Show artwork for Torch the Place

Torch the Place

Benjamin Law’s debut play, Torch the Place, will have its world premiere on Friday 14 February at Arts Centre Melbourne, directed by Dean Bryant (The Lady in the Van).

This poignant modern comedy, commissioned as part of MTC’s NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program, stars Michelle Lim Davidson (Utopia), Diana Lin (The Farewell), Fiona Choi (The Family Law), Max Brown (The Gloaming), and Charles Wu (Doctor, Doctor).

Littered with Law’s signature wit, Torch the Place sparks joy in the clutter of life and uncovers meaning in those chaotic moments that bring families closer together.

Dean Bryant said, ‘Benjamin Law is a renaissance man. Passionately interested in – and good at – so many things, it’s no wonder that writing theatre is one more of his many talents. The world he's brought to life for us is irreverent, sharp and intensely moving. And of course, funny. It's a privilege to be working with him to continue shaping his first play and to have it premiere at MTC.’

Teresa’s Mum finds it impossible to let anything go – from grudges to household objects. She thinks of her home as a museum full of irreplaceable treasures. But she’s not really a curator – she’s a hoarder – and her house is enough to give Marie Kondo heart palpitations. When her children return home for her 60th birthday, it isn’t a reunion – it’s an intervention.

Benjamin Law is a Sydney-based journalist, columnist, TV screenwriter and broadcaster. He’s the author of the memoir The Family Law, travel book Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East – both nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards – the Quarterly Essay Moral Panic 101 and editor of Growing Up Queer in Australia. Benjamin also created and co-wrote three seasons of the multi-award-winning TV adaptation of The Family Law for SBS – still the most viewed comedy on SBS On Demand. Benjamin co-hosts ABC RN’s weekly national pop culture show Stop Everything and has featured in TV shows including Q&A, The Drum, The Project, Filthy Rich and Homeless and Waltzing the Dragon. In 2017 Benjamin was commissioned to write a play for MTC as part of the company’s NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program. Torch the Place is his first play.

Dean Bryant has previously directed for MTC Kiss of the Spider Woman,The Lady in the Van, An Ideal Husband, Wild, Vivid White, Born Yesterday, Skylight, I’ll Eat You Last and Next to Normal. For Hayes Theatre Company he directed Assassins, Sweet Charity (Helpmann Award) and Little Shop of Horrors (Sydney Theatre Award); for Opera Australia Two Weddings, One Bride and Anything Goes (and GFO). Other credits include The Skin of Our Teeth (VCA), Once We Lived Here (London season), DreamSong (Theatre Works), Straight (Red Stitch Actors Theatre), The Last Five Years and five musicals for The Production Company. With composer Mathew Frank, he wrote Green Room Award-winning musicals Prodigal and Once We Lived Here, as well as Virgins: A Musical Threesome, The Silver Donkey and an Amy Winehouse musical for Channel 10’s Mr & Mrs Murder. The pair just debuted a musical version of My Brilliant Career. Dean created verbatim piece Gaybies (Midsumma, Darlinghurst Theatre Company). Dean is Worldwide Associate Director of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – The Musical and is a graduate of WAAPA

‘Real laughs, real pain and real love.’ Sydney Morning Herald (on The Family Law)

Cast Max Brown, Fiona Choi, Michelle Lim Davidson, Diana Lin, Charles Wu

Director Dean Bryant
Associate Director Margot Morales Tanjutco
Set Designer Isabel Hudson
Costume Designer Kat Chan
Lighting Designer Amelia Lever-Davidson
Composer & Sound Designer Clemence Williams

Season Dates
8 February – 21 March

Opening Night
Friday 14 February, 8pm

Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio

03 8688 0800


Published on 20 December 2019