Australian Theatre Live produces their first independent season at Riverside Theatres

Rajan Velu, who is set to play Ahmed in Alex Buzo’s ‘Norm and Ahmed’

Australian Theatre Live will produce and digitally capture the critically acclaimed independent production of Norm and Ahmed with Laurence Coy & Rajan Velu. Playing in the Lennox at Riverside Theatres in Parramatta from the 15 ”“ 20th of November, the project has been made possible with the assistance of Create NSW and the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund ”“ an Australian Government initiative.

Fifty-three years since its premiere in Melbourne, Alex Buzo’s tense two hander remains alarmingly relevant, confronting issues of racism, xenophobia, female politics, cultural difference and assimilation. Now is the perfect time to discover, or rediscover, this pioneering piece of Australian theatre.

Laurence Coy, Actor says,“I think the play shines a light on our unconscious biases and on our blithe sexism. It’s a metaphor. It’s not just about our relationship with Muslims, it’s the way power is held and centred with overfed, middle-aged white men. It’s the unconscious bias towards males, towards whites, towards Christians, towards heterosexuals, towards able-bodied. That’s the ”˜norm’. That’s what people expect to hold the power in Australia. Are they the best people to hold the power? This play has been asking this for more than fifty years.”

Having spent some fifteen years and an estimated 800 performances in the shoes of the role, Laurence Coy returns to play the unpredictable and ambiguous ”˜great white’ Norm. Tongue pressed firmly in cheek, Coy describes Norm and Ahmed as “the second longest relationship” of his life. Coy looks forward to honouring the heritage of this production and paying tribute to the creatives who assembled it, while welcoming aboard new collaborators such as Rajan Velu, who is set to play Ahmed.

Having once played the role of Ahmed and worked with Alex Buzo, ATLive Creative Producer, Raj Sidhu and his co-founders Grant Dodwell and Peter Hiscock, greatly look forward to the company entering new territory with the production. “This endeavour has been a long time coming for us at ATL, and we’re thrilled to be able to establish ourselves as producers as well as capturers of live theatre”, he said.

The ATLive team is passionate about making this critically acclaimed production available to all Australians, regardless of distance, availability or affordability. Their distribution priorities will be cinemas and arts centres throughout regional and rural Australia, and for young Australians undertaking HSC Drama classes. Two performances will be followed by Q&A

sessions with the actors and creatives specifically designed to enhance the students’ understanding of the play’s social and cultural context, plus the theatrical techniques used by Buzo and the inspiration behind the play.

Says Coy,“The play hasn’t aged, its actually matured and become better with time. It deals with our big flaw in Australian culture ”“ that we’re kind of racist and we sometimes don’t think we are. But we are. And for young people to encounter that in a funny, short, really entertaining play that packs a huge punch emotionally and morally, I can’t think of a better thing for a bunch of eighteen year olds to see. This is a very important play and this filming process is going to make this play available to a whole lot more people and I couldn’t be more happy.”

Tickets are available now at

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