Theatre from the cracks in the psyche of culture

home

news

scream

manifesto

gallery

scripts

workshop

history

links

History

Joe Woodward laments
P.I.T.S. DIED on June 2nd. 1984 to make way for a bus stop.

Richard Roxburgh, the late Ralph Wilson, George Washingmachine, Michael Boddy, Tom Healey, Camilla Blunden, Pat Thomson and many other professional and community theatre and music industry people worked at The PITS to produce professional, semi-professional, amateur and student works in the early 1980s. CADS production of Nick Enright's On The Wallaby was a standout and was directed by Ralph Wilson and featured Richard Roxburgh with a large cast. Did You Say Love produced by Women On A Shoestring directed by Camilla Blunden provided the lighter side of feminist theatre. Bates and Woodward produced many shows beginning with the extremely popular Naked Vicar Show by Gary Reilly and Tony Sattler. It featured Jennifer Cluff in the role Noeline Brown made famous and introduced the amazing Geri Scott to Canberra audiences.

In its 33 months of operation, more than 77,000 people were entertained at the P.I.T.S. ("appropriately named" said a music teacher in 2001 when recalling the punks and "oi" skin louts who lined up to see The GADFLYS on Friday nights early in 1983). During its tenure at The Canberra Rex, over 43,000 came to see the bands and dance into the morning hours. But The PITS was more than a popular young music venue. 27,000 people also passed through its doors to see live theatre: ranging from the likes of David Williamson's The Club, through to more obscure works in the vein of later SHADOW HOUSE PITS productions: works like the controversial GEORGE'S PEEPSHOW and BROTHER APE by Joe Woodward. PITS worked in partnership with other Canberra groups to produce and present a very ecclectic range of theatre in its flexible venue. And people used stay for late night live music. .

 SHADOW HOUSE PITS is a direct descendent of the old Pie In The Sky Theatre and Bar, better known as The P.I.T.S.

The two owner managers of The P.I.T.S. have since gone on to vastly different careers. David Bates set up the Famous Spiegeltent in Edinburg and has later taken the venue to Adelaide (for the Adelaide Festival), Melbourne (for the Melbourne Festival) , Sydney (for The Sydney Festival) and to London, Auckland and Amsterdam.

David Bates (right) and Joe Woodward in a scene from UNION SOUP by Doug Edwards and Ian Hayden. This photo was used in a news paper article about the last night of PITS (June 2nd./3rd. 1984) when over 1000 people thronged to be part of an historical night of bands, music and theatre.

 

.


Joe Woodward and David Bates in 1981 at their successful Don's Party production at The Park Royal.

The Shaved Pits big band at The PITS in 1983.

Joe Woodward in 2011

 

 

In 1995, a form of the old PITS was revived with PITS Productions setting up its Story House to produce its theatre of "mystery, imagination and the fantastique". The name was changed in 1998 to SHADOW HOUSE PITS. As the name suggests, it deals with material that falls into the shadow of experience and culture. Writer / director, Joe Woodward, is Artistic Director. Productions have been presented at The Canberra Theatre Centre, The Street Theatre Studio, DNA Studios at The Ralph Wilson Theatre in Canberra and at The Seymour Centre in Sydney.

But why a SHADOW HOUSE?

Through SHADOWHOUSE PITS, we seek an expressive life away from the mundanity of mediocre fluorescence that dulls so much of our everyday life. The shadow seems to evoke the dead while giving birth to living imagination: two potent forces in creation. Sex and fear, those two companions for fascination, lurk in the shadow house of our souls where aspirations, desires and metaphors meet. The theatre is the room of the SHADOW HOUSE where the soul roams as a cockroach from the pits into the tables of respectability ... up through the cracks in the facade. And it's a kind of fun ... sometimes important; sometimes perverse ... and often absurd.

It is a sacred place where nothing is sacred; where all is potentially exposed and even the most sacred precepts may become ludicrous. As such, SHADOW HOUSE PITS was formed in reaction to theatre and art as affirmation of particular orthodoxies.

 

 

SHADOW HOUSE PITS has produced the following works since December 1995:

SHADOW IN THE DARK (1995)

CHRISTABEL AND GERALDINE (1995 version)

SANCTIMONY (1996)

COLERIDGE'S CHRISABEL AN D GERALDINE (1999)

OF SEX AND VIOLETS AND THE DEATH OF CULTURE (1999)

BEARING WITNESS (2001)

SEXandVIOLETS.COM (2003)

ETHEREAL SCULPTURES (2003)

PLATFORM 7 (produced in association with Jorian Gardner (2003)

ACTING ARTAUD 1 (April 2004)

ACTING ARTAUD 2 (December 2004)

HOMELESS MINDS (2005)

THE NAKED GODDESS (2006)

THE CELICA OF EXISTENCE (2007)
(theatre in a car)

TUNNEL DRIVE (2008)
(theatre in a car )

BEYOND WEIMAR (2008)

DYING LOVE (2009)
(theatre in a car)

Ich Bin Faust (2010)

GEESE (2011)
 

TRINCULO'S BATHTUB (2012)

OUR LADY BY THE BEACH OVER THE SEA (2013)

 

Shadow House PITS director has also written and/or directed works for other companies. Such works include:

BAAL by Bertolt Brecht (for Culturally Innovative Arts in 1998)

THE FLIES (1999, written and directed by Joe Woodward and based loosely on William Golding's LORD OF THE FLIES for Daramalan Theatre Company)

ROMEO AND JULIET (2000, a Gothic style production with music by Damien Foley for Daramalan Theatre Company)

ALICE IS MISSING (2001, written and directed by Joe Woodward with music by Damien Foley and Tom Woodward for Daramalan Theatre Company)

In 2002, a new collaborative work with The Daramalan Theatre Company, Cathedral Song was presented in October at The Street Theatre in Canberra.

In 2004, Joe Woodward adapted PEER GYNT by Henrik Ibsen and presented it with The Daramalan Theatre Company at The Street Theatre in Canberra. In 2007, Mack The Knife and Children Of The Bauhaus was wrtten with the cast and presented at McCowage Hall.

 

Trinculo's Shadow

Receive our new Trinculo's Shadow newsletter directly by subscribing to us. Read information about issues and events from local, national and international groups who:

use theatre to explore the human condition

venture into the very psyche of cultural and personal expression, and

are interested in exploring the mysteries of life and social/cultural interaction.

To receive your copy and read provocative theatre articles and receive information about scripts, workshops and performances from Shadow House PITS, please sign up here as a subscriber.
 

To subscribe, click here and complete the simple form.