Griffin Theatre Company 40th anniversary books

Raising funds to cover printing and production costs 
DEADLINE 31 August, 2019


1. Griffin Rising: The first decade of the Griffin Theatre Company (1979-1988) 
by John Senczuk - Janus Press (2019)

The Griffin Theatre Company celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2019. Its  longevity and success the great legacy of its founders Jenny Laing-Peach, Peter Carmody, Penny Cook, Rosemarie Lenzo and Eadie Kurzer. 

This 300 page illustrated book surveys the history of the people, plays and productions from 1979 - the first meeting at director Jenny Laing-Peach’s cottage in Griffin Street, Surry Hills - to the departure of the first Artistic Director, Peter Kingston, and the appointment of his replacement Ian B Watson in 1988.

The Griffin Theatre Company’s inaugural production, JP Donleavy's ‘uproarious tragedy,’ The Ginger Man, opened at the Kirk Gallery on 6 April, 1979. A year later, they were the resident company at the Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross. Over the decade that followed, the Company was twice the recipient of the Sydney Theatre Critics Award for their season’s work; Michael Gow’s Away and Europe, Richard Barrett’s The Heartbreak Kid, Karen Mainwaring’s Binge, Ned Manning's Us or Them, Alex Harding’s Only Heaven Knows, and the group-devised Soft Targets all representative of the high calibre of productions presented. The survey also places the Company, and its ‘all-Australian’ repertoire, in the landscape of the Sydney and National theatre enterprise.

In 1986, the Griffin’s future was made secure through the generosity of philanthropist Dr Rodney Seaborn - and the SBW Foundation - who purchased the building, offering it back for the Company’s use. The book provides an extended biography of Dr Seaborn and the history of the Stables Theatre itself (revealing an extraordinary connection between the Dr Seaborn and the venue that can be traced back to the 1840s!).

Indexed, and including numerous production photographs, there is also a full list of repertoire, cast and production creatives.

John Senczuk is a dramaturg and theatre polymath, and a scholar; his Currency House Platform Paper "The Time is Ripe for the Great Australian Musical" (referred to by Gale Edwards as 'the most intelligent clarion call on behalf of the Australian musical, ever written') was published in 2015.

2. Grant Fraser: Five Griffin Plays
Introduction by Colin Schumacher
Contents: Love and the Single Teenager: or, Ten Variations on Romance and Reality (1981), Cheap Thrills (1982), Street Level (1983), Summertime Blues (1984), Backbeat (1988) - Janus Press (2019)

Playwright Grant Fraser’s early writing career was synonymous with the evolving theatrical style and audacity of the fledgling Griffin Theatre Company; his plays built the brand, encouraging a young and vibrant audience.

From the break-out success of his debut production at the Stables in 1981 - Love and the Single Teenager - a new ‘ Grant Fraser play’ was an annual fixture to launch the Company’s season (a highlight of the Festival of Sydney). Sun-Herald Theatre Critic Mick Barnes championed Grant Fraser as ‘Sydney’s chronicler of teenage love’ who had ‘his finger on the responses of teenagers to each other and to their parents.’ 

This anthology of five plays - their first time in print - represents his work over the first ten years of the Griffin Theatre Company,  and is redolent of the Company and its culture at this time. 

Subscription 1: $44 will secure 1 copy (includes postage in Australia) of the limited edition
Griffin Rising: The first decade of the Griffin Theatre Company (1979-1988)

Subscription 2: $40 will secure 1 copy (includes postage in Australia) of the limited edition
Grant Fraser: Five Griffin Plays

Subscription 3: $75 will secure a copy of both books (includes postage in Australia)


In order to reach the goal to underwrite printing and production costs for both publications, we need at least 120 subscribers for Griffin Rising; and at least 70 subscribers for the Grant Fraser Anthology

For further details see:

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