New Ghosts for an old haunt

New Ghosts for an old haunt
Image: New Ghosts Theatre Company, led by independent artists Lucy Clements and Emma Wright. Image: supplied

When the Old Fitz Theatre launches its 2024 season this Wednesday there will not only be the announcement of the first three productions for next year but also a changing of the guard from Red Line Productions to New Ghost Theatre Company.

After 10 years of mounting critically acclaimed shows in the 55-seat venue, Red Line will be stepping away to make room for New Ghosts founder and director Lucy Clements in one of the biggest shake-ups in the Old Fitzroy Theatre, that has operated since 1997.

The Old Fitz’s original operators were the Tamarama Rock Surfers, who would produce over 200 stage productions for the venue, including 130 new Australian plays.

Old Fitzroy Hotel. Image: commons

Lack of funding saw the production company seek voluntary liquidation that left the opportunity for Red Line, who also produced a similar number of shows during their time at the helm.

New Ghosts’ Lucy Clements is no stranger to the Old Fitz, having in 2017 being appointed as a resident director as part of the New Fitz program, that saw her team with playwrights Sam O’Sullivan and Katy Warner.

That collaboration resulted in two new plays, The Wind in the Underground and Paper Doll.

Having originally relocated her New Ghosts company from Perth to Sydney in 2016 Clements set about finding and directing new Australian work, with an emphasis on promoting roles for females.

PAPER DOLL at Old Fitz Theatre, 2017, directed by Lucy Clements. Image: Kate Williams

To further this ambition Clements founded the IGNITE Collective, a female led collective of theatre practitioners from across Australia with the idea of promoting new female driven stories.

In addition to IGNITE Clements set about gaining charity status for New Ghosts, which is now overseen by a board of directors consisting of a number of seasoned theatrical practitioners.

New Ghosts Theatre Company is also involved with West Words, a cultural, social and educational program based in Western Sydney for new and established writers.

Over 100 Australian theatre makes and 30 new stage roles for young female performers has been created by New Ghosts Theatre in over four Australian and eight world premier plays, five of which were through IGNITE.

The intimate Old Fitz theatre. Image: Redline Productions

In 2022 Clements received the Sydney Theatre Awards for Best Direction for an Independent Production for the play Albion performed at the Seymour Centre.

Clements will be joined by Emma Wright as Executive Producer, an actor, writer and director who has credits in film and theatre here and overseas.

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