Sydney Theatre Company Presents AVALANCHE: A LOVE STORY
Directed by Anne-Louise Sarks, Avalanche, A Love Story, is co-produced by the Sydney Theatre Company, Barbican and Fertility Fest. It played at the Barbican Theatre in London in April and May this year with The Stage declaring Maxine Peake "captivating" while The Times describing her performance as "magnificent."
A prolific theatre, television and film actress Maxine Peake's career highlights include Black Mirror, Funny Cow, Red Riding, The Devil's Whore, The Theory of Everything, Peterloo, The Falling, Shameless and an extensive list of dramas for the BBC including The Village, Silk, Criminal Justice, Three Girls and most recently, The Bisexual. Constantly looking for new challenges and surprising audiences she has played a range of provocative and award-winning characters, most notably the title role in Hamlet at the Manchester Royal Exchange. As a writer, Peake has retold fascinating stories of women in British history who achieved greatness or faced adversity through her plays Beryl, The Last Testament of Lillian Bilocca and Queens of the Coal Age. Avalanche: A Love Story marks her acting debut with the Sydney Theatre Company.
When a woman rekindles an early love in her late 30's her whole life changes. Deeply in love, she and her new husband decide they want to have a child together and, like countless other couples, they make a visit to the IVF clinic, full of optimism. So begins a long and costly journey of medical procedures, nightly injections, rituals and the oscillation between high hope and the depths of despair.
Avalanche lays bare the stark truth of one woman's experience of the seductive promises made by the multi-billion-dollar IVF industry to those in the grip of a "snow blind" yearning and desire to make a baby. The devastating toll on her body, her relationships and her career as an author/filmmaker, are portrayed with compelling honesty and moments of black humour. At the heart of this dramatisation is an
exploration of who we are and how we love - the potent power of the desire for family and future. Inspired by Leigh's story, it is a courageous and ultimately wise account of a profoundly important and widespread experience.
Julia Leigh's debut novel, The Hunter, was published around the world and won numerous awards, including a Betty Trask Award and the 2001 Prix de l'Astrolabe. It was also selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her second novel, Disquiet, won the Encore Award. Her film Sleeping Beauty was officially selected for the Festival de Cannes in 2011. Her memoir, Avalanche, A Love Story, was published in 2016 to international acclaim.
Anne-Louise Sarks is one of Australia's most prolific directors. Her work has premiered in Sydney, Melbourne, London, Basel, Mexico City, New York, Auckland, Warsaw, Mannheim, Perth and Mumbai. In 2018 Sarks was Artistic Director of the Lyric Ensemble at the Lyric Hammersmith and from 2013 - 2016 she was Resident Director at Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney. In 2011 Anne-Louise was the Director in Residence at the Malthouse Theatre Company in Melbourne, and an Associate Artist for Belvoir. From 2010-2013 Anne-Louise was Artistic Director of the celebrated independent theatre company The Hayloft Project.
In 2018 Sarks directed a new production of her acclaimed Medea for Theater Basel, created a new devised work Abandon with the Lyric Ensemble, directed a new feminist adaptation of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People for Belvoir, and directed Sarah Kane's Blasted at the Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne. In 2017 Anne-Louise directed Seventeen for The Lyric Hammersmith, Jasper Jones for Belvoir, Minnie & Liraz for Melbourne Theatre Company, Merchant of Venice for Bell Shakespeare and Testament of Mary for Malthouse Theatre.
In 2015 Sarks directed a new modern day imagining of Medea, co-written with Kate Mulvany, at The Gate Theatre in London. Medea won five 2013 Sydney Theatre Awards including Best Direction, Best Mainstage Production and Best New Australian Work. It was also awarded an AWGIE for Best Stage Play and in 2013 was nominated for four Helpmann Awards including Best Direction, Best New Australian Work and Best Play.