The Actors' Hub has a mammoth task ahead with its latest production – portraying the bizarre but true story of an elephant that was hanged in the early 20th century. Written by Caleb Lewis and directed by Adam Mitchell at the Casey Drama Centre, Clinchfield is an epic tale that follows the arrival of the Sparks World Famous Circus in the town of Kingsport, Tennessee.
On September 11, 1916, an elephant tramples a spectator to death during a street parade and what follows irrevocably changes both Kingsport and the neighbouring Clinchfied. The town plays out its hostilities, resulting from the lynching of a young man the previous April, seeking retribution by sacrificing "Murderous Mary" the elephant.
Clinchfield features Matthew Parkin, Justin Gray, Ashana Murphy, Bryce Fenwick, Glenn Wallis, Tyler Lindsay-Smith, Lauren Thomas, Kyle Kash, Quintus Olsthoorn, Chris Colley and Sophia Gilet.
Clinchfield was the inaugural winner of the Richard Burton Award for New Play. "I was lucky to sit on the judging panel," Adam said. "Clinchfield wowed us with its touching story of a real-life event. It explores the deepest fears and desires of the townspeople, who must search for truth – but is the truth they're searching for the truth they need?
"The play exposes the compulsive ecstasy of the lynch mob and explores issues of justice, retribution, racism and values in society. In doing so, it also resonates with a contemporary world tackling issues such as terrorism."
Carlin Monteiro, left, Glenn Wallis and Makayla Deacon are taking to the stage in Clinchfield this June.
Known for his inventive contemporary theatre productions, Adam is an award-winning theatre director and was previously the associate and resident director for Black Swan State Theatre Company, as well as artistic director of Black Swan's HotBed Ensemble. He regularly directs theatre, opera and musical theatre for the WA Academy of Performing Arts and has worked with the Sydney and Melbourne Theatre Companies, Playwriting Australia, Australian Theatre for Young People and is a member of the Lincoln Centre Theater Directors Lab in New York.
Adam also has numerous best direction and best production awards to his credit, including Equity Guild Awards, Blue Room Theatre Best Production Awards, Performing Arts WA Awards and the Martin Sims Award. "I was drawn to Clinchfield because it has a wonderful array of brilliant characters," he said. "In a post-truth world, with the people in this tale searching for truth and justice, it couldn't have more resonance."
Clinchfield plays at 7pm June 15, 16 and 17. Tickets are $30, $25 concession – book at www.trybooking.com/QIGD. The Casey Drama Centre is at Perth Modern School, 90 Roberts Road, Subiaco.