Pines star at the Sydney Opera House

Two Forestry Corporation pines have hit the big time with a role in the drama ‘Festen’ now being performed at the Sydney Opera House.

The 35-year-old-radiata pines from Gurnang State Forest 30 kilometres south of Oberon were carefully selected by Forestry Corporation Ian Hanrahan before they were collected by the Sydney Theatre Company and taken to a sawmill in western Sydney.

Production workshop manager for Sydney Theatre Company John Preston said the company was looking for trees that would fit a northern hemisphere setting.

‘Forestry Corporation pine trees from the central west were perfect. Gum trees in this instance would not have worked,’ he said.

The pine trees were mounted limbless on stage as part of the set for Danish drama ‘Festen’ that previewed on 5 November and will finish on 16 December in the Sydney Opera House’s Drama Theatre.

Festen is a dramatisation by David Aldridge based on a film and a play by Thomas Vinterverg, Morgan Rukov and Bo hr. Hansen set in Denmark.

Mr Preston said the production was about a wealthy businessman who was turning 60 and had gathered his nearest and dearest together to celebrate at one of his opulent country hotels.

‘However the successful calm of a prosperous family is soon disturbed. There are many unsettling undercurrents,’ he said.

‘The pines feature in a scene where one of the characters is severely dealt with.’

The Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Festen is directed by Gale Edwards and has been described by the Sunday Telegraph as ‘ … a feast of storytelling that grips like a vice for 90 minutes … Theatre at its zenith’.

It stars Tom Long, Jeremy Sims, Victoria Longley and Angela Punch McGregor, Ron Haddrick and Frank Whitten.

Media contact: Sarah Chester on 02 6036 2110 or 0417 207 669.