Jailbaby: Griffin Theatre’s powerful new play  

Jailbaby: Griffin Theatre’s powerful new play  
Image: Anthony Yangoyan in JAILBABY. Photo: Brett Boardman

Andrea James, the gifted director behind Suzie Miller’s latest work, Jailbaby, possesses an uncanny ability to navigate the intricate nuances of storytelling. With an exquisite balance of critique and audience engagement, James delivers a production that delves deep into the complex societal issues surrounding sexual assault and the criminal justice system. Miller’s play, an illuminating exploration of an often neglected facet of Australian society, is set to captivate audiences with its profoundly impactful narrative.

Anthony Yangoyan and Anthony Taufa in rehearsals for JAILBABY. Photo: Brett Boardman

In discussing the play, James reflects, “It’s a really powerful piece; it’s done with layers of complexity and nuance.” Such an approach to storytelling demonstrates the unique artistic vision employed in Jailbaby. The production fearlessly traverses the delicate terrain of sexual assault, deftly weaving together a multi-dimensional narrative that challenges preconceived notions and stirs the audience’s emotions and convictions.

According to James, striking a delicate balance between underscoring confronting societal themes and maintaining audience engagement is one of her biggest challenges: 

“It’s a balance between shining a light on, and critiquing this part of Australia, and still keeping the audience onboard” she explains. 

Lucia Mastrantone and Anthony Yangoyan in rehearsals for JAILBABY. Photo: Brett Boardman

In striving to present a thought-provoking narrative, the playwright remains dedicated to ensuring that viewers remain connected to the play’s profound themes. 

Through the power of compelling storytelling, Jailbaby seeks to foster an open dialogue and encourage introspection among theatre-goers, compelling them to confront uncomfortable truths about their own complicity in an unequal society. Miller’s play dives deep into the systemic inequalities ingrained within Australian society, laying bare the inadequacy of the simplistic adage, “you do the crime, you do the time. 

“It’s about the unequal nature of our society. You know, you do the crime; you do the time; but sexual assault is not part of the agreed upon punishment; but it’s not uncommon, and we’re all complicit in it,” explains James.

By boldly challenging societal complacency, Jailbaby demands that the audience reflect upon their own roles in upholding an unjust system. 

Andrea James in rehearsals for JAILBABY. Photo: Brett Boardman

Creating a work of such significance demands genuine and profound motivation.

“You have to have the right reasons for wanting to create something like this. We want this to resonate in a way that people can really process it on a deeper level,” says James. 

The creators of Jailbaby endeavour to craft an experience that echoes with the audience, facilitating an emotional and intellectual engagement. By bravely confronting uncomfortable topics head-on, the play strives to engender empathy, raise awareness, and ultimately inspire transformative societal change.

Anthony Yangoyan and Anthony Taufa in rehearsals for JAILBABY. Photo: Brett Boardman

The journey of Jailbaby undoubtedly presents challenges for both the creators and the audience. Yet, it is precisely through this artistic exploration that vital conversations are sparked, and society is pushed towards progress. 

Suzie Miller’s play stands as a mirror, compelling us to confront our own complicity and driving us toward a more equitable future. Audiences can expect to be challenged and inspired as they confront the uncomfortable truths that lie at the heart of our society. 

July 7 – August 12

SBW Stables, 10 Nimrod St, Darlinghurst


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