Important Update: Amphibian rescheduled to 2022
Important Update: In line with NSW Health advice, the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre is temporarily closed to the public until at least 11.59pm Friday 30 July. Hence, Amphibian on 10 & 11 September will be rescheduled to 2022. Please stay tuned for more information around new dates and times.
All existing ticket holders will be contacted via email with an update and options – please keep an eye on your email inboxes. In this unprecedented situation, our Box Office is fielding a tremendous volume of requests and we are working to be as responsive as possible. We ask that you please wait for us to get in touch, and please bear with us as we work through our lists.
Chloe and Hassan are under suspicion for stealing money while feeding the class Axolotl. Sent outside to work out who’s responsible, the unlikely pair find they have something in common. Each of them has been forced by their parents to leave their respective homes and face life as the new kid at school.
As their personal histories are revealed, Chloe hears the incredible first-hand account of an Afghan boy who’s travelled alone, thousands of kilometres across land and sea, for a better life.
Is the discovery of Hassan’s back story enough to save him from Chloe’s desire to protect her position in her new-found friendship group?
Amphibian is an epic story of displacement, loss, and adapting to different worlds. This strong and compelling production is a must-see for teenagers and adults.
Schools: Suitable for Years 7 – 10
General Public: Suitable for ages 12+ and their families
Audience Information: This production contains adult themes and the use of theatrical haze
We strongly recommend all staff and visitors (12 years and older) wear masks inside The Joan.
Cast & Creatives
Sasha Zahra / Director
Meg Wilson / Designer
Ian Moorhead / Composer and Sound Designer
Mark Pennington / Lighting and Audio Visual Designer
Muzafar Ali and Elyas Alavi / Cultural Consultants
Rami Saaid and Julia Vosnakis / Cast
Sia Duff / Production Stills
(1 free teacher per 10 students)
The Q Theatre is fitted with a hearing loop for patrons with impaired hearing. A map indicating the best seats for hearing loop access can be downloaded here.
Our theatres are all equipped with space for wheelchairs with strong sight lines and easy access.
Schools Bookings and Resources
Amphibian is recommended for Years 7 – 10 (Stages 4 – 5). The dedicated schools performances for this production are:
Friday 10 September at 10am & 12pm
Saturday 11 September at 10am & 12pm
55 minutes (No interval plus a 15-minute Q&A following the 12pm performance on Friday and a 10-minute Q&A following the 10am performance on Saturday).
Please Note: The Q&A on Saturday 11 September has changed to after the 10am performance.
Schools Booking Form
To book this production for your school, please click here and complete our Schools Booking Form.
Click here to visit our ‘Information for School Groups’ page to download a copy of our current Risk Assessment and find out more about our venue, getting here, accessibility, education resources and the booking process.
To discuss schools bookings further, please contact Box Office on (02) 4723 7600 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to download the Amphibian NSW Curriculum Links
Click here to view the Amphibian Study Guide online
Click here to access the Amphibian Interactive Story online
Click here to read the blog, Making Amphibian – Daniela Frangos interviews writer Duncan Graham and director Sasha Zahra on how the production tackles a burning global issues in a High School setting
The Making of Amphibian Video
Featuring director Sasha Zahra, designer Meg Wilson and original cast members Antony Makhlouf and Maiah Stewardson
A Handy Guide to Attending the Theatre
Attending the theatre is a magical and exciting experience for all ages. For some of your students, an excursion to The Joan may be their first time seeing live theatre. To ensure you have a positive and memorable time, we have put together a Handy Guide of tips to discuss with your students prior to attending a show.
Normally it’s hard to say exactly what a show is about, or where the idea comes from. It’s like asking: why did you dream about this or that when you were asleep? You don’t have total control, so it’s impossible to answer. But you know somehow, it’s related to what you think and feel at the deepest level.
Our creative minds operate a little bit like dreams. It’s not always reasonable, or political. You follow instincts and intuitions and see where they take you. This is what happened up to a certain point with Amphibian, but there’s another part to the story about this story.
Initially, I was interested in hide and seek as a concept for the show. And there is a bit of that left over. Literally there’s a game of it played; and metaphorically speaking too: the two characters play a game of hide and seek with their emotions, personalities and histories. But before all of that, Director, Sasha and I went out to a primary school and gave some 9-11-year-old kids a questionnaire. We asked: What’s your worst nightmare? What matters most to you? What’s your favourite song? (an extremely hard one to answer I find). A whole range of things.
What came back was that most people were afraid of losing their family or being eaten by sharks. The kids were also very aware of what was going on in the world, and they knew a lot more about the political reality of our time than we had thought they might. We also found they had a keen eye for justice and truth. We stumbled across a thought: isn’t what’s happening to child-refugees all over the world exactly the worst nightmare of children living comfortably in our societies?
Sasha and I then went out into the community and spoke to people who had come to Australia as refugees from Afghanistan. We came across Muzafar Ali and his family, and Elyas Alavi. They are both fine artists and people.
In Amphibian, you see reflected parts of their personal journeys. Their stories are so epic, they are beyond imagination. I could not make it up. They are like your worst nightmare. It’s hard to place these tales of survival, compassion and cruelty into a register of reality. Yet tell these stories we must, with their oversight and permission, and parts of it in their language too (Farsi). Thank you for allowing us to do so. It’s an honour to collaborate.
– Duncan Graham
The first seeds of Amphibian were planted when Windmill’s Artistic Director Rosemary Myers invited writer Duncan Graham and me to undertake an initial development to explore the potential of creating a new touring work. With endless possibilities, we began thinking about the work we wanted to create together. As we looked inwardly and outwardly, locally and globally and questioned widely, we began landing on common thoughts, worries and hopes. Looking more specifically at children’s experiences within all these situations, we became aware of the massive numbers of unaccompanied minors in existence across the world, making extraordinary journeys across thousands of miles in search of safety.
With this as our starting point Duncan and I began our shared journey. We undertook research, interviews with school students, multiple developments, community consultation (most notably with Muzafar Ali and Elyas Alavi – two refugees from Afghanistan now settled in Australia) and almost two years on, Amphibian the play was born.
It has been both a challenge and an immense pleasure bringing Amphibian to life.
As the story unfolds, through the eyes of two young people, it travels back and forward in time, to different countries and locations, traversing memory of imagined and dream worlds.
As I write this I am reminded of Tim Etchells’ view of cultural practice and his challenge to make performances that matter, that attempt to change things: “Investment forces us to know that performative actions have real consequences beyond the performance arena. That when we do these unreal things in theatre spaces the real world will change. To me that’s the greatest ambition and the truth of cultural practice…”
With this final thought, it is our hope that sharing Amphibian will stimulate ideas, conversations and action towards a more compassionate future.
– Sasha Zahra
“A must-see work for teenagers and adults that could start some important
conversations.” – InDaily
“A wholeheartedly entertaining and humanising experience. This is a compassionate piece of theatre told with a punch.” – Glam Adelaide
“I left wishing every 12-year-old in the country could see this show.” – Kids In Adelaide
“This is a marvellously strong and compelling story from Windmill. In a time of us-and-them attitudes, Amphibian is an urgently-needed and beautifully-crafted plea for awareness and compassionate action.” – Adelaide Theatre Guide
“It sparkles with ideas and topics taken from the mouths, hearts and creative minds of school children currently within our education system. In this lies the play’s strength.” – ArtsHub
“[The creative team] all have considerable form, but the real stars are the refugees, surviving on land and water.” – The Advertiser
A COVID-19 Safety Message
The Joan is a registered COVID Safe venue and is following strict NSW Government guidelines and expert public health advice. Your health and safety is our priority.
Please click here to view our full COVID Safe Plan and our new ticketing Terms and Conditions.
Please note safety measures may change. We regularly update our processes based on the latest government advice.
In accordance with the recent update to NSW Health regulations, The Joan is operating at 100% capacity from 29 March 2021.
There will be no vacant seats between bookings in seated indoor venues for all events at The Joan from 29 March 2021.
It is the responsibility of every individual to help stop the spread of COVID-19. If you have experienced cold or flu-like symptoms in the last 14 days, have a temperature and/or been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, it is our right to refuse you entry into our venue. The health and safety of our patrons and staff is extremely important to us. Please contact us before your event if any of the above applies to you.
We strongly recommend all staff and visitors (12 years and older) wear masks inside The Joan.
For more information on how you can help us keep our community safe, please click here.
Amphibian has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.