It goes without saying that arts organisations the World over have endured one of the most challenging years imaginable in 2020, so it is with great joy and no small amount of relief that fortyfivedownstairs announces the re-opening of its theatre and gallery!

Live performances re-commence in the theatre on the 14th of January with a recital by Duo Eclettico, featuring pianist Coady Green and saxophonist Justin Kenealy. An avid supporter of fortyfivedownstairs, Green has been invited to curate a series of five recitals that will be performed over the next four months, featuring Collide (Yelian He, cello, Yasmin Rowe, piano, and Joseph Lallo, saxophone), the Rathdowne Quartet (Harry Ward, violin, Kyla Matsuura-Miller, violin, Molly Collier- O’Boyle, viola, James Morley, cello, with special guest Tamara Smolyar, piano) and Solstice Trio (Georgina Lewis, piano, Kyla Matsuura-Miller, violin, Steph Arnold, cello). The series concludes with Liszt’s Complete Hungarian Rhapsodies for piano four hands, performed by Green and Christopher Smith.

fortyfivedownstairs’ first theatre program for 2021 consists of four productions, starting in January with Human Sacrifice Theatre’s production of the acclaimed play Burn This by Lanford Wilson, directed by multi award-winner Iain Sinclair (MTC’s A View From The Bridge) and featuring Mark Diaco, Jessica Clarke, Dushan Philips and Jacob Collins Levy. Burn This was originally scheduled to open earlier this year and the team has been working continually over the last six months to mine the play’s depths and complexities for what is sure to be a powerhouse ensemble performance.

In February, fortyfive welcomes back two exceptional performers, Clare Bartholomew and Nicci Wilks, whose production of The Long Pigs (presented at fortyfivedownstairs in 2014, directed by Susie Dee and co-devised by Derek Ives-Plunkett) was a recent finalist for the prestigious International Prize “Il Teatro Nudo” in Milan. Clare will be performing alongside her Die Roten Punkte co-creator Daniel Tobias in their new play

The Anniversary, a murderously funny farce about the golden wedding anniversary of Jim and Barb, two baby boomers from Balwyn who annoy one another so much, they literally want to kill each other. Peter Houghton (MTC’s The Architect) will direct the award-winning duo.

Following The Anniversary, Nicci Wilks will then collaborate with Director Susie Dee and Playwright Patricia Cornelius on the one-woman play RUNT, about a small and undernourished woman who has endured enough of being the runt of the litter and determines to take on the World. Following acclaimed collaborations on Savages, SHIT (also featuring Wilks) and LOVE, its always exciting to welcome Dee and Cornelius back to fortyfivedownstairs.

In March, another postponed show closes the first theatre program of 2021, Elizabeth Walley’s The Trauma Project, developed in response to Walley’s experience witnessing a homicide in her suburban street in 2012. What followed was an eruption of emotional and physiological responses, leading to this immersive work that explores perspective and memory.

Centring around Melbourne geographically and thematically, the fortyfivedownstairs gallery program begins in 2021 with a strong series of exhibitions, encompassing painting, photography, ceramics, printmaking and drawing. Traditional media are presented in dynamic forms, visually celebrating the return to the city and our surroundings.

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