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Playing Beatie Bow

Sydney Theatre Company reopens its Wharf Theatre with a new adaptation of one of Ruth Park’s most beloved Australian stories.

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Playing Beatie Bow

Date: 26 Jan 2021

From playwright Kate Mulvany and Artistic Director Kip Williams, the team behind the epic, multi-award-winning world of The Harp in the South: Part One and Part Two, comes a new adaptation of one of Ruth Park’s most beloved Australian stories.

Abigail (Catherine Văn-Davies), a teenager dealing with her parents’ messy separation, follows the mysterious young girl Beatie Bow (Sofia Nolan) back through time – from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s The Rocks in the present day to the year 1873, when the suburb was full of struggling immigrant families, gangsters and a whole host of larger-than-life characters. With the help of Beatie, her wise grandmother, and the whole Bow family, Abigail goes on a wild adventure through twisting alleyways of history in a race to find her way home.

Mulvany says the story of Beatie and Abigail is a beautiful coming of age tale that reflects the difficulties and triumphs of womanhood and the power of female friendship.

“What I love about Beatie and Abigail as characters is that they encourage each other along the path of womanhood and the many varied aspects of being a girl or a woman or a femme,” Mulvany says.

“I love that when we go back to 1873, we find a young girl, Beatie, who is about as unknowingly feminist as you can get in a tiny, fever-struck 11-year-old body. But at the same time, we can move forward into 2021 and find Abigail who is really unsure where she fits in the world as a young woman, and is frustrated by the politics around her. And it takes leaping through time for both Abigail and Beatie to realise how wonderful it can be to be a woman in this world. How wonderful it should be. And also how tough it is too.

“But it’s not just a feminist novel, it’s a deep love story. It deals with all of the awkwardness of being a teenager who’s on the cusp of their adult life. That journey comes with a lot of heartache and a lot of humour – and more than anything, love in all its many and magnificent forms, especially love of self.”

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