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Surfing, panel vans, Leviís, getting wasted and fitting in
Serious about bringing quality theatre, upcoming talent and a fresh perspective to Adelaide audiences, Deadset Theatre Company returns with their acclaimed production of Puberty Blues. It will play for a strictly limited season at Stirling Community Theatre, from March 13 to 17 as part of the Adelaide Fringe. We chat with writer, director and producer Zoe Muller to find out more!
Based on the novel by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey, adapted by Zoe Muller, Puberty Blues is Australia's iconic coming of age story following the lives of two teenage girls, Debbie and Sue, in the 1970's surfing scene. Their lives revolve around male surfers, panel vans, straight-leg Levi's, skipping school, getting wasted and fitting in. When Debbie and Sue finally are accepted into the Greenhills Surfer gang, their lives are turned upside down as they are forced to grow up much sooner than they should. Puberty Blues is a raw, disturbing and honest portrayal of adolescence in the 1970's surfing scene.
Talking with the young and talented writer/director/producer Zoe Muller, she recounts the choice to adapt the story of Puberty Blues to a live performance production "I read the novel Puberty Blues when I was fourteen years old and I absolutely adored it! I would constantly rewatch the television series, so often that I could quote it! At the age of 15, my obsession with the story inspired me to write a theatre adaption of Puberty Blues, intended for myself and my friend to re-enact, just for fun. At the time, I had no plans to ever show it to anyone! However, I enjoyed the process so much that I decided to bring it to the stage. I managed to get in contact with the authors Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey's agents. I was then given permission to bring Puberty Blues to the stage for the world premiere and got in contact with my two friends Jean Collins and Matilda Butler. They adored the idea of creating a theatre company in order to stage Puberty Blues!"
In pursuit of their passion, Zoe, and her two best theatre friends, Matilda Butler and Jean Collins founded Deadset Theatre Company and went about creating their first show. The 2017 season sold out before opening night at Holden St Theatres and received high praise from the critics. Bringing Puberty Blues back for the 2018 Adelaide Fringe, the production team, as well as the script, have matured and bring some new depth to the story and characterisation. Zoe comments, "Puberty Blues covers a wide range of themes such as sexism, drugs, alcohol abuse, bullying and rape. Unfortunately, these issues are all still present within modern society. I hope people walk away with an insight into how young women were treated in the 1970s surfing scene, and how issues revolving teenagers have not really changed in the years following".†
Reflecting on the greatest challenges and achievements bringing this production to the†stage for Adelaide Fringe 2018, Zoe says "Having a sold-out season before opening for our debut last October was an amazing achievement! To top it off, we got rave reviews from both critics and audience members alike! We were thrilled with the results of our first season, encouraging us to bring it back for the Fringe this year. The script has changed drastically, with many characters gaining larger storylines, allowing the audience to delve deeper into the lives of these teenagers. We are also taking the show to schools across Adelaide, which will be an awesome achievement. Being able to create a theatre company at the age of 17 with my two friends Jean Collins and Matilda Butler has been amazing, and we have loved every minute of it! We have been lucky throughout the process, not running into too many issues. †My biggest challenge will be letting go of Puberty Blues at the end of the show run. After spending every day of the last three years focusing on Puberty Blues, it will be sad having to goodbye to it!
Deadset Theatre Company's aim is to produce shows with a focus on young adults. This, in turn, will give more opportunities for Adelaide's young aspiring actors to perform on stage and to showcase their talent. We are sure that you'll be inspired and agree that the future of Adelaide Theatre is in good hands.