Bickley resident Madeleine Shaw to play central role in play, Away


Angry campers (Andrew Smalley, Stewart Mulligan, Phylissa Meagher, Mike Moshos and Sarah Langridge) confront Jim (Don Weaver, seated) and his daughter Meg (Bickley resident Madeleine Shaw, also seated) in Away.
Angry campers (Andrew Smalley, Stewart Mulligan, Phylissa Meagher, Mike Moshos and Sarah Langridge) confront Jim (Don Weaver, seated) and his daughter Meg (Bickley resident Madeleine Shaw, also seated) in Away.

HUGH Jackman award-winner Madeleine Shaw is mixing drama, humour and home truths in a quintessentially Australian story next month.

The Bickley resident is stepping up to the stage as ARENA-arts celebrates the 30th anniversary of the play Away at the Latvian Centre Theatre.

Written by Michael Gow and directed by Christine Ellis, it follows the story of three families on their annual Christmas holidays in late 1967, all burdened with their own baggage.

First performed in 1986, it is a winner of the NSW Premier’s Literary Award and has become one of the most widely produced Australian plays of all time.

Away is also on the high school syllabus in many states, including WA.

Shaw plays Meg, a strong-minded and opinionated teenager.

“She feels the need to stand up to her mother and rebel against her expectations,” she said.

“Meg’s family isn’t very supportive, so she looks for an escape in an unsuitable friend like Tom.

“The challenge with a so-called normal character like Meg is to look for the subtext and find a way to bring something different and interesting to the part.”

Involved in theatre prominently as a young child, Shaw has been involved with numerous companies since graduating from high school, including the Old Mill and Stirling theatres, Koorliny Arts Centre and Australian Performing Arts Network.

She has received nominations and awards for her performances, including the 2015 Hugh Jackman Award for excellence in acting at Storm the Stage and runner-up for the Lucy Durack Award for excellence in music theatre.

“I have mostly gained experience in music theatre and wanted the opportunity to expand my acting skills in a play,” Shaw said.

Director Christine Ellis said Away appealed because she loves Australian shows and had seen it done twice before.

“It’s a classic Australian play and I thought it would be a great challenge for a theatre group to be able to stage it in a creative way,” she said.

“The show is set in several different locations and moves very quickly, so the challenge is to have several different sets on stage at one time to make the play flow smoothly.”

Away plays at 8pm on June 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25, with 2pm matinees June 12 and 19.

Book tickets on 9399 9947 or visit www.trybooking.com/|LCNW.

The Latvian Centre Theatre is at 60 Cleaver Terrace, Belmont.