Blancmange Productions and Actors Anonymous present two immersive shows based on the notorious crimes of Leonard Lawson and Louisa Collins.
Audiences are invited to explore the three levels of a historic 1850s sandstone building as scenes depicting the back stories of some of Australia’s most infamous crimes are played out.
Robert Armstrong’s Portrait of the Artist as a Murderer (April 24-28, May 8-12) focuses on the life and horrendous crimes of Leonard “Lennie” Lawson, who, aged 26, took five photographic models into ills bushland north Sydney and, at gunpoint, raped two of the women and and sexually assaulted the others.
After his release from prison, Lawson sexually assaulted and murdered a 16-year-old girl in his flat at Collaroy in 1962. The next day, he burst into the chapel of the Sydney Church of England Girls’ Grammar School at Moss Vale, taking schoolgirls hostage. In the siege, a struggle ensued and his gun discharged, killing a pupil.
Lawson was sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in Grafton jail in 2003.
In A Poison Crown (May 1-5, 15-19), playwright Gina Schien brings to life the characters who fought for and against convicted murderer Louisa Collins’ appointment with the gallows. Tried four times and eventually convicted, Louisa was the last woman hanged in New South Wales after it was discovered that both her husbands had died from arsenic poisoning.