Sutherland Theatre Company to present The Woman in Black

Out of the black: Dirk Strachan-Thornton as the actor. Picture: Supplied
Out of the black: Dirk Strachan-Thornton as the actor. Picture: Supplied

Whether or not you believe in ghosts, chances are you’ll be looking over your shoulder after leaving Sutherland Theatre Company’s latest production.

The company will present their production of the classic ghost play The Woman in Black at the Sutherland Memorial School of Arts from May 26 to 28.

More than seven million people worldwide have seen The Woman in Black, being performed on London’s West End for 27 years. It was adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from Susan Hill’s gothic horror novel.

The Woman in Black is a gripping ghost story set in a dusty old theatre. Arthur Kipps (Anthony White), a middle-aged solicitor, engages the services of a self-assured professional actor (Dirk Strachan-Thornton) to help him re-enact a ghostly event that he experienced many years before at a deceased client’s old manor house in the English countryside.

From the cluttered stage, Kipps begins to read his story. Painfully, self-consciously and hesitantly at first but gradually increasing in confidence.

The actor is enthusiastic and passionate, taking on the role of a young Kipps for the purpose of the performance. But as the two men delve deeper into the spine-chilling events that befell Kipps during his time at Eel Marsh House, the actor gradually realises that not all ghost stories are works of fiction.

Director Belinda Balhatchet said she was drawn to the play’s use of simple theatrical techniques, rather than detailed set, to bring the story to life.

“Nowadays, big budget productions can create almost anything on stage. Audiences don’t have to use their imagination as much as they used to because everything is created before them through lavish sets and huge casts,” she said. 

“This show is the complete opposite. With a cast of two and an incredibly simple set, The Woman in Black relies on the talent of the cast and the imagination of the audience to create an atmosphere of tension and horror.”

Balhatchet said the Sutherland Memorial School of Arts was the perfect venue for the show.

“The School of Arts is a relatively small theatre in an old building. It fits the theme of the show perfectly and the small size of the theatre puts the audience right in the middle of the action.”

Tickets: Adults $25, Concession $22, Groups of 10+ $20

Details: or 9150 7574


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