from the cracks in the psyche of culture
DIED on June 2nd. 1984 to make way for a bus stop.
the late Ralph
and many other professional and community theatre and music industry
people worked at The PITS to produce professional, semi-professional,
amateur and student works in the early 1980s. CADS production of Nick
was a standout and was directed by Ralph Wilson and featured Richard
Roxburgh with a large cast. Did
You Say Love
produced by Women On A Shoestring directed by Camilla Blunden
provided the lighter side of feminist theatre. Bates and Woodward
produced many shows beginning with the extremely popular Naked
Reilly and Tony Sattler.
It featured Jennifer
in the role Noeline
made famous and introduced the amazing Geri Scott to Canberra audiences.
In its 33 months of
operation, more than 77,000 people were entertained at the P.I.T.S.
("appropriately named" said a music teacher in 2001 when
recalling the punks and "oi" skin louts who lined up to see The
on Friday nights early in 1983). During its tenure at The Canberra
Rex, over 43,000 came to see the bands and dance into the morning
hours. But The PITS was more than a popular young music venue. 27,000
people also passed through its doors to see live theatre: ranging
from the likes of David Williamson's The
through to more obscure works in the vein of later SHADOW HOUSE PITS
productions: works like the controversial GEORGE'S PEEPSHOW and
BROTHER APE by Joe Woodward. PITS worked in partnership with other
Canberra groups to produce and present a very ecclectic range of
theatre in its flexible venue. And people used stay for late night
live music. .
HOUSE PITS is
a direct descendent of the old Pie
In The Sky Theatre and Bar,
better known as The P.I.T.S.
owner managers of The P.I.T.S. have since gone on to vastly different
careers. David Bates set up the Famous
in Edinburg and has later taken the venue to Adelaide (for the
Adelaide Festival), Melbourne (for the Melbourne Festival) , Sydney
(for The Sydney Festival) and to London, Auckland and Amsterdam.
Bates (right) and Joe Woodward in a scene from UNION
Doug Edwards and Ian Hayden. This photo was used in a news paper
article about the last night of PITS (June 2nd./3rd. 1984) when over
1000 people thronged to be part of an historical night of bands,
music and theatre.
Woodward and David Bates in 1981 at their successful Don's Party
production at The Park Royal.
Shaved Pits big band at The PITS in 1983.
Woodward in 2011
1995, a form of the old PITS was revived with PITS Productions
setting up its Story House to produce its theatre of "mystery,
imagination and the fantastique". The name was changed in 1998
to SHADOW HOUSE PITS. As the name suggests, it deals with material
that falls into the shadow of experience and culture. Writer /
director, Joe Woodward, is Artistic Director. Productions have been
presented at The Canberra Theatre Centre, The Street Theatre Studio,
DNA Studios at The Ralph Wilson Theatre in Canberra and at The
Seymour Centre in Sydney.
why a SHADOW HOUSE?
- Through SHADOWHOUSE PITS, we
seek an expressive life away from the mundanity of mediocre
fluorescence that dulls so much of our everyday life. The shadow
seems to evoke the dead while giving birth to living imagination: two
potent forces in creation. Sex and fear, those two companions for
fascination, lurk in the shadow house of our souls where aspirations,
desires and metaphors meet. The theatre is the room of the
SHADOW HOUSE where the soul roams as a
cockroach from the pits into the tables of respectability ... up
through the cracks in the facade. And it's a kind of fun ...
sometimes important; sometimes perverse ... and often absurd.
- It is a sacred place where
nothing is sacred; where all is potentially exposed and even the most
sacred precepts may become ludicrous. As such, SHADOW
HOUSE PITS was formed in reaction to
theatre and art as affirmation of particular orthodoxies.
- SHADOW HOUSE PITS
has produced the following works since December 1995:
IN THE DARK (1995)
AND GERALDINE (1995 version)
CHRISABEL AN D GERALDINE (1999)
SEX AND VIOLETS AND THE DEATH OF CULTURE (1999)
7 (produced in association with Jorian Gardner (2003)
ARTAUD 1 (April 2004)
ARTAUD 2 (December 2004)
NAKED GODDESS (2006)
- THE CELICA OF EXISTENCE (2007)
- (theatre in a car)
in a car )
in a car)
Bin Faust (2010)
- TRINCULO'S BATHTUB (2012)
LADY BY THE BEACH OVER THE SEA (2013)
House PITS director has also written and/or directed works for other
companies. Such works include:
Bertolt Brecht (for Culturally Innovative Arts in 1998)
(1999, written and directed by Joe Woodward and based loosely on
William Golding's LORD
OF THE FLIES
for Daramalan Theatre Company)
(2000, a Gothic style production with music by Damien Foley for
Daramalan Theatre Company)
(2001, written and directed by Joe Woodward with music by Damien
Foley and Tom Woodward for Daramalan Theatre Company)
2002, a new collaborative work with The Daramalan Theatre Company, Cathedral
was presented in October at The Street Theatre in Canberra.
2004, Joe Woodward adapted PEER
by Henrik Ibsen and presented it with The Daramalan Theatre Company
at The Street Theatre in Canberra. In 2007, Mack
The Knife and Children Of The Bauhaus
was wrtten with the cast and presented at McCowage Hall.
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