Who We Are

Paris Hat was formed in 2007, the result of many months of wine and ranting by Fiona Atkin and Eliza Bateman. The company debuted with a critically acclaimed double bill of contemporary plays - David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago and Patrick Marber's Closer. After taking time off for Fiona to complete a PhD in Drama and perform as Artistic Director for Moonlight Productions, the company has now reformed in 2011 with a season of contemporary classics including Look Back in Anger and Equus. With a focus on modern drama, Paris Hat is dedicated to presenting quality productions of seminal works of Australian and international theatre. 

Fiona Atkin
Fiona has been working in theatre in Canberra for ten years, acting and directing with companies including Free Rain, HMT, NUTS, Everyman, moonlight and papermoon. Fiona co-founded Paris Hat Productions in 2007 and directed the debut double bill of Closer and Sexual Perversity in Chicago. In recent years she has directed A Streetcar Named Desire (Williams; Free Rain), Blood Wedding (Lorca; moonlight), A Lie of the Mind (Shepard; papermoon) and has appeared in Love Child (Murray-Smith; NUTS), The Laramie Project (Kaufman & the Tectonic Theatre Project; Everyman), Winnie The Pooh (Free Rain) and Alice (Tuffin & Pike after Carroll; NUTS). In 2011, Fiona will play Alison Porter in John Osborne's Look Back In Anger and direct Peter Shaffer's classic play Equus for Paris Hat. In the daylight hours, she is (still) completing a PhD on Sam Shepard at the ANU.

Cara Irvine
Cara graduated in 2009 from the ANU with a Bachelor of Arts and Honours in Drama. During her time at the ANU she was devoted to both the university and broader theatre community. Co-founder and president of the reformed National University Theatre Society in 2008 and 2009, Cara reinvented the society creating a variety of opportunities for students to experience theatre. Cara has worked with ANU Drama, moonlight, papermoon, Free Rain, Canberra Rep, NUTS and Paris Hat in a variety of roles. Cara directed and designed David Mamet's Oleanna (ANU Drama, 2009), Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (NUTS) and Winnie The Pooh (Free Rain) for which she was nominated for a CAT award for set design. She has also designed sets for a number of productions including The Odd Couple (Simon; Canberra REP), True West (Shepard; moonlight), A Lie of the Mind (Shepard; papermoon) and Blood Wedding (Lorca; moonlight). Cara's passion for theatre also extends on to the stage, where she has performed in Lovepuke (Sarkies; Street Theatre/ANU Drama), The Open Couple (Fo/Rame; NUTS), Pride & Prejudice (Jory; Free Rain), Blood Wedding, and Woyzeck (Buchner; NUTS). In 2011, Cara will direct John Osborne's classic Look Back In Anger.

Ben Williams
Since moving to Canberra in 2006, Ben has worked with numerous local theatre companies on over 15 different productions. He has graduated and moved away from Canberra twice only to move back (at least) twice. Ben has an Honours degree in Drama from the ANU. His thesis “A Little Chaos: Edward Albee and the paradox of the neo-Absurd” and his production of Albee’s The Zoo Story earned him Honours First Class. Many of Ben’s favourite roles over the past 5 years have been with the two ANU-affiliated Theatre companies (‘suspended’ by the ANU in December 2009). These include, for papermoon, Thomas in Swollen Tongues (2007) and Frankie in A Lie of the Mind (Shepard, 2009) and for moonlight, Ken in West (Berkoff, 2007), Chet/Jeep in Perfect Cowboys in Action (Mamet/Shepard, 2008), Austin in True West (Shepard, 2008) and Leonardo in Blood Wedding (Lorca, 2009). Most recently Ben played Nick in Free Rain’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Albee). In 2007 he was lucky enough to play Dan in Patrick Marber’s Closer as part of Paris Hat’s debut double bill, and is thrilled return to the company to play the monumental role of Jimmy Porter in the upcoming production of Look Back in Anger.

Eliza Bateman
Paris Hat's co-founder Eliza now lives in Melbourne. A Stage and Production Manager extraordinaire, she has unfortunately been kept out of theatres for a few years, while she has been busy defending human rights in Victoria. She is missed.