melbourne. She added the shows were being pitched for a national tour in 2019.

“Hopefully Ararat can be seen as a place to show independent theatre and that supports Victorian talent.”

Lyall Brooks in ‘A Prudent Man’, a political thriller that is part of a double feature to be held next Saturday at J Ward.

Lyall Brooks in ‘A Prudent Man’, a political thriller that is part of a double feature to be held next Saturday at J Ward.

Ms Toulson has previously worked with the actors Lyall Brooks and Andre De Vanny and was impressed by their powerful performances.

‘A Prudent Man’, written and directed by Victorian playwright Katy Warner, is a darkly comedic political thriller.

Ms Toulson said exploring what makes politicians, particularly right-wing leaders, tick, was relevant with the rise of Donald trump as President of the United States and other examples of nationalism worldwide.

Swansong, written by Conor Macdermottroe and directed by Greg Carroll, is a haunting picture of existence at the margin. It is powerful and will challenge audiences, Ms Toulson said.

“These shows will make you laugh, make you think, and make you cry.”

She said they had broad appeal and encouraged theatre-enthusiasts, drama students and others to take advantage of the unique event in Ararat. 

“It’s accessible, affordable, first-class theatre you’d be lucky to see in Melbourne and the shows are getting rave reviews.”

  • A Prudent Man will be held at J Ward on Saturday April 29 at 7.30pm.
  • Swansong will be held at J Ward on Saturday April 29 at 10pm.
  • Tickets can be purchased for indivial shows at $35 for adults and $30 for concession holders or tickets can be purchased for both at $50 for adults and $45 for concession holders. Tickets can be booked online through www.araratpac.com.au, by phone 5352 2181 from 11am to 3pm Tuesday to Friday.