Wayside Brides

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“People think of the Wayside Chapel as a place that does incredible work with the homeless, which of course it does,” says Wayside Bride’s playwright. “But it actually does weddings and christenings and funerals and all the other things that conventional churches do.”

The play was commissioned and developed by Belvoir with the assistance of Wayside Chapel, the Noffs Foundation and the City of Sydney. Valentine put a call-out for people who had been married at Wayside, believing that “everyone has their own story about the chapel”. For Valentine, the connection was personal, too.

Noffs, the minister who founded Wayside Chapel in the mid-’60s, was known for his socially inclusive approach to the ministry, and for his work with those experiencing homelessness, drug addiction and mental health issues.

The chapel wed couples that other venues and ministers wouldn’t – whether because they were interracial or interfaith marriages, or because they’d previously been married. Valentine believes these stories continue to be relevant today.

“The play shows how the church charged Ted with heresy for some of the beliefs we now take for granted. And some of those beliefs actually haven’t changed in the mainstream churches. As a lesbian I still can’t get married in a number of churches … So things have changed in some ways. But in others, they haven’t.”

Belvoir Theatre

  • DATES2 APR – 29 MAY 22

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