Next year sees another 10-play season take to the stage, featuring huge cast names and brilliant playwrights, with a focus on female writing and directing.
“Striking a balance between celebrating local talent and bringing the best overseas plays to Sydney, as well as reprising classics and staging world premieres, 2023 has it all,” said Ensemble Artistic Director, Mark Kilmurry.
“A packed season that will take you on a journey through the full range of the human experience, from the deeply personal to outbursts of joy and laughter and great comedies along the way.”
A Broadcast Coup
26 January – 4 March
Melanie Tait’s brilliant new comedy about a cut-throat journalist taking media stars down, one at a time. Matt Backer, Amber McMahon and Sharon Millerchip teams up with director Janine Watson to present this world premiere that will spark debate and have you laughing in the aisles. In association with Sydney Festival.
Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica
10 March – 29 April
A social comedy by David Williamson with Georgie Parker and Glenn Hazeldine reprising their roles from 2010. This play follows polar opposite musicians- Monica, a violinist forced to leave the Sydney Symphony, and Gary, or Rhinestone Rex, a Tamworth country singer-turned Tradie-turned DJ. Dubbed a romantic comedy for those who don’t like romantic comedies, Directed by Mark Kilmurry this hilarious reprise will take audiences on a musical trip down memory lane.
5 May – 10 June
An Australian Premiere of the 2021 Tony Award nominated play by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage. On a long stretch of highway, Clyde’s truck-stop diner sizzles with the aroma of possibility and redemption for its formerly incarcerated kitchen staff. Directed by Darren Yap and featuring Emily Havea, this moving story of sandwiches and second chances stays with you long after you leave the theatre.
Suddenly Last Summer
15 May – 10 June
Tennessee Williams’ gothic masterpiece is as relevant today as it was when written over 60 years ago. Sebastian Venable died mysteriously last summer, with young cousin Catharine the only witness. She is desperate to reveal what really happened, but Sebastian’s mother Violet wants to stop the ugly truth from seeing the light of day. Led by Shaun Rennie with a cast including Justin Amankwah, Andrea Demetriades and Belinda Giblin, this vibrant play takes us into the poetic world of redemption and love, shadowed by the dark secrets a family can hold.
16 June – 22 July
Writer Michael Frayn explores what it is to be human in a statistically driven world, in this chillingly funny comedy set in the 1970s. Directed by Mark Kilmurry and performed by Megan Drury, Guy Edmonds, Matt Minto and Emma Palmer, the story follows prosperous couple David and Jane, and their struggling neighbours Colin and Sheila as they navigate the divisive tensions involved with the re-development of their inner-city housing project.
Mr Bailey’s Minder
28 July – 2 September
Self-loathing Leo now needs round-the-clock care after years of alcohol abuse. Enter Therese, fresh out of prison and down to her last option, who becomes Leo’s carer. Playwright Debra Oswald paints a poignant and funny portrait of what it takes to forgive and to let go. Directed by Damien Ryan with a cast including John Gaden and Claudia Ware, this play is a bold reminder that underneath the brittle veneer, there are rich layers of human experience to discover.
Summer of Harold
8 September – 14 October
Memories of 1984. London. Phil Collins on MTV. Cassette tapes. In this world premiere, Hilary Bell’s creative new play discovers our love for odd things. What is the magic that makes us possessive about objects? Directed by Francesca Savige, three stories intertwine to take us on a hilarious, poignant, and magical journey about our search for comfort and joy.
Is There Something Wrong With That Lady?
18 September – 14 October
Written and performed by the talented and hilarious Debra Oswald, she teams up with director Lee Lewis for this infectiously funny, deeply personal and totally honest exploration of the ups and downs of being a writer.
The Memory of Water
20 October – 25 November
Winner of the Olivier Award for Best Comedy, Shelagh Stephenson’s poignant comedy is about conflicting memories, life and loss. The story follows three sisters who share a common past. Midnight ice-cream sodas. Their Mum’s perfumed advice. A seaside childhood and the odd monosyllable from Dad. Where does reality end and family mythology begin? Why has sibling war broken out in their Mother’s bedroom? Why are past recollections still so with us? Directed by Rachel Chant, cast includes Nicole Da Silva.
Midnight Murder at Hamlington Hall
1 December – 14 January
Ensemble Artistic Director Mark Kilmurry and Jamie Oxenbould co-wrote this brand new story rather relevant to recent years. On the opening night of Midnight Murder at Hamlington Hall, seven of the amateur theatre company’s cast are down with the dreaded lurgy. But, thanks to the director, two remaining actors, and whoever else they can find, ‘the show must go on’. Will they manage to pull it off? Or will everything go horribly, terribly and awfully wrong?
Subscriptions for Ensemble Theatre’s 2023 season are now available. For more information, visit: www.ensemble.com.au for details – or checkout the trailer here!
Image: Emily Havea stars in Clyde’s – courtesy of Ensemble Theatre