RISING And University of Melbourne Arts And Culture To Present Melbourne Debut COUNTING AND CRACKING

Running for a special extended season running from 31 May 23 June.

By: Feb. 21, 2024
RISING And University of Melbourne Arts And Culture To Present Melbourne Debut COUNTING AND CRACKING
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RISING, the premier festival of new art, music, and performance in the heart of Melbourne today unveils a centrepiece of its 2024 program: S.Shakthidharan's acclaimed Sri Lankan-Australian saga Counting and Cracking, co-presented with University of Melbourne Arts and Culture at the new Union Theatre.

The breathtaking production, co-produced by Belvoir St Theatre and Kurinji, and directed by Belvoir's award-winning Artistic Director Eamon Flack, will make its much-anticipated Victorian premiere at the Union Theatre, part of UMAC's new, award-winning cultural precinct at the University of Melbourne's main campus on the northern edge of the CBD, for RISING with a special extended season running from 31 May 23 June.

“Counting and Cracking is an extraordinary theatrical journey that weaves together the rich tapestry of Sri Lanka's history and the universal complexities of family love. A runaway hit wherever it plays, it's one of the most relevant and remarkable theatre productions about the universal immigration experience that continues to shape this nation.” said RISING co-artistic director Gideon Obarzanek, “RISING at its core is a festival that proudly showcases powerful and relevant stories of who we are now, which is why we are thrilled to be partnering up with the University of Melbourne and Belvoir Street Theatre to premiere this production in Melbourne-a home to one of the largest Sri Lankan diaspora communities in the world, and the largest in Australia. "

“The stories we choose to believe in underline all our actions, thoughts and feelings. In Counting and Cracking I hope to provide audiences with a new story to believe in: about Australia, about Sri Lanka. It's a story in which migrants are not asked to discard parts of themselves to fit in, but instead are asked to present their full selves, to expand our idea of what this country can be.”Counting and Cracking Writer and Associate Director S.Shakthidhidharan says, “It's a story of how the politics of division can win the battle, but never the war, around how power is gained in this world. It's a story in which love may not triumph over adversity, but through sheer persistence and resilience can eventually overcome it. And finally it's a story about reconciliation: between parents and children, between your new home and your old home, between society and its institutions.”

Winner of the Victorian Premier's Prize for Literature, the NSW Premier's Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting, Helpmann Awards for Best Production and Best Direction and 10 other major arts awards, this vibrant three-act epic begins on the banks of Sydney's Georges River. Radha and her son Siddartha are scattering Radha's mother's ashes—their final, physical link to Sri Lanka's turbulent history. Then an unexpected call from Colombo brings the past rushing back.

Following four generations over five decades from Sri Lanka to Sydney, Counting and Cracking tests the complex strength of family love.

A cast of nineteen from six countries play 50 different characters, performing in wisecracking Tamil and Sinhalese intertwined with English. Carnatic music, playful stagecraft, and S. Shakthidharan's celebrated script, all work to keep this epic narrative flowing across eras and oceans

After the stunning success of its premiere season and international tour, including standout runs at the Edinburgh International Festival and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games,Counting and Cracking heads to Melbourne laden with accolades and five-star reviews. It was recently hailed by The Guardian UK as “an absorbing journey from separation to reconciliation, always alive to the pulse of history.” The production promises an unmissable opportunity for Melbourne audiences to witness a theatrical marvel that transcends borders and resonates with universal themes, before it once again embarks overseas for a season in New York.

Offering a truly multi-sensory cultural experience, RISING will also partner with local community eateries to offer traditional Tamil snacks to audiences each night of the season.

This landmark production marks a significant co presenting partnership with University of Melbourne and RISING.

University of Melbourne Performing Arts Director Virginia Lovett said: “Counting and Cracking is exactly the sort of show we want to present at UMAC–important, transformative and community-driven with brilliant storytelling. This is just one of many projects we look forward to welcoming audiences to at the wonderful arts and culture precinct at the University.

“Co-presenting with RISING reinforces the University's place as a leader and contributor to Victoria's creative industries and Melbourne's global reputation."

Tickets and More Information

RISING runs from 1—16 June. The full RISING program will be announced in March. Head to rising.melbourne for more details.