Joan raises her hand to the sky. It bursts into flames.
Everywhere there are women burning.
White ash falls.
Joan is a teenage girl. A virgin soldier who will convince an army of men that she hears the voice of the divine. She will burn.
A miraculous historical figure, Joan of Arc is young, female, a virgin, illiterate and poor and inevitably predestined for sacrifice. Her body is the site for communal transference – a totemic vessel for a nation’s anxieties and hopes – and for six centuries, an effigy of gendered violence.
Over four acts, THE RABBLE’s homage to France’s medieval heroine traverses Joan’s iconography from kneeling silent-cinematic maiden to pious saint, from immolation to rousing immortal orator.
For over 12 years, Melbourne theatrical mavericks THE RABBLE (Kate Davis and Emma Valente) have radically reimagined and repopulated familiar stories with female voices and aesthetics, pointing at subterranean feminist concepts in folklore, literature and history. JOAN is an extraordinary, prescient and surreal theatrical work enjoying sell-out season at Theatre Works, Wuzhen International Theatre Festival, China and Brisbane Powerhouse.
WARNING: Please be advised that this performance contains the use of smoke made from natural fibers and water based sources, smoking of a herbal cigar, sexual content, and coarse language
Co-creators Kate Davis and Emma Valente
Set and Costume Design Kate Davis
Text / Direction / LX Design / SFX Design Emma Valente
AV Design Martyn Coutts
Dramaturg Leisa Shelton
Production Manager, Stage Manager Rebecca Etchell
Creative Producer Josh Wright
Lighting Design Programmer John Collopy
Costume Construction Sophie Allen and Armeda Hammonds
Photo by David Paterson
Ra Chapman, Emily Milledge, Dana Miltins and Mary Helen Sassman.
The premiere season of JOAN at Theatre Works featured Luisa Hastings Edge and Nikki Shiels.
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WRITING ON JOAN
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20–30 April, 2017 | Theatre Works (St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia)
27–29 October, 2017 | Ancient Courtyard Theatre, Wuzhen Theatre Festival (China)
19 February, 2018 | APAM (Australian Performing Arts Market) Powerhouse Theatre | Brisbane Powerhouse
17–22 July, 2018 | Vitalstatistix (Port Adelaide)
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JOAN premiered at Theatre Works in 2018 with the support of the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, it’s arts funding and advisory body, and the Besen Family Foundation. The project was developed with the support of Hothouse Theatre, Malthouse Theatre with support of the Sidney Myer Foundation, and the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.