From The Dunstan Playhouse’s stage, adorned with Victorian era dresses, the Brookman boys (CEO Rob and his son Artistic Director Geordie) revealed the State Theatre Company of South Australia’s 2015 season. Introduced under the banner of “Many Worlds in One” were nine plays they hope will continue to improve the company’s recent upswing in attendances.
“Theatre makers dive through their own worlds of experience, selecting elements to channel onto the stage while also projecting themselves into worlds that they have never experienced and attempting to channel that to the audience, at the same time”, Geordie said at the event.
“Theatre is the creation of many worlds within one. 2015 will see some of our finest artists evoke a fascinating range of worlds, characters and stories.”
The season kicks off from 20 February to 15 March with Beckett Triptych in a co-production with The Adelaide Festival. Three of Samuel Beckett’s plays (Footfalls, Eh Joe and Krapp’s Last Tape) starring Paul Blackwell, Peter Carroll and Pamela Rabe will be performed across two venues (The Scenic Workshop and Rehearsal Room) each night. Geordie will direct Footfalls while resident director Nescha Jelk will take on Krapp’s Last Tape and Corey McMahon handles Eh Joe.
From 24 April to 16 May Ray Lawler’s Australian classic Summer of the Seventeenth Doll starring Chris Pitman and Jacqy Phillips will be performed in The Dunstan Playhouse.
Following that, a collection of theatrical companies (The STCSA, Griffin Theatre Company and Windmill Theatre along with the Adelaide Festival Centre) will present a new children’s play by Kate Mulvany based on Kit Williams’ book Masquerade. Directed by Sam Strong and Lee Lewis its cast includes Kate Cheel, Helen Dallimore, Nathan O’Keefe and Zindzi Okenyo. Masquerade plays from 20 May to 31 May and will also play at the Sydney and Melbourne Festivals.
A touch of Pinter
Bound to be a highlight of the 2015 season Harold Pinter’s Betrayal runs from 24 July to 15 August in the Dunstan Playhouse. Geordie Brookman directs while Alison Bell, Nathan O’Keefe and Mark Saturno star in Pinter’s masterly aria on matters of the all-too-human heart. Betrayal will also have a run in Canberra and in a first for the STCSA; the Melbourne Theatre Company has bought this production outright.
The venal conniving of 17th century Venice appears in The Dunstan Playhouse from 21 August to 12 September in the guise of Ben Jonson’s Volpone in a new adaptation by Adelaide’s own Emily Steel. Directed by Nescha Jelk the cast includes Paul Blackwell most recently of Vere (faith).
STCSA combines with Belvoir Theatre to present the world premiere of a contemporary crime thriller Mortido by Australian playwright Angela Betzein. Mortido is directed by Leticia Cáceres and stars Colin Friels. The season runs from 16 October to 31 October.
The Popular Mechanicals
A comedy, The Popular Mechanicals, completes the season proper from 6 November to 28 November for the STCSA. Performed in the Space Theatre and directed by Sarah Giles the cast is led by Helpmann Award winner Amber McMahon.
In a ‘State Extra’ production the irrepressible Miriam Margolyes (accompanied by John Martin on piano) will perform The Importance of Being Miriam in The Dunstan Playhouse from 25 March to 29 March.
Local company Vitalstatistix in association with The STCSA will present the Torque Show production of Madame – the story of Joseph Farrugia in the Burnside Ballroom from 21 April to 2 May as part of the ‘State Umbrella’ scheme. The show is movement-based theatre about the life of adult entertainer “Madame Josephine”.
Geordie concluded the season launch saying “this season reflects a growing certainty from us as a company about the type of theatre we want to make and the type of theatre we want to bring to audiences.” The statement is curious, as there is some uncertainty over the future of the company. The sting in the 2015 season and beyond is all in the details as the STCSA seems bent on the path to privatisation.
There is no question the Brookmans, despite any follies and faults, have proved themselves innovative, energetic and popular but privatising the STCSA is cause for some consternation in the local arts community and the philosophy seems strangely at odds with the reality – no mention was made of the loss of yet another corporate sponsor.
Considering the mundane (and historically debunked) arguments put forward in favour of privatisation (everybody else is doing it/services will go up and costs will go down) it’s quite conceivable the Brookmans are just following orders so perhaps the final decision has already been made.