How retelling stories makes them timeless

Repetition builds the canon, which is why it’s so important to remount rarely seen works like The Torrents and Cloudstreet.

Benjamin Oakes, Guy Simon and Ian Michael in Malthouse Theatre’s Cloudstreet. Photo credit: Pia Johnson.

In order for to stories to endure, they have to be retold, re-interrogated, reimagined. Each time a play is remounted we find something new in it, as well as a new way to re-examine the past.

‘I remember talking to [playwright and director] Declan Greene about the idea that when you’re making a new version of an old work, you’re also thinking about the umbilical cord that exists between the original and the reinterpretation,’ said Clare Watson, Artistic Director of Black Swan State Theatre Company.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts