FORGOTTEN – The female convict rebellion | 14-16 July 2023

This riveting play relives the Parramatta Female Convict Factory Penitentiary Rebellion 1827/Written by acclaimed playwright Cate Whittaker it comes to the Playhouse after its second successful season at the Riverside Theatre Parramatta.

When convict women begin to die of starvation and the Factory Management Committee fails to believe the women’s pleas that the Matron’s son is stealing their food, the women take matters into their own hands and go on strike in the factory (the first factory strike in Australian History).
Thrown into the penitentiary they overcome their differing nationalities and prejudices to band together in a stand against the Factory Authority. Throwing out their guards they stand in the yard shouting they are being starved in the hope the press will hear and report it. Rev. Marsden Chairman of the Factory Committee turns up instead and when pelted with stones he calls the military.
Desperate to get the soldiers to leave so her lover, the Registrar of the Supreme Court can help her escape from hanging, Jane New tries to bribe the leader of this rebellion Irish Catholic Mary Daley to return to work. Mary refuses and then begins one of the few female rebellions in World History. This inspiring story show the unbelievable courage of the women who facing gunshot and bayonets refuse to starve in silence and 220 succeed in breaking out and getting to the town to tell the colony they are starving. It led to the Governor’s demise, yet was lost to History, due to Factory records being deliberately destroyed.

“Whittaker’s Factory women, who comprise the majority of the talented cast, can and do move you to tears, then; but they make you laugh just as often. Indeed, Whittaker excels in her mission to, quite literally, turn up the volume on voices that were too often silenced or distorted in their own time and have, subsequently, been almost entirely lost to ours” Dr Mikayla Cameron

Through great resilience and courage these young convict women struggled to survive, and as part of the 25000 convict women cohort, populated a dying colony and produced one in seven Australians. Sadly as shown in the play some paid the tragic price of transportation and losyt their lives. Forgotten gives all these women back their voice and their rightful and respected place in our History.

This haunting production is performed by young drama graduates led by the highly experienced actor Liz Grindley, under the brilliant directorship of Madeleine Diggins.

Below are our highly trained young cast with some reviews from their previous productions and theatre companies.

Madeleine Diggins- MFA NIDA, Stella Adler- artistic director of Swag Theatre Co (NYC).

Annie- Liz Grindley -Tower Theatre (London)- Genesian and Hunters Hill Theatre Cos

Susanna–Lucy Hadfield- “great performance”(Karry)”played so realistically” Stage Whispers

Mrs M, Raine, Gordon-Raechyl French NIDA, Stella Adler “a crowd favourite” NightWrites

Martha-Madeleine Wighton-FUA “standout performance impressive powerful”-Theatre Thoughts

Wentworth. Policeman- Mitchell Lewin- ACA, Sportsforjove, Flightpath

John, Marsden, Commissioner- Flynn Barnard – NIDA, Flightpath

Jane- Teddy Jamieson-ACA, Stanted Theatre

Phoebe- Cypriana Singh-FUA. Factory& Box Theatres, Rob Guest Endowment Semi Finalist

Aggie-Dominique Purdue-New York Film Institute. ACA. RADA. AFTI

Mary- Skye Beker- WAAPA, NIDA, VCA, New Theatre, City Theatre

James- Luke Visentin- NIDA, Australian Shakespeare Co. Sydney Fringe, New Theatre

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