Vieux Carré image

Vieux Carré

by Tennessee Williams

Sex, art and the search for connection.

A young man leaves his family and hometown to broaden his horizons. Nothing unusual in that. But, when the young man is Tennessee Williams and the horizon is the French Quarter of New Orleans, the result is a visceral and enthralling portrait of the formative years of one of the world’s greatest artists.

Taking lodging in a boarding house at 722 Toulouse, run by the domineering Mrs. Wire, our innocent writer discovers a world the tourists never see. Behind the iron lacework and grand facades of the Vieux Carré, he witnesses the lives of the other tenants and their longings, depravities and hunger for human connection. But he learns that being a voyeur does not exempt him from the pain of desire, as he falls for the beautiful young drifter who tempts him to journey west…

A candid, revealing and deeply personal work, Vieux Carré was begun in the 1930’s and completed over 40 years later. Uncensored and unrestrained, Williams lifts the veil on the brutalities of life whilst never losing his characteristic black humour. Ultimately, he invites us all to compassion and to celebrate life while there is still life in us.

Featuring an outstanding cast and some of Melbourne’s most talented blues musicians, this production draws on the rich musical traditions of New Orleans jazz and blues to evoke the rich and sultry landscape of the French Quarter.


‘A rare classic performed with real finesse. Highly recommended.’
Theatre Press , January 2013
‘Each performer brings something unique and watchable.’
Aussie Theatre , January 2013
‘A crepuscular sense of Southern heat and decay. Director Alice Bishop has a sensitive ear for the fluid cadences in Williams' work.’
The Age , January 2013
‘Full marks must go to Alice Bishop, as director of this rich and satisfying production of Vieux Carré by Tennessee Williams.’
Stage Whispers , January 2013
‘A strong cast and direction admirably explore the themes of entrapment, loneliness and the quest to gain more out of life.’
Theatre People , January 2013
‘A must-see for theatre lovers who miss the extensiveness of story and focus on language so often lacking in modern drama.’
InPress , January 2013


Production History

In January 2013, ITCH Productions presented the Australian Premiere of Vieux Carré by Tennessee Williams at fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne as a premier event in the 25th Midsumma Festival. The show ran for 16 performances from Thursday 16th January to Sunday 3rd February. It was a sell-out season.

Cast & Creative Team


  • Thomas Blackburne
  • Josh Blau
  • Des Fleming
  • Maureen Hartley
  • Samantha Murray
  • Kelly Nash
  • Brenda Palmer
  • Dallas Palmer
  • Francesca Waters
  • Stephen Whittaker

Creative Team

  • Director Alice Bishop
  • Music & Composition Nat Grant
  • Music & Composition Bob McGowan
  • Lighting Design John Dutton
  • Set Design Alexandra Hiller
  • Costume Design Alice Bishop
  • Stage Manager Harriet Gregory
  • Photography Julian Dolman
  • Video Production Caramel Creative
  • Producer Des Fleming