Queensland Theatre’s new artistic director Sam Strong makes his Black Swan directorial debut with Michael Gow’s Once In Royal David’s City. After opening in Sydney to critical acclaim it is now primed for its WA premiere season from 25 March, before heading to Brisbane from 22 April 2017.
Michael Gow, most famed for his work Away (1986), explores the nuances of our society, how we live, why we act and are there any words that can really make sense of it all. In the words of Dr Julius Sumner Miller – Why is it so? At once intimate and sweeping, balancing warmth with wrath, Once In Royal David’s City is a life-affirming story about family, loss, purpose, politics, and the endless possibilities of art.
Brecht-obsessed theatre director Will returns to Bondi Beach for Christmas to recharge and spend some quality time with his mother. But when she falls ill he begins to question his role as an artist, a son and his place in a world where his dreams and ambitions appear forsaken.
Director Sam Strong believes Once in Royal David’s City is one of those rare plays, those rare experiences in a theatre that has equal amounts head and equal amounts heart. “This is a play that makes you think, as much as it makes you feel,” he says. “It is a very personal intimate work about the challenges of saying goodbye to a parent, but it is also a grand epic work about life, art and the universe.”
With extensive writing credits for stage, screen and radio, Michael Gow is a much-loved award-winning Australian playwright and director. His plays include Away, Toy Symphony, The Kid, On Top of the World, Europe, Sweet Phoebe, Live Acts on Stage, 17 (for the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain), and Once in Royal David’s City. His plays have been performed in Poland, the Czech Republic, Vietnam, Japan and all over the US.
Michael has been Associate Director of Sydney Theatre Company and Artistic Director of the Queensland Theatre Company. He has directed for all the major Australian theatre companies as well as Opera Australia, Australian Theatre for Young People and the Lincoln Centre’s New Visions New Voices programme. His awards include two NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, two Sydney Theatre Critics Circle Awards and an AFI Award for writing the ABC miniseries Eden’s Lost.
“Gow’s insights into the act of theatre are reason enough to see Once in Royal David’s City…you will find yourself moved and even stirred by this querulous, piercing play…” – The Sydney Morning Herald
Director: Sam Strong Featuring: Adam Booth, Penny Everingham, Emma Jackson, Jason Klarwein, Toni Scanlan, Adam Sollis, Kaye Stevenson, Steve Turner Designer: Stephen Curtis Composer/Sound Designer: Ash Gibson Greig Choreographer: Nerida Matthaei Lighting Designer: Matt Scott
Once In Royal David’s City
Heath Ledger Theatre – State Theatre Centre of WA, William Street, Perth
Season: 29 March – 9 April 2017 (previews: 25 – 28 March)
Information and Bookings: www.bsstc.com.au
Playhouse – QPAC, Cultural Precinct, South Bank
Season: 27 April – 14 May 2017 (previews: 22 – 26 April)
Information and Bookings: www.queenslandtheatre.com.au
Image: Adam Booth and Jason Klarwein feature in Once in Royal David’s City – photo by Robert Frith