“All locked away, you said, no one can hold it against you once it’s all locked away.”


London, 1848. Six women have been given a second chance. Their pasts behind them, they have been promised a clean slate on the other side of the world, in the new colonies of Australia.

Sealed off from the outside world, they cook, clean, sing, and sew – they practice the art of being female while they wait for their new lives to begin. But as the date of departure draws near, the women begin to wonder what reinvention will cost them. What will such promises make them do? And what about the fall yet to come, the tumble down the edge of the world to a far-away continent… 

Inspired by the history of Urania Cottage, a home for “fallen” women founded by Charles Dickens, this imaginative new Australian work asks what happens when the promise of a clean slate is built on silencing your past – and what it takes to break that silence.

“A work that should advance to bigger stages and audiences… Few works on major Australian stages are asking audiences to consider women on their own terms, in their own words.”
— Cassie Tongue, Time Out Sydney ★★★★

“Silenced stories will out, in some way, and so much of the tension created in this superb production is in the power of the unspoken.  We see the workings of the construction of the ideal feminine woman, so dependent on form and lies and silence.
— Liza Dezfouli, ArtsHub ★★★★

 “The way [the characters] are moulded into becoming more ‘feminine’ and thus more acceptable to society resonates still, and as a piece of history directly related to Australia, Fallen is fascinating.… an intriguing subject and a beautifully staged play.”
— Jo Litson, Limelight Magazine

“Van Helten successfully gives completely individual and authentic voices to the carefully-crafted characters… The message is a poignant one: The false promise of shiny new lives and fresh starts rarely succeeds in solving society’s problems.
— The Plus Ones

“A quiet mystery with depths of emotion and meaning, discoverable under surfaces of restrained tumult.”
— Suzy Goes See

Written by Seanna van Helten
Directed by Penny Harpham

Performed by Zoe Boesen, Gemma Bird Matheson, Jing-Xuan Chan, Tahlee Fereday, Artemis Ioannides, and Veronica Thomas
Set and Costume Design by Chloe Greaves
Composition and Sound Design by Clemence Williams
Lighting Design by Rachel Lee
Production Management by Adelaide Harney
Publicity by Eleanor Howlett (Sassy Red PR)

15 – 26 August, 2018
fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Fallen was developed with the support of Playwriting Australia and the National Script Workshop 2016. Additional support has come from Creative Partnerships Australia through MATCH Lab, the Australian Cultural Fund, the City of Maribyrnong, Women in Theatre & Screen, Victorian College of the Arts, and the Abbotsford Convent Foundation’s Spiritous program.

Photo credit / Sarah Walker


Production photography credit / Sarah Walker


Production photography credit / Marnya Rothe & Sport for Jove Theatre Company

Fallen premiered in a co-production between Sport for Jove Theatre Company and She Said Theatre on April 6–22, 2017, at Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre, and first performed by Lucy Goleby, Megan Holloway, Chantelle Jamieson, Abbie-lee Lewis, Moreblessing Maturure, Rebecca Montalti, and Eloise Winestock.

Costume Design/ Chloe Greaves
Set Design/ Owen Phillips
Composition & Sound Design/ Raya Slavin
Lighting Design/ Sian James-Holland
Video Design/ Michael Carmody
Stage & Production Manager/ Lillian Hannah U
Assistant Stage Manager/ Kimberley Alexander
Producers/ Anna Kennedy for She Said Theatre & Steven Tait for Sport for Jove Theatre Company