Australian play strikes contemporary chord at Javeenbah Theatre

JAVEENBAH Theatre will stage its first gritty drama for 2014 this month.

Directed by Javeenbah regular Jim Dickson, Morning Sacrifice was written in 1942 by Sydney playwright Dymphna Cusack and is set in the staff room of a girl’s high school during the Second World War.

The play, with a cast of nine women, focuses on an increasingly bitter struggle between the teachers over the fate of a senior student at the school accused of immoral behaviour.


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Mr Dickson says the ‘brilliantly tense drama’ is flooded with wit and love.

“Morning Sacrifice is set at a time when women had far from gained equality,” he said.

“The action alternates between comedy and horror as the teachers, all women, battle tooth and nail for the good of the pupils and the reputation of the school,” he said.

Cusack wrote Morning Sacrifice after her own victimisation in the late 1930s by the New South Wales Department of Education. It was a protest against the problems she saw in the education system while working at a Sydney girl’s school. In her teaching career, from 1925 to 1944, Cusack faced a system that had hardly changed since the turn of the century. Most female students left school to begin work or undertake home duties as soon as they turned 14.

“Much of the play’s material was drawn from Cusack’s own school experiences,” he said.

“First performed in 1942, Morning Sacrifice has since become a classic of Australian theatre.”

The classic play won the Theatre Council of Western Australia Drama Festival’s Prize in 1942.

‘Morning Sacrifice’ runs at Javeenbah Theatre from 25th July to 9th August with a matinee on Sunday 27th July. Tickets are $25.00 – please phone 5596 0300 or visit www.javeenbah.org.au to book tickets.