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The Crucible transformed for contemporary times

Friday, 23 February 2018


In bringing Arthur Miller’s classic play, The Crucible to the stage at WAAPA next month, guest director Matt Edgerton promises to disrupt any easy assumptions about how the work should be presented.

“I want to wake the work up from its familiar look and feel,” says the WAAPA graduate and current Artistic Director of Barking Gecko Theatre Company. “I promise this production will have no bonnets, benches or puffy shirts.”

Instead, Edgerton has worked with WAAPA student designers to create a stunning impressionistic design that presents a deeply religious frontier society on the edge of an encroaching wilderness.

“This is our very own invented Salem, a world hopefully unlike any the audience has seen before,” he says.

Edgerton’s production of The Crucible will be performed by WAAPA’s 3rd Year Acting students in the Geoff Gibbs Theatre from Friday, 16 - Thursday, 22 March. A post-show discussion with the cast and creatives will be held on Tuesday, 20 March, providing a wonderful opportunity for audience members to quiz the cast and crew  about the show.

Arthur Miller’s famous dramatization of the 1692 Salem witch trials in Massachusetts was written as an allegory for the ‘witch hunts’ that occurred during the McCarthy era in the 1950s, when the United States government ostracized people for being communists.

However Edgerton believes that in the current political climate, The Crucible has a timely contemporary relevance.

“This is a very charged moment to put The Crucible on stage,” he explains. “The Crucible and the Salem witch trials are everywhere in the media, lazily referenced as a critique of the #meetoo and #itstime movements, as a way to suggest things have ‘gone too far'.

But the analogy is a poor one: The Crucible explores a perversion of justice based on imagined wrongs. The current social movements are about redressing real injustices. At our point in history, those formerly without a voice are seizing their moment to speak out and advocate for positive change.”

Edgerton believes The Crucible is asking modern audiences how they can take action to empower those who have been marginalised, without giving into fear and scapegoating.

Edgerton says it is a pleasure to work with the final year Acting students. “The 3rd Year actors at WAAPA are an extraordinary ensemble, from one of the finest acting schools in the world, and are more than ready to meet the challenge of this epic play.”

The WAAPA Visiting Artists' Program is proudly supported by the Minderoo Foundation.

For all venue and performance details, please visit the The Crucible performance web page.


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