Picnic at Hanging Rock, playing at Heath Ledger Theatre

Arielle Gray and Harriet Gordon-Anderson.
Arielle Gray and Harriet Gordon-Anderson.

THERE was not a single aspect of working on Picnic at Hanging Rock that did not appeal to 2015 WAAPA acting graduate Harriet Gordon-Anderson.

The 26-year-old heard last June she had been cast in the Black Swan State Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre co-production, giving her direction after graduation.

“I was pretty ecstatic because there’s always a lot of pressure facing graduates coming out of such a prestigious training environment,” Gordon-Anderson said.

“To have not just the security of some work to walk straight into, but something to inspire me and keep me focused during that period was very valuable.”

Having just finished the Malthouse Theatre season in Melbourne, Gordon-Anderson, who grew up in inner west Sydney, said she had fallen in love with her hardworking, inspiring, accomplished and joyful all-female cast.

The new Australian work directed by Matthew Lutton was adapted by Tom Wright from Joan Lindsay’s classical Australian novel.

“Working with Matt and Tom who have incredible legacies and reputations of their own really excited me,” she said.

“I think a work is only as good as the minds that are contributing to it and I think they are two of Australia’s best theatre makers at the moment.”

Gordon-Anderson said Wright’s adaptation was true to Lindsay’s novel about a group of schoolgirls and their teachers who venture into the Australian landscape where four of the group disappear forever.

“The first draft of the script Tom wrote took every piece of dialogue from the novel, written in order,” she said.

“A lot of the dialogue in the production comes straight from the pages of the novel but the form he and Matt have created is often non-naturalistic and played with in a really contemporary way not many people will be expecting.

“Obviously we don’t have time or space on stage to tell every aspect of the novel, but everything I found important in the novel, like the mystery, insolvability of these types of events and the general kind of eeriness, is in the play.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Where: Heath Ledger Theatre

When: April 1 to 17

Tickets: www.ticketek.com.au