"For a number of years, I seem to have been drawn to directing plays featuring largely female casts such as We Happy Few, The Hound of the Baskervilles and All The King's Women. It's great to be able to create a production that stimulates more opportunities for women and allows them to develop some pretty amazing characterisations."
"Each actor has created quite a detailed backstory for the characters and we have woven that into their performance on stage. I had extensive workshops with each actor to work on physical characterisation so they present a well-rounded individual on stage, rather than themselves just in a different set of clothes.
"Although the script only refers to them as Juror 2, Juror 3 and so on, each actor has invented a name, family life, history and emotional and intellectual reactions to the situation they find themselves in."
Simon also made the decision to change the setting of the play to make it more directly appealing and relevant to local audiences. "With a jury of all women, I thought a wartime setting would best explain why there aren't any men available to do their courtroom duty," he said.
"We chose 1944 in an unspecified major city in Australia, as it was after the turning point in World War II, but at a time when victory was still not guaranteed and much hardship was still to come. The wartime era evokes a great ambience – it's a wonderfully vivid and dynamic time in history with distinctive clothes and hairstyles and memorable music."
As for the one male actor in the otherwise all-female cast, James explains: "We had 32 women audition for the 12 jurors and could have cast one of them as the guard but Mike Moshos put himself forward as a possibility, so we went with that option instead. His character is obviously someone who wouldn't have been forced to enlist during the war, so we don't have to explain that and the role fits comfortably as a male one."
"The character is interested but snobbish, kind but selfish and, most of all, fair-minded. The main challenge is being angry – it's not ladylike! Although she isn't as angry as some of the other characters."