NEWCASTLE actress Sofia Nolan is delighted to have been cast in the title character's leading role in Sydney Theatre Company's premiere production of the Australian comedy-drama Playing Beatie Bow which will be the first show in its renovated Wharf Theatre.
The play was adapted by playwright Kate Mulvany and STC's Artistic Director, Kip Williams, from Ruth Park's popular novel of the same name.
And it's a sign of the popularity of the novel that the production, which has previews on February 22 and 23 and performances from February 26 to May 1, has virtually sold out, with STC hopeful that further easing of the COVID-19 restrictions on audience sizes will let many more people get to see the show.
The Wharf Theatre, which has several performance spaces on one of the former shipping wharves at Sydney's harbourside The Rocks, is an appropriate venue for the show.
Playing Beatie Bow has Abigail (played by Catherine Van-Davies), a teenager dealing with her parents' messy separation, following the mysterious young Beatie Bow (Sofia Nolan) back through time, from the hustle and bustle of The Rocks in the present day to the year 1873, when the suburb was full of struggling immigrant families, gangsters, and a whole host of larger than life characters.
With the help of Beatie, her wise grandmother and the whole Bow family, Abigail goes on a wild adventure through the twisting alleyways of history in a race to find her way home.
Sofia Nolan, who turns 21 this year, auditioned for the play in early 2020. As weeks went by without any response, she thought she hadn't got the role.
Then, when she was in Broken Hill later in the year filming a television show, The Royal Flying Doctors, she got a callback from STC and did two more auditions via zoom. Winning the role of Beatie, she began rehearsals in early January, with the proximity of the rehearsal area to The Rocks leading her and other actors to do some rehearsals in its alleys.
The other seven actors, who include the renowned Heather Mitchell, play 60 different roles.
While this is Sofia Nolan's first STC production, she had her first professional theatre role at age 16 in The Big Dry, a co-production between two Sydney theatre companies - Ensemble Theatre and the Australian Theatre for Young People. She played a girl who moved with her younger brother into another home after her family disappeared. And she has been in other Sydney plays, including The Wolves, which looked the relationships of members of a junior soccer team, plus many TV shows, including the Seven network's Drop Dead Weird and the ABC's Kiki and Kitty.
Sofia was a student at Hunter School of the Performing Arts, and won the Best Actress Award for her role in HSPA's The Elephant Room at the 2015 Short Sharp Theatre Festival in Sydney that featured plays from many NSW schools.