“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, they clean, they sing, they 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 the suppression of the past.

Fallen was developed with the support of Playwriting Australia and the National Script Workshop 2016. Additional support has come from Women in Theatre & Screen (WITS), Victorian College of the Arts, and the Abbotsford Convent Foundation’s Spiritous program.

“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 ★★★★

“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.”
— 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