Wednesday, 13 April 2022

It is Rod's and my great pleasure to host this reception to mark 50 years of the State Theatre Company as a legislated entity, and to celebrate the extraordinary efforts of this community to bring world-class theatre to the people of South Australia.

As a young person coming of age in the 1970s and early 1980s, I was most certainly aware of the blossoming arts sector in our state, one of its crown jewels being, of course, the State Theatre Company.

Leaving Adelaide in 1985 for a public service career in Canberra, experience of local art were limited, for many decades, to when I could make a trip home.

I won't pretend there weren't compensations in other great cultural capitals of the world.

But one of the great delights of my return to Adelaide has been the opportunity to reacquaint myself and introduce Rod to the local arts company and the wonderful work of the State Theatre Company.

We have seen productions of both 'Girls and Boys' and 'Girl from the North Country' and have been reminded why your company is one of the most prolific, acclaimed and awarded in Australia.

Over the years it has showcased the work of the very best local and national actors, directors and designers, a number of whom are here tonight.

You have staged an impressive number of world premiers, providing a stage for South Australian playwrights such as Peter and Anna Goldsworthy, Andrew Bovell and Elena Carapetis, also with us tonight.

The company's stated aim - a commercially ambitious one - is to create phenomenal, transformative, and inclusive theatre that enriches South Australian and Australian culture.

An important element of this has been tackling the ideas and circumstances of the day, including our society's most important and confronting challenges.

Justine Clarke's performance in 'Girls and Boys', and its searing commentary on the impact of domestic violence in our community, will stay with me for a long time.

I also commend the company's efforts to embrace diversity in all its forms, working tirelessly to ensure the stories that are told, and the actors presenting them on stage, reflect the true richness of our state and nation.

The success and longevity of the State Theatre Comapny rests on the incredible commitment, vision and dedication shown by your entire community.

I thank the past and present board members, foundation members, staff, volunteers, writers, performers and supporters for drawing on your love of the theatre to bring joy, surprise, laughter, tears and deep contemplation to South Australians for the past five decades.

May you continue to create anticipation, immersion and surprise for the next half century.