Producer: Ryan Stewart
Writer: Beth Paterson
Directed By: Kat Yates

How do you honour the legacy of a woman you hardly knew?...and didn’t really like?

Synopsis

Niusia was a Holocaust survivor. Charming, savvy, and–if you ask her granddaughter, Beth–a pretty mean lady. She’s ready to learn who Niusia was, but soon discovers there is no straightforward story.

Reading, interviewing, and weaving memories and handed-down stories, Beth sets out to understand her nana’s complex legacy. She gives voice to the cruel thoughts you shouldn’t have about your holocaust-surviving nana, stumbles upon her own Jewishness (something she used only to evade school church services), and ultimately confronts how deeply embedded these horrific memories are in her family line. She asks: “I’ve somehow always known these stories. When did I learn these stories, and how?”

Journey with Beth as she is shown the tenderness she missed out on, learns to laugh at the unlaughable, and wades through the complexity of trauma-laden memories, love, and familial relationships.

Short Reviews

‘★★★★ - one of the finest solo, biographical shows I’ve ever seen’
Theatre Matters
‘This is ground-breaking, needed, clever, entertaining, and satisfying theatre. ’
Toorak Times
‘Paterson’s one-woman show NIUSIA was such a profoundly validating experience’
+61J Media
‘NIUSIA is a courageous, hilarious, and affecting work. ’
Farrago

Video

Technical Information

Touring Party: 3
Bump-in Time: 4 hours hrs
Bump-out Time: 1 hours, 2 if we need to de-rig lighting hrs
Interval: No

Lighting

We will design a generic lighting rig specifically for touring, incorporating generic fixtures. Current plan has not been finalised.

All fixtures must be pre-rigged, flashed and coloured prior to company arrival as per provided plan.

This performance can work with a number of different rigs depending on lighting inventory; we just need to know what the inventory is in advance to advise our lighting designer to adjust our plan accordingly

Audio

Laptop with Qlab and show file. We will require a sound system to amplify the sound design within the space.

The progression of the show’s narrative is contingent on the audience’s ability to hear our sound design, as it includes a number of pre-recorded interviews that the artist uses to create a ‘dialogue’ with their mother.

Staging

Fairly simple set, consisting of;

– 1x fold-out chaise lounge (0.75m x 0.75m when folded in)
– 1x small side table
– 1x dining table (dimensions tbc)
– 3x chairs (dining room sized)
– 5x stacks of books (glued together in a ‘tower’)
– 100x individual books, scattered about the floor

Flexible depending on space; no fly system required or any additional tech like smoke or strobe machines. Very adaptable. Minimum 5.5(w)x4(d)x2.5(h)

Transport Notes

Set/production can travel via van ideally – 1-tonne van that can seat 3 people.

Audience & Marketing Notes

This show is particularly catered to the Jewish community (both culturally and religiously Jewish), and 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation immigrants who have a strong or weak connection to their cultural backgrounds. It is a story about the unexpected journeys we sometimes must undertake in order to know our own stories and family history, and in this way it has strong links to the sorts of autoethnographic practices these audiences undertake daily to reconcile identity with place and culture.

Selling Points

  • NIUSIA is a love letter to family, and reckons with the effects of intergenerational trauma. It is a poignant illustration of the special, if not sometimes-difficult relationships that exist between grandmother-mother-granddaughter, and the impact of trauma on these relationships.
  • It is a true, moving, and beautifully told story. Protagonist Beth masterfully weaves the historical with the personal, the traumatic with the hilarious, and takes the audience on a personal journey of self discovery, cultural euphoria, and connection to the past.
  • Full of humour: The show tackles very dark material with grace, levity, and a healthy dose of Jewish gallows humour. The audience is invited to laugh along with Beth, as she learns that laughter is the only way to survive the unsurvivable.

Community Engagement

  • 'Devising Your Own Autobiographical Work' with Beth (the artist) and Kathryn (the director)

Content Warning

References to: Violence, War, Antisemitism, Concentration Camps, War Crimes, and Genocide; Depiction Of A PTSD Flashback; Descriptions Of Concentration Camp Experiences; Reference To and Depiction of a Hate Symbol (swastika on the cover of a book cover).

Details

Genre

Audience

Venue Format

most suited to a black box/studio style theatre with raked seating

Duration

55 or 75 minute options available Minutes

Available Until (from - to)

01/01/2025

31/12/2025

Budget & Fees

What are these? Find out more.

In Development - work which will be produced and premiered in time for touring during 2025/2026. Please contact the Producer directly for Budgets and Fees.

Remount: $12500

Weekly Sell Off: $7000

Per Performance: $4500

Royalties: TBC%
Apra Obligations: The show has a few songs that need to be licensed through APRA. These were available for the premiere season.

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