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A Terrible Madness

Theatre productions

Madness for gold & madness in love: World Premiere in Ballarat

A Terrible Madness

The Arts Academy, University of Ballarat presents the world premiere of A Terrible Madness:  an epic, terrifying and exhilarating tale of journeys and homecomings.

Often disturbing, sometimes funny and ultimately uplifting, A Terrible Madness is a story of obsession: of a wild, impossible love affair and of a young woman’s determination to find the truth in her extraordinary family history.  

From Connemara in Ireland to Van Diemen’s Land and gold rush Ballarat, a journal unearthed in 2011 brings to light the journey of Mary, an Irish convict whose passionate love affair is closely entangled with the history of a new country on the edge of rebellion.

Written and directed by award-winning English playwright Brian Woolland, A Terrible Madness will be performed by the 2011 Graduating Actors Company in the Helen Macpherson Smith Theatre on the Camp Street Campus.

Brian Woolland has created a stunning new play that is challenging and provocative – paralleling past actions and choices with present-day repercussions. Using a historical setting, this essentially modern play explores issues that concern everybody: integrity and justice, loyalty and betrayal. The questions of identity, belonging, and place faced by Mary, George and their contemporaries are deeply relevant for today’s audiences.

A Terrible Madness was a phrase once used to describe the lust for gold that fuelled the mid-nineteenth century gold rush in Australia. This intriguing new production reminds us that there are many kinds of madness – not least the madness of love.

Why you go and fecking drown? ...  Mam’ll kill you for this.   How ever we going to get through winter now?  

Photography of A Terrible Madness
by  Deryk McAlpin

The Ballarat goldfields
(opening of Act Two)

Photography of A Terrible Madness by  Deryk McAlpin

Bleedin’ lunified, you two.   Just don’t know when to bloody stop, do yer.  

Photography of A Terrible Madness by  Deryk McAlpin

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