The Bed Party
The Bed Party starring Julia Billington

The Bed Party, a new Australian play with an all-female cast, is set to put the dyke back in Newtown this Mardi Gras with a premiere season at The Old 505 Theatre

Running for one week only as part of The Old 505’s FreshWorks offerings, The Bed Party really is a fresh work, shining the spotlight on women we don’t usually hear from in storytelling. These women are anti-marriage, navigating non-monogamy and wrestling with maybe not wanting to have children. The play examines issues surrounding consent, identity, solidarity and bi-erasure.

To tell us these stories, an amazing cast, comprised of crowd favourites and exciting new talent have come together. Mathilde Anglade (How to F*** a French Woman), Julia Billington (All about E, Starting From Now) Brigitta Brown, Dannielle Jackson, Suz Mawer and Alex Moulis form the ‘bed party’ and are sure to win your vote (and hearts) this February, even if you don’t always see eye to eye with them.

Julia Billington, who plays Bri, explains that the women in the bed “share their heartaches, their politics, their passions… and they forge a voice of representation that I have yet to see anywhere else. These women are resistant, deliberately living outside the ‘heteronormative box’ we so often see queer characters written into. We hear opinions in The Bed Party that were new to me in my 30s, [despite] having been out for almost 15 years.”

Playwright Sophia Davidson Gluyas explains “I wanted to give voice to a group of queers with radical inclinations. This party doesn’t believe in traditional trappings of ‘commitment’ but is committed to one another and the shared politics of consent, solidarity and sarcasm.”

Billington, on why she chose to join the cast of The Bed Party, expounds that: “when the opportunity arose to be part of a new play, with deliciously complex and rich queer characters throughout – I thought, how could I possibly turn away from the opportunity? The Bed Party is a glorious dramedy centring around the lives of inner west lesbians living in a share house together.” She hopes that audiences will get behind the piece, (and the women in play) and urges audiences to come along and see the show.

“Let’s have a night hanging with some hilarious, deeply intelligent and beautiful characters on stage. Let’s keep opening our eyes to the extraordinary range of humans that exist in our world – and have a damn good laugh while we do it!”

Billington reflects on her own coming out and the role representation played in that process. Like many young lesbians in the 1990s, Billington was watching Xena: Warrior Princess, and wasn’t even fully aware why. “If you’d have asked me why, I would have told you that I thought the ‘friendship’ between Xena and Gabrielle was beautiful and that one day, I’d love to have a friend as close to me as Xena was to Gabrielle”.

While times have certainly progressed and queer audiences don’t have to settle for subtext alone, the importance of representation remains. Billington reminds us that “The sense of belonging and inclusion this speaks to in our LGBT+ youth saves lives. The privilege to give life to these characters (in my particular case, to Bri) isn’t lost on me. Somewhere in the audience, may be a young girl, Omg, of course she totes knows all about #queerlyfe, like, duh, she’s beyond labels anyway… but this show might just depict a new way of viewing the world, a new structure she hadn’t considered before… a new level of friendship and compassion and queer-family-love that she’d never seen before… until now. ” Davidson Gluyas adds, that: “five women discussing their lives on stage, though seemingly innocuous, is a radical act.

There still isn’t gender parity across the board in our storytelling, and it’s still rare to see queer theatre productions that centre on women’s lives.”

With tickets from $25 and one performance Auslan interpreted, Davidson Gluyas hopes that the show is accessible for the community, and that audiences who may at other times find theatre prohibitive because it’s too expensive or doesn’t speak to them, will feel encouraged to attend and will feel included in this ‘bed party’.