Empress Theatre
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Theatre is new and ancient, permanent and fleeting. Theatre is funny and sad, strange and tangible, familiar, just like home. Sacred and irreverent. Silly, and noble. That's our theatre: a place of play that is often complex, always shape shifting. We're interested in many stories from many shores, big stories from new voices. Empress Theatre is racing towards the distant horizon, the faraway place of wonder and play. We have so many stories to share with you before nightfall. Join us. It's going to be an incredible journey.


The Work 

Empress Theatre Presents…

Cyprus Avenue

[Australian premiere]

Written by David Ireland | directed by anna houston

May 15 - June 8, Old fitz theatre, woolloomooloo


“Gerry Adams has disguised himself as a new-born baby and successfully infiltrated my family home.”

Eric Miller is a Belfast Loyalist. Proudly, steadfastly British. He believes his five-week old granddaughter is Irish republican Gerry Adams.

His family keep telling him to stop living in the past and fighting old battles that nobody cares about anymore, but his cultural heritage is under siege. He must act.

Traumas of the past collide with a terrifying future in David Ireland's brilliant new play Cyprus Avenue.

“Without prejudice we’re nothing! If we don’t discriminate, we don’t survive!”

Following acclaimed productions at the Royal Court Theatre in London and the Public Theatre in New York, the award-winning Cyprus Avenue comes to Australia for the first time. Written by playwright and actor David Ireland and staged by Empress Theatre in association with Redline Productions at the Old Fitz Theatre, Cyprus Avenue unravels the threads of sectarian violence against a darkly comic – and shocking – background.

Actor and playwright Anna Houston (Belvoir, Griffin, Bell Shakespeare) directs Roy Barker, Amanda McGregor, Branden Christine, Lloyd Allison-Young and Jude Gibson in a play that speaks to the heart of political and cultural anxieties about who and what we are in a rapidly shifting world. Wonderfully imaginative and savagely funny, Cyprus Avenue throws a grenade at the politics of identity and the madness of bigotry.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“David Ireland’s new play combines horror and humour in bone-shaking proportions.”
The Observer (UK)

 ★ ★ ★ ★
“Compulsive viewing... unmissable.”
The Daily Telegraph (UK)

★ ★ ★ ★
“The most shocking play on the London stage ... a subversive drama that has never been more relevant.”
The Guardian (UK)



April, 2019
We are extremely excited to announce the stunning cast for Empress Theatre’s production of Cyprus Avenue by David Ireland. Our wonderful cast includes (pictured here from L-R) Amanda McGregor (Belvoir's The Maids, MTC's The Crucible), Branden Christine (Dance Academy: The Movie, Remembering Agatha) Jude Gibson (Angels in America, The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant), Lloyd Allison-Young (New Theatre’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Nell Gwynn & Stupid F*cking Bird ) and Roy Barker (The Dressmaker, Utopia, PopUp Globe).


January, 2019
Empress Theatre is thrilled to be a 2019 recipient of MATCH Lab. MATCH Lab supports artists to build fundraising skills, increase knowledge of philanthropy and arts partnerships, develop broader arts business knowledge and create sustainable sources of revenue for their work into the future.

Creative Partnerships Australia received 118 applications and we are thrilled to be recipients of this wonderful initiative. We are developing a fundraising campaign to raise money for our production of Cyprus Avenue at the Old Fitz Theatre. Money raised during the campaign will be matched dollar for dollar, by Creative Partnerships.


The Team

Anna is an actor, playwright and director deeply invested in the process and mechanics of storytelling for live performance.

In 2004 she graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) with a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts in Acting. Prior to that, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Cultural Studies at Perth's Curtin University, where she majored in Theatre Arts and Gender Studies.

As a professional actor, she has performed for the Sydney Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare Company, Belvoir St Theatre, Griffin Theatre Company, Darlinghurst Theatre Company, Perth Theatre Company, and Sport for Jove. Her work as an actor has taken her around Australia on five national tours, and internationally to Europe and Asia for commercial theatre productions that include the National Theatre of UK's production of War Horse.

In 2009 she wrote her first full length play In The Garden, which was long listed for the 2010 Patrick White Award, presented by the Sydney Theatre Company. In 2010, In The Garden was produced by Deckchair Theatre Company in Fremantle, Western Australia. Her second full length play Vanessa Darling was selected by Play Writing Australia for a National Script Workshop in 2015.

In 2015 Anna directed Ella Hickson's full length play Eight for the Sydney Fringe Festival. Produced by Edgeware Forum, the play was performed over five sold out nights at the Erskineville Town Hall.

Polly Brett is Sydney Dance Company’s Public Programs Manager, delivering and programming dance programs for adults, children and young people. Prior to Sydney Dance Company, she worked at NIDA for 12 years in the NIDA Open department. During this time she was NIDA Open’s Production Manager for three years where she Production Managed over 12 student productions each year in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

In 2009, Polly produced ‘Screw Theatre’, an independent theatre company which produced abstract theatre in unusual places. And in 2015 she produced a live music event - Music for Malawi - to raise funds for clean water in Malawian schools.

A creative and innovative Communications Professional and Arts Administrator, Mel has over 15 years’ experience representing artists & institutions within the Performing Arts. Her areas of expertise lie in creating engaging promotions and publicity campaigns & project management. Mel has worked closely with Campbelltown Arts Centre, P Space’s Liveworks Festival via The Press Society, photographic artist Leila Jeffreys and musicians Sally Seltmann, Holly Throsby and The Middle East.

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We are completely overjoyed to announce that we smashed our recent Pozible target. Thank you so much to all those who supported our efforts. Our Australian Cultural Fund campaign is still open and receiving donations. All support is welcome and very much appreciated.

Every generous donation is to be matched dollar for dollar by Creative Partnerships Australia through their MATCH Lab program. The hours spent creating theatre are precious and every dollar we fundraise will contribute to paying artist fees for our wonderful cast and creative team of nine. We are committed to providing financial remuneration to our extraordinary team and we hope you will support us in our belief that our city's artists deserve a living wage.



Anna Houston [Producer & Director] anna@empresstheatre.com.au

Polly Brett [Producer] polly@empresstheatre.com.au

Mel Lake [Publicist] mel@empresstheatre.com.au

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