Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Sydney Theatre Company Presents CHALKFACE Next Month

Chalkface is at Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House from 15 September to 29 October.

Sydney Theatre Company Presents CHALKFACE Next Month

Australia's primary education system will be put under the microscope, and teachers working "at the chalkface" saluted in Angela Betzien's satirical staffroom comedy Chalkface, playing Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House from 15 September.

Commissioned by Sydney Theatre Company (STC) and co-produced with State Theatre Company South Australia (STCSA), Chalkface premiered at Adelaide's Dunstan Playhouse last week and was praised by critics and teachers alike as "eminently and hilariously successful" (Arts Hub) and "a darkly humorous class worth taking" (Limelight).

The play was in-part inspired by Betzien's upbringing as the daughter of two teachers, as well as her own challenging experience with homeschooling throughout the pandemic.

Set entirely in the staffroom of a fictional public school over the course of a school year, the play examines issues facing the Australian education system and takes an irreverent jab at privatisation, bureaucracy and workplace culture.

Chalkface is directed by STC Resident Director Jessica Arthur (Wonnangatta, Grand Horizons), and stars acclaimed actor Catherine McClements (Water Rats, Wentworth), Stephanie Somerville (who understudied for STC productions Julius Caesar and Blithe Spirit), Susan Prior (Aftertaste) and in their STC debuts: Michelle Ny, Nathan O'Keefe and Ezra Juanta.

Arthur, who has assembled an excellent creative team including composer and sound designer Jessica Dunn, set and costume designer Ailsa Paterson, lighting designer Mark Shelton and assistant director Clement Rukundo, says Chalkface is a tribute to all teachers.

"This is a play about school and teaching; most people attended school or perhaps had some sort of inspirational figure in their life - whether that be a teacher or some other role model. Watching this play, you can't help but reflect on the teachers that shaped you, or interesting experiences you shared with classmates," she said.

"I also think it's very relevant coming out of lockdown because, having now been through the experience of homeschooling, collectively people are appreciating just how essential teachers and education are. I think it's very easy for us to become complacent with that, but Chalkface is almost like a love letter to teachers and the people that shape us."

Playwright Angela Betzien (The Hanging, ABC's Total Control) says Chalkface is her first foray into comedy - "writing through a pandemic, I couldn't bear the idea of creating something bleak".

"Life was bleak, and like so many others I was struggling to work and homeschool. In Chalkface, I've written a comedy about a familiar world - an education system that's past its expiry date, a system that needs a revolution," Betzien said.

"I hope that Chalkface will be cathartic for teachers, a comic feast they can enjoy with their colleagues and a chance to see their vital work reflected on the stage. This play is a whacky love letter to all those teachers who've changed us, who've made a difference, who've set us on our life's course. It's about the need to teach and encourage our kids to resist and question. In an uncertain future those qualities will be more important than ever."

Chalkface is at Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House from 15 September to 29 October, tickets available here.




More Hot Stories For You


Willoughby Symphony Orchestra to Present Highlights From Disney's FANTASIA This MonthWilloughby Symphony Orchestra to Present Highlights From Disney's FANTASIA This Month
October 2, 2022

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA will present highlights from two of Disney’s most extraordinary and groundbreaking animated features, Fantasia, and its sequel Fantasia 2000 in concert live to film. There will be two concerts only on Saturday 22 October at the Concert Hall, The Concourse, Chatswood.

Actors Benevolent Fund of NSW Announces the Return of ACTober 2022Actors Benevolent Fund of NSW Announces the Return of ACTober 2022
October 2, 2022

Actors Benevolent Fund of NSW has announced its participation in ACTober, an annual month-long campaign to support members of the performing arts community, including performers, creative, crew and arts workers. ACTober runs throughout Australia and New Zealand during the month of October, with the purpose of shining a spotlight on the industry and the talented people within it.

New Play Celebrates DH Lawrence Centenary at Chippen Street TheatreNew Play Celebrates DH Lawrence Centenary at Chippen Street Theatre
September 29, 2022

It's an oft-forgotten historical fact that D.H. Lawrence came to Australia in 1922. Now, on the 100th anniversary of the visit of that eminent English novelist, comes a new play which explores and celebrates the events, characters & ideas related to that visit.

Walsh Bay Arts Precinct Announces Full Program for public Open DayWalsh Bay Arts Precinct Announces Full Program for public Open Day
September 29, 2022

Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, Australia’s newest cultural precinct, has announced the full public program of over 40 free events for its first precinct-wide Open Day, presented across Pier 2/3 and Wharf 4/5 on Saturday 8 October from 10am - 4pm.

Australian String Quartet Tour De Force a Culmination of Year-Long Journey
September 29, 2022

The Australian String Quartet (ASQ) will grace concert stages around the country in October and November with Symonds Beethoven, a program that is the culmination of a year-long journey with two monumental works.