The Sydney Theatre Company has announced a stellar 2010 season, highlighted by one of the finest casts ever assembled for a play in Australia – Cate Blanchett, John Bell, Richard Roxburgh and Hugh Weaving all together in Uncle Vanya.
Of the 12 Main Stage shows, four are at Sydney Theatre, Walsh Bay:
Spring Awakening. Based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial 1891 play, when this hard-driving rock sensation was first presented on Broadway, Spring Awakening won over even the harshest critics of music theatre. Directed by Geordie Brookman (Metro Street, Baghdad Wedding) with choreography by Kate Champion, the smash-hit phenomenon of teenage angst boasts exceptional young performers, many of whom have been cast through open auditions.
Long Day’s Journey Into Night. William Hurt and Robyn Nevin lead a cast of Australian and US actors performing in Eugene O’Neill’sLong Day’s Journey Into Night, a scorching portrait of a family haunted by shadows of the past and paralysed by the prospect of the future. A co-production with Artists Repertory Theatre, Andrew Upton’s production also tours to Portland, Oregon.
August: Osage County. America’s greatest theatre ensemble, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, present their internationally-renowned originating production of the Pulitzer and Tony-Award winning August: Osage County by Tracy Letts – at once an entertaining, funny, meticulously detailed and deeply moving epic tale of familial dysfunction.
Uncle Vanya. One of the finest casts ever assembled on the Australian stage including John Bell, Richard Roxburgh and Hugo Weaving join Co-Artistic Director Cate Blanchett to bring to life Anton Chekhov’s breathtaking play of exceptional warmth, humour and insight, Uncle Vanya, in a new adaptation by Andrew Upton.
Sydney Theatre Company is also Resident Drama Company at the Sydney Opera House Drama Theatre, where it will present four plays:
Optimism. Associate Director Tom Wright transforms Voltaire’s classic satire of enlightened insanity, Candide, into a cutting commentary on the noworries bravura of the Australian swagger. Directed by Michael Kantor, Optimism is co-produced with Sydney Festival, Melbourne’s Malthouse and Edinburgh International Festival where it opened the theatre program in 2009, winning a prestigious Herald Angel Award for Frank Woodley.
Honour. Joanna Murray-Smith’s Honour spins a horribly familiar tale around the breakdown of a long marriage, but her fiercely intelligent work is imbued with freshness and insight, wit and compassion. With director Lee Lewis and actors Paula Arundell, Wendy Hughes and William Zappa she questions the very nature of love and ask if it can it endure the terrible dichotomy between passion and perseverance? The production also tours to Canberra.
Our Town. Our Town, Thornton Wilder’s 1938 Pulitzer Prize winning play makes an affecting philosophical case for relishing life in the here and now. Heartwarming and humorous, it focuses on the touchstones of the everyday life; birth, courtship, marriage and death. Rarely seen in Australia, director Iain Sinclair and a cast including Darren Gilshenan, Anita Hegh and Susan Prior explore this quintessential American classic anew.
The Grenade. The Grenade is the latest hilarious romp from indomitable comic playwright, Tony McNamara (The Great, The Give and Take). Directed by regular collaborator, Peter Evans for Melbourne Theatre Company and featuring Garry McDonald, this is a whodunit comedy of fidelity, marriage and inter-generational relationships, which mercilessly satirises our national obsession with security.
In Wharf 1 at the Company’s home base at The Wharf on Sydney Harbour there are four Main Stage Shows:
Stockholm. Directors and Choreographers Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett of British physical theatre innovators Frantic Assembly work with an Australian cast in the mesmerising Stockholm by Bryony Lavery. Using a unique approach that combines dance, music, design, and text to dramatise a relationship that is founded on co-dependency, obsession and abuse, the show also tours to Parramatta and Brisbane.
Oresteia. Oresteia, the momentous trilogy of Greek tragedies by Aeschylus, has been condensed into one heart-stopping evening of theatre, adapted and directed by Tom Wright. The Company’s permanent ensemble of actors, The Residents inject new life into a treasured classic.
The Trial. Rising star Matthew Lutton directs John Gaden and Ewen Leslie in Louise Fox’s new adaptation of Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial. The indefinable, elusive and mysterious power of Kafka’s wit, clowning, farce and obsession with the erotic, is mined to the full in this partnership with ThinIce – also touring to Perth and Melbourne.
True West. In this deliciously dark and ferociously funny play of duality, Sam Shepard takes a hard look the great American Dream. From the romanticised frontiers of the West to the perceived tranquillity of picket-fenced suburbia, True West suggests that a nation obsessed with illusion will find its dreams fiercely pursued by disappointment. Philip Seymour Hoffman returns to the Company to direct a cast including Wayne Blair.
Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett’s Next Stage program is where emerging and pioneering artists feature, geared towards offering different types of experiences for audiences. In 2010 The Residents team up with Adelaide’s Border Project (Highway Rock ‘n’ Roll Disaster) to create a radical new version of the play that spawned a legacy of theatrical superstition: Shakespeare’s Macbeth. There’s another collaboration with Griffin Theatre Company, following 2009’s Concussion, this time for Anthony Weigh’s new play, Like a Fishbone.
Also in Wharf 1, in partnership with Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP), will be Tusk Tusk, a remarkable new drama by Polly Stenham. Next Stage will also welcome Melbourne-based collective, The Suitcase Royale, with The Ballad of Backbone Joe.
In 2010, the Company’s education program, STC Ed, will present an extensive program of productions specially created by STC and on offer from around Australia. There’s riotous fun with Martin McDonagh’s Irish comedy The Beauty Queen of Leenane directed by Cristabel Sved, terrible twins cause trouble in Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors performed by The Residents directed by Charmian Gradwell, and Arena Theatre Company’s Mr Freezy comes to town.
Nyuntu Ngali (You We Two) is presented in partnership with Windmill and Big hArt and in partnership with Zeal Theatre, STC Ed’s Burnt tours regional NSW as part of The People of The Soil project. Actor On A Box, STC’s intimate storytelling for children 3 years and up and the Company’s School Drama program developed in partnership with primary schools with the aim at increasing literacy, will also be expanded in 2010.