I Am Not Emily Dickinson 

Teatro Cortile/Theater im Hof di Bolzano

delle Erbe, 37

39100 Bolzano (Trento-Alto Adige), Italy


April 26 - May 5, 2010


Producers: Cumulus Productions/Hot Seat Productions

Actress: Elaine Hudson

Director/Lighting Designer: Jonathan Wald

Writer: Gina Schien

Set and Costume Designer: Jo Lewis 

Sound Designer: Steve Toulmin 

Split the Lark - is a group-devised solo performance about American poet Emily Dickinson, starring AFI-nominated actress Elaine Hudson.  Our presenting partner is Teatro Cortile in Bolzano, Italy, who, in collaboration with the Education Institut South Tyrol, will premiere the production in April of 2010.  The audience for that season will primarily be 17-18 year-old Italian and German students; our intention is to create a production which speaks equally to teenagers and adults.

When we set out to devise Split the Lark - we knew we didn’t want to make a Biography Channel life story, and we definitely weren’t going to have a poetry reading.  

Instead, we were determined to stay true to the essence of Emily’s writing and her soul, with all its passion and playfulness, violence and philosophy, sensuality and magic. 

To do that, we followed Emily’s own example.  Her poems don’t just put forward observations of the world, or offer insights into the workings of our minds and hearts – though they do those things with a perceptiveness and wisdom which has rarely been surpassed in the history of English literature.  

Emily’s poems achieve something more radical – they stop your mind. 


The Split The Lark Company:

Elaine Hudson

Actress Elaine Hudson graduated from NIDA in 1975.  An award-winning performer, she brings the experience, intelligence, inventiveness, emotional availability, and stage presence required for a solo performance. 

In 2009 Elaine toured to Washington and New York with Sydney Theatre Company’s A Streetcar Named Desire.  Her stage work includes roles in The Matchmaker, The Lower Depths, the Marowitz Shrew (Old Tote); A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Ghosts, Mrs Warren’s Profession, The Importance of Being Earnest (Q Theatre); Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Crucible, Away, A Doll’s House and Major Barbara (STC); The Snow Queen (Windmill Theatre Company); Mother Teresa is Dead, The Women of Lockerbie and Box and Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (Cumulus Productions); Macquarie (Historic Houses Trust); Dead Heart (NIDA Company);The Lady from Dubuque (Company 2a) Burnt Piano (Company B); Speaking in Tongues (Griffin); Lie of the Mind (Claypot Productions); Queen Christina, The American Clock, Chekhov in Yalta, War, The Woman in the Window, Singing the Lonely Heart, and Angels in America (new theatre); Mary Stuart, In the Blood and Splendour (Queensize Productions) and Vincent River(Hot Seat Productions)

Elaine won an Excellence Award for Mary Stuart at the New York International Fringe Festival 2001.

Directing work includes The Death of Peter Pan, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, Gross Indecency/the Importance of Being Earnest and Seven Little Australians (new theatre); Endgame (Lookout Theatre); The Lady from Dubuque (Downstairs Belvoir); The Man Who Came to Dinner (Genesian Theatre); King Lear (Classroom Video); Heir Raising (Factory Space) and Co-Artistic Director with Bill Conn of Page to Stage - Young Dramatists.

Elaine’s film and TV work includes Cross-Life (Sydney Film Festival), Dying Breed (Tribeca), The Disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain, Joh’s Jury (AFI nomination), All Saints, White Collar Blue, Grassroots, and Heartbreak High. 


Jonathan Wald

Director/lighting designer Jonathan Wald has extensive experience and training in devising work, as well as with new play development and classics.  Originally from the US, his directing/lighting credits there include world premiere productions at HERE and the Village Gate (NYC); a group-devised adaptation of the work of EM Forster at the Obie-award-winning Soho Rep; and a dozen other plays at venues such as the Williamstown Theatre Company.  Jonathan’s Sydney credits include directing and producing Hot Seat’s productions:  Hilda (Seymour Centre’s Best Independent Theatre series, Time Out pick), Titanic (Newtown), and Vincent River (Old Fitzroy, Sydney Morning Herald pick).  He also directed the Sydney premiere of the new Australian play Victor & Sass (new theatre), and received a 2009 Off The Shelf fellowship with Fraser St Studios.

As well as working with Robert Wilson and Forced Entertainment, Jonathan has assisted, trained with or studied physical theatre with Tony-award-winning Le Coq-trained Theatre de la Jeune Lune; Viewpoints and Suzuki with Anne Bogart and SITI Company; Zen Zen Zo; and Tony Kushner.  Additional credits include Playwrights Horizons and Circle Rep (NYC); and regionally Shakespeare Santa Cruz; The Guthrie, and The Houston Alley, where he was a spot operator for Robert Wilson’s production of Danton’s Death.

Jonathan earned his MFA at UCLA Film School, and received a Fulbright Award to study at AFTRS.  His films have played at 200 international festivals and on the Sundance Channel, and won numerous awards.  


Gina Schien

Writer Gina Schien is a graduate of the NIDA Playwrights Studio and a US MacDowell Fellow.  She has a longstanding interest in creating work about complex and compelling women, and began her collaborations with Elaine Hudson a decade ago, with Relative Comfort (new theatre, Sydney and Bailiwick Theater, Chicago.  Other productions include The Collection (Theatre Songe); The Punter’s Siren (Mardi Gras); Pulpit Rock (Short & Sweet); Cake on a Plate (Oxford and Brighton Fringe 2010); The Clerk Ascending (ABC Radio) and Charlie’s Window (Brisbane Emerge Festival).   Her short fiction and a novel have been published by Blackwattle Press, Vintage, and Blithe House Quarterly; her stories have been finalists for the Trans-Tasman Story Competition and the Alan Marshall Short Story Award, as well as being re-printed in Best Lesbian Love Stories 2004.


Jo Lewis

Production designer Jo Lewis has extensive experience in the devising and touring of theatre, dance, and visual and cross-disciplinary arts.  She spent four years as resident designer for Darc Swan Dance Company, touring all over the country.  She’s designed plays in Australia, the US, Europe and the UK, including Snatch Paradise (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), the devised one-man show Mein Freund, Orest (Theater Dschungel, Vienna) Splendour (Old Fitzroy), Silence (B Sharp, Seymour Centre), In the Blood (B Sharp), One Flea Spare (B Sharp), Tramfrau Mutter (Teatro Cortile, Italy), Mahal (Seymour Centre) and Mary Stuart, for which she won the New York Fringe Festival Award of Excellence. She is the co-founder of Queensize Productions, a company committed to producing contemporary work by women.

As a visual artist, Jo has been in a dozen exhibitions involving video, photography, sculpture, painting and sound, at venues including the National Gallery of Victoria, Glynn Palmer Gallery (NYC), Performance Space (Sydney), and the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art.  


Steve Toulmin

Sound designer, stage manager, and board operator Steve Toulmin first worked with Elaine, Jonathan, and Simon on Vincent River (Old Fitzroy).  He has experience on both traditional theatre and devised performance, and is excited to be working with non-naturalistic sound and music on Split the Lark.  Credits include sound and/or music for Scorched, The Seed (Company B), That Face (Queensland Theatre Company), Attack of the Attacking Attackers (La Boite); The Greater Plague (The Restaged Histories Project), Beyond The Neck (B Sharp & Tasmania Performs), Dealing with Clair, Hammerhead [is Dead], Arabian Night (Griffin Stablemates); No Man’s Island, Reasonable Doubt, The Age Of Consent (Old Fitzroy); Halfway There (Jute Theatre Company); Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Showtune Productions); Shakespeare’s R&J (Riverside Productions).  Future credits include Hamlet (La Boite) and Our Town (STC). 

In addition to his sound design, Steve has worked in stage management for Company B, Bell Shakespeare, Griffin Theatre Company and Riverside Theatres.  He was also the head mechanist on Bell Shakespeare's national tour of As You Like It.  Steve graduated from NIDA (Technical Production) in 2006.


Simon Stollery

Voice consultant and coach Simon Stollery has been teaching voice to performers of all ages since 1995, working in Australia and New Zealand. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University Of Western Sydney Nepean (Theatre Nepean) and a Graduate Diploma of Dramatic Art in Voice Studies from NIDA.  He was Head of Voice at the Actor’s College of Theatre and Television (ACTT); has taught for NIDA Open; and is currently Lecturer of Acting – Voice and Speech at Adelaide Centre for the Arts (ACArts).

Simon has a passion for language and a longstanding interest in exploring and experimenting with vocal expression – whether that is text, song, or sound.  Simon previously worked with Elaine Hudson and Jonathan Wald on Vincent River, and with Elaine on Angels in America.  He is excited to find compelling and contemporary way to make the Emily’s – and Elaine’s – souls accessible, immediate, and compelling to audiences.