Interview: Hits. Rebecca Meston with Samela Harris

Hits 2024Show titles don’t come much shorter.


However, when one adds A Theatrical Love Letter to the Music That Saved You and Set Your Teenage Soul On Fire, they don’t come much longer.

Playwright and director Rebecca Meston would seem to both have her cake and eat it, too, in the naming department. 

Not only but also, in this production, she’s realising a rarely realised place for women in the big wide world of popular music.


This show, destined for The Space theatre in July, has roots set in the concept of women quietly making their stand in the loud world of rock.

It was Julia Zemiro who sparked Meston's imagination. 

She recalls the way in which, at the end of the Kate Ceberano Cabaret Festival when Julia was announced as incoming to the position, Zemiro stood up on stage and said: “I'm going to direct this festival because I can”.

Meston reflected on Zemiro's irrepressible can-do career, Rock Quiz et. al., and started thinking.


“This was an idea to pursue with joy and the seed of it took on a life of its own,” she says.

“I thought of all the billboards over the years with never any female lineups."

She rattles off the names of great bands we all know and love - The Eagles, Pink Floyd - and pondered the place of women and how she could turn these thoughts into a play.


As a girl from a musically-oriented household, she was conscious of the different musical exposure the young gain from their fathers and mothers. Her observations indicate that fathers influenced with their heavy rock preferences while mothers created environments aurally adorned by easy listening and soft rock. She cites the content of popular local commercial radio stations such as Cruise FM and 5AD.

And in her musical peregrinations she thought of music festivals, of the Big Day Out, of the way in which rock gods emerged from the 1960s and 70s, those wild old days before the Internet ruled the world.


Since Meston is a playwright, as well as a teacher, creative, and mum, her big-picture view generated a central narrative character, a girl who represented the feminine ascent in pop awakening. Rhiannon. She’s just a 15-year-old girl from the burbs. 

She is Rebecca’s Alice in (the subversive) Wonderland of rock.

“It is a retro concept", explains Meston. “A love letter to the past."

It is the 1990s, prior to the ubiquitous Internet, a time of teen magazines such as Dolly.


Rhiannon's adventures begin in a record store, the real sort, those record stores of yore which had stacks of vinyls and, as Rebecca recalls, a sense that one had to impress the store staff with the sort of music one was choosing.

And, in the underground record store, she finds Suzie and a musical awakening.


Rhiannon had never met such musical denizens as Suzie before. She discovers punk in her soul. It’s wild and thrilling. And, in it, she recognises “her tribe”

Thus is the beautiful and surprising power of music

“It’s all about how music can save your soul,” says Meston.


Perchance souls will be saved, and nostalgic joys revived when Hit opens in The Space.

It features lead performers Eddie Morrison, Annabel Matheson, Emma Beech, and Ren Williams along with what Rebecca describes as her "mosh pit” of a fabulous 12-strong chorus. It has an “amazing live band", of course, along with “fabulous voices” and the “magic” of Jason Sweeney’s sound design.


“Audiences don’t often get to see this many performers on stage together because the world has become very expensive these days,” she reflects.

It won’t be in any way a quiet show but, very conscious of the different tolerances people have to volume, she has earmarked balcony seating in The Space and also sound-reducing headphones for those with delicate hearing.


“It will be joyous action including dance sequences,” she promises.

"And it will be a privilege to make people happy."


Samela Harris


When: 3 to 6 July

Where: The Space Theatre