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Triptych: Three Plays for Young People: Inspired by the Art of Paula Rego

Triptych: Three Plays for Young People: Inspired by the Art of Paula Rego

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Triptych: Three Plays for Young People: Inspired by the Art of Paula Rego

113 pagine
1 ora
Apr 9, 2019


The Portuguese visual artist Paula Rego has inspired this trilogy of plays. Her paintings Crivelli’s Garden, The Prey and Breaking China became the catalyst for writing by theatre maker Fiona Graham. Commissioned by Theatre Centre and Komedia, these three new plays were developed for specific audiences through a series of artist/audience residencies and collaborations. These works have toured Britain and been re-staged in Portugal and Singapore.

Crivellis’s Garden was created for a 16+ audience and explores rites of passage as two young women decide whether they should stay or leave their fishing village to go to university in Portugal.

Between Friends is for 7 -11 year olds and examines the politics of friendship between three young people when they are shipwrecked and abandoned in a lighthouse.

Breaking China is for 4-8 year olds and shows the importance of creative play and storytelling when making sense of change and adversity.

About the author
Fiona teaches dramaturgy at Goldsmiths University. Previously she spent over a decade in New Zealand writing and teaching at Auckland University. Her plays include: Passage (The Herald Theatre, Auckland 2010), Breaking China (Theatre Centre, 2002 and Singapore’s International Festival, 2004) and Legacy (for Massive Theatre Company, 1998). Most recently she worked as dramaturge with Otago University and Talking House Theatre Company on Be/Longing and Hush, with Red Leap Theatre Company on Paper Sky and Sea, with playwright Mei-Lin Hansen on The Mooncake And The Kumara, with Winning Productions on I Wanna Be -- Ponsonby and Carol Brown on 1000 Lovers and the Pah Collective.

Her book Catalyst For Change: The Interventions of the Dramaturge was published in New Zealand in 2017.


‘Graham’s poetically eloquent script flows like molten silver and should give students, teachers and other theatregoers much to think about’ (on Crivelli’s Garden) – The Stage

‘A prime example of how an excellent script innovatively directed and beautifully performed can be applied to a wide age range. This joyful production provides much food for thought.’ (on Breaking China) – The Stage

Apr 9, 2019

Informazioni sull'autore

Anteprima del libro

Triptych - Rosamunde Hutt


Fiona Graham convenes the MA Dramaturgy and Writing for Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London. Previously she worked as a writer and dramaturge for twelve years in New Zealand and taught at the University of Auckland.

Her plays include: Passage (The Herald Theatre, Auckland 2010), Legacy and Still Moving (Massive Theatre Company, Auckland, 1998 and 2004). Most recently she has worked as dramaturge with the University of Otago and Talking House Theatre Company on Be/Longing and Hush (verbatim theatre), with Red Leap Theatre Company on Paper Sky and Sea (physical theatre), with playwright Mei-lin Te Puea Hansen on The Mooncake And The Kūmara, and Carol Brown on 1000 Lovers and PAH (site specific performances).

Her book Performing Dramaturgy was published by Playmarket (2017).

First published in the UK in 2019 by Aurora Metro Publications Ltd.

67 Grove Avenue, Twickenham, TW1 4HX Twitter: @AuroraMetro

Introductions © 2019 Rosamunde Hutt & Bernadette O’Brien

Crivelli’s Garden © 2019 Fiona Graham

Between Friends ©2019 Fiona Graham

Breaking China © 2019 Fiona Graham

Cover image The Prey © 1986 Paula Rego, Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art

Image Crivelli's Garden © 1990-1991 Paula Rego, Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art

Image The Vivian girls breaking the china © 1984 Paula Rego, Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art

Production: Peter Fullagar

With thanks to: Ellen Cheshire, Marina Tuffier

All rights are strictly reserved. For rights enquiries including performing rights contact the publisher:

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

This paperback is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

Printed in the UK by 4edge Limited.


978-1-912430-23-9 (print)

978-1-912430-24-6 (ebook)


three plays for young people

Inspired by the art of Paula Rego


Fiona Graham

For Tom and Isabel


Crivelli's Garden Image

Crivelli's Garden Introduction

Crivelli's Garden

Between Friends Introduction

Between Friends

Breaking China Introduction

Breaking China

Educational Resources

The Vivian girls breaking the china

More from Aurora Metro

INTRODUCTION: crivelli's garden

Crivelli’s Garden was the product of an intensive and exploratory Research and Development process in the 1990s at the young people’s theatre company Theatre Centre. The depth and breadth of the R&D encapsulates the company’s dedication to investment in and engagement with artists and audiences, young people and teachers, in reflective and creative practice in schools and higher education settings.

We set up shop for a week at the Bishop Grosseteste College in Lincoln and a week in Salisbury secondary schools hosted by Salisbury Playhouse, digging deep into young people’s aspirations, fears and visions of the future, and brokering collaborative relationships between video makers and musicians as well as designers and actors.

Fiona had been captivated by Paula Rego’s Crivelli’s Garden, painted when Rego was Artist in Residence at the National Gallery, and within the painting saw every age of woman represented. Throughout the R&D we were examining the notion of the starting point, the inspiration for creating a piece of theatre, in this case, this magnificent work of art. The students then used the painting, the characters that fascinated Fiona, the objects the designer found compelling, to create their own responses, through movement, voice and creative writing.

We worked through painting self-portraits and character portraits and through the creation of installations, particularly exploring a poetic narrative. We were searching for the kind of theatre where dreams prevail, jumping into the painting feet first. The students studied Rego’s painting and were asked to ‘choose a figure to whom you are instinctively drawn, make the leap in your imaginations and step inside your character, look at the body closely, find a space and make that position, take up a pen and paper and write her story’.

Fiona was interested in looking at the baggage and the responsibilties of a girl who was the first to go against the grain, to leave the home, to go to university, to choose not to marry, to acknowledge the fluidity of sexuality, to break out from restrictive patterns. Rego had painted throughout the period of dictatorship in Portugal stating that although she was living under political dictatorship, really the dictator in her life was her mother suffocating her. Writing this introduction in 2018 it is salutary to remember that in 1996, when Fiona’s play was in development, we were in the 18th year of an epoch changing Conservative government and there was a longing for change.

With the students we examined the rites of passage experienced by adolescents. We looked at difference, at the forbidden, at burgeoning sexuality, at choices to be made. We explored the themes of leaving a friend, first love, the expectations of parents, the learning of knowledge and the finding of the self. Into this rich mix, Fiona introduced two startling female protagonists, Saints Martha and Catherine, positing the question of how historical models and religious icons influence and form our development. Each student invented her own saint, imagining her qualities and attributes, what she stood for, what objects she might hold. In Salisbury the students’ saints came to life with a glorious boldness:

‘A large, strong woman holds a brick. It is a brick that could be thrown at someone or something, or it could be the first brick used to build a house’.

‘A large strong woman. She has one eye closed and one eye open. She owns a pair of wings; one is open and one is closed. She holds a pint of beer in one hand and a little handbag in the other. On one foot she wears a large, heavy boot. On the other, a dainty shoe’.

Once we left the Lincoln students, thanking them for their work – I still have the feedback I gave to them e.g. ‘Thank you Melissa for developing Alba’s presence in the play’, thanks also to James, ‘your contribution to the debate and to the character of Paulo was greatly valued’ – Fiona got down to work once more. Dramaturge Bryony Lavery played a crucial role in focusing the story, sharpening the journey of the characters, finding the dramatic arc of

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