“You know the worst thing about pretending to be all polished and posh, people start to believe that’s all you’ve ever been. They tear everything down in this city, tear it down, gussy it up. We paid for this city like everyone else, so why are we never listened to? Why are our memories and our sense of belonging so worthless in this city?”
Narelle is Sydney born and bred, but lately she’s lost her sense of belonging.
The city changes all the time, places are torn down and with them go her certainties.
She finds herself drawn back to Pyrmont, formerly the working class industrial heartland of the city, but now newly gentrified as 19th century factories become shiny apartment blocks with million dollar views of Sydney Harbour. But it remains her family’s bedrock, and the home of her extraordinary grandmother June.
As she keeps going over the forces that formed her – the last man hanged in Australia, the mistakes that changed lives, her mother’s divorce, her grandfather’s decline – she tries to make sense of what she, her city, and her country have become. And what has been lost along the way.
Focusing on three generations of remarkable women, The Sugar House is a deeply moving family drama that distils the conflict of how we are raised against what we choose, and how the hope of social transformation as we move forward to embrace the future sometimes means the irretrievable loss of what built us.
The Sugar House was a hit at Sydney’s renowned Belvoir Street Theatre in 2018, where it was nominated for Best New Australian Work in the Sydney Theatre Awards. It now receives its first production outside Australia at the Finborough Theatre.