Lead actor and Anvil Productions co-artistic director, Joanne Davis, will be taking part in the contemporary drama 2.20am at the Red Cliffs Civic Centre next Friday.

By MADISON EASTMOND

2.20AM – a stage play by award-winning writer Rebecca Lister – will be staged at the Red Cliffs Civic Centre next Friday, November 8.

The contemporary drama tackles the subject of suicide with the credibility of lived experience.

Drawn from Ms Lister’s own experience of losing a family member to suicide, and co-produced by Jesuit Social Services and the Support After Suicide program, the play focuses on four “ordinary people, all bereaved, as they meet as strangers at a creative writing class and are forced into a reluctant bond”.

Joanna Davis, one of the lead actors in 2.20am and co-artistic director of Anvil Productions, said that although the play deals with a sensitive subject, it has a lot of light moments.

“It centres around the topic of suicide, but it is also about four very ordinary people who just end up at a writing group together. It’s about the support they provide each other and the relationships that develop,” she said.

“We have a fantastic and varied cast, representing all ages, sexualities, reactions and experiences – and actually, a lot of people who have come to see the play – affected by suicide or just grieving any loss – find it quite uplifting and therapeutic.”

Despite still often ‘flying under the radar’ in Australia, deaths from suicide are more numerous than those from traffic accidents. 

In 2017, 3128 people committed suicide in Australia – more than double the number of people who died on Australian roads.

According to 2016 data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15 to 44, and the second leading cause of death among those aged 45 to 54.

This is something Joanna and the rest of the team at Anvil Productions hopes to open up a discussion about. 

“Rebecca and myself have a real belief that theatre should be accessible to everyone, and we really enjoy putting work into ordinary places,” she said.

“Every show we host has a Q&A held afterwards which is always facilitated by a member of Support After Suicide, Rebecca, who is the playwright and has lived and personal experience on the topic, one cast member, and when we’re touring, a local health representative of that area.

“The main reason we host these sessions after the play is to generate discussion, but more importantly we feel it is essential that we don’t just move into a town, open a discussion like this and then move onto another place.

“It’s very important to us that we are able to make a piece of work such as this that promotes discussion, the break down of stigma, and provides a platform, but in a responsible way. 

“We want people to be able to talk and support each other, and also know that life goes on after suicide.”

Prices begin at $25, $22 for concession, or $20 each for a group of six or more. 

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.anvilproductions.com.au.