Pressed Flowers

September 24th, 1986 — October 4th, 1986


La Boite Theatre, Brisbane


La Boite Theatre


Ian Leigh-Cooper


Fernando Arrabal


Adam Couper


Dawn Albinger
Richard Brennan
Alison Bulloch
David Burgin
Tracey Edwards
Rik Jurvecic
Anne Kilmartin
Bill Kyle
Andrew McDonell
Peter Nugent
Amanda Purdie
Andrew Raymond
Kae Rees
Genevieve Thackwell-James
Anthony Weigh
Scott Witt

Costume Designer

Peter Penwarn

Set Designer

Peter Penwarn

Lighting Designer

Dirk Vanden-Driesen

Sound Designer

Russell Great

Pressed Flowers

In his first year as Artistic Director, Jim Vilé created a festival event called September for Peace at La Boite, the Theatre’s contribution to the International Year of Peace and the 25th Anniversary of Amnesty International. Although professional Youth Theatre staff were yet to be appointed, three of the four productions showcased youth performance projects.[i]

One of the projects was a production of And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers by provocative Spanish writer Fernando Arrabel directed by Ian Leigh-Cooper for the young adult performance group Neobody. To Vilé’s surprise the play was the subject of a complaint before it reached production stage and was subsequently withdrawn. For mature audiences only, it was advertised as “a shout of anger through a cascade of sexual and religious images which confront us with the pain and anger suffered by the politically oppressed”.[ii] According to Vilé, the complainant objected to its perceived anti-Catholic stance and “went political on us”.[iii] All the publicity had gone out; a performance had to open on September 24. Instead of cancelling, Neobody presented its own devised Pressed Flowers, a play about the suppression of a play. The fuss attracted police interest, television and radio coverage and “a baptism of fire” for Vilé, shocked at the level of conservatism still rife in Queensland.[iv] The explanation to audiences was:

The Management Committee of La Boite has reluctantly decided not to proceed with this season due to the risk of legal action. Instead, La Boite presents Pressed Flowers … about the suppression of free speech, the pervasive threat of self-censorship and the limitation of artistic freedom in a society where some presume to speak for the ethics of others.[v]

Writer: Christine Comans

[i] La Boite Theatre Newsletter, Sept/Oct 1986.

[ii] Publicity flyer for September for Peace at La Boite.

[iii] Vilé Interview with Christine Comans June 2, 2003.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] La Boite Theatre Newsletter, Sept/Oct 1986.


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