TW Ghosts Kira May Samu (background) and Laura Iris Hill photo by Steven Mitchell WrightThis Winter, Theatre Works invites audiences to dive into the hauntingly beautiful world of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts.

A scathing commentary on 19th-century morality, when first staged in 1882, Ghosts was bitterly criticised and attacked for the taboo topics it spotlit. In this gripping drama audiences join Mrs. Alving as she tries to shield her son from the truth of their family’s past.

But as ghostly secrets unravel, they are forced to confront the reality of their lives. Flawlessly shrouded in deception and duty, Ghosts is a journey through the shadows of hidden sins, and a quest for truth in pursuit of joy.

Masterfully adapted by Jodi Gallagher and brought to life through the visionary direction of Steven Mitchell Wright, this new production takes a recognised Scandinavian sitting-room drama and grafts it to the Australian landscape of the late 1800s.

A dynamic fusion of Ibsen’s classic structure with contemporary form and convention, this highly anticipated season will break new ground by also weaving in a tapestry of digital media that will bridge time, space, and consciousness.

“Ibsen was a staunch advocate of theatrical naturalism, keen on capturing the real, the everyday, and the nuanced dynamics of human relationships on stage,” says Director Steven Mitchell Wright.

“While I deeply respect that, I find myself drawn to forms that challenge and even rebel against the priorities of naturalistic theatre. It’s about probing the limits of what theatre can convey and how stories resonate with audiences beyond the boundaries of realism.

“Embarking on Ghosts wasn’t just about the artistic journey; it was a personal challenge. Could we reinvigorate this classic? Could we make it resonate with today’s audience? That challenge, that opportunity for creative and technical growth, was utterly compelling,” said Steven Mitchell Wright.

This production will be Wright’s second Ibsen season with his first, the brilliantly reimagined A Doll’s House, headlining Brisbane Festival with La Boite Theatre Company – winning multiple Matilda Awards.

While staying true to the spirit of Ibsen’s work, this adaptation by Jodi Gallagher also boasts a contemporary, relevant script that marries poeticism with accessibility.

“I’ve never adapted this kind of canonical play before,” says writer Jodi Gallagher. “I’ve found it wonderfully challenging. It’s been a wrestling match for me – between fidelity to what I perceive as Ibsen’s intention, and shaping the text into something more contemporary. Adaptation is such a subjective thing.”

“Today’s headlines echo ancient conflicts, the current obsession with trauma theory – all of these things were in my head as I worked through the writing. With this production, even as we flip the location – goodbye fjords, hello red
earth emptiness – it was incredibly important to still place the text in that late nineteenth century zeitgeist.”

With a design influenced by the work of artists like Gertrude Abercrombie, Charles Baudelaire, and Metallica, this latest reimagining invites audiences into a world where the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

Bringing together a remarkable team of cast and creatives that includes lighting and video design by Aron Murray and composition and sound by Leahannah Ceff, Melbourne theatre lovers can expect a visually stunning, emotionally charged experience that stays true to the spirit of Ibsen while resonating with contemporary audiences.

Director & Designer: Steven Mitchell Wright | Featuring: Laura Hill, Phillip Hayden, Gabriel Cali, Oliver Cowan, Kira Samu | Lighting & Video Design: Aron Murray | Composition & Sound Design: Leahannah Ceff | Adaptation: Jodi Gallagher (after Henrik Ibsen) | Producer: Belle Hansen

Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Season: 1 – 15 June 2024 (previews: 30 – 31 May)
Information and Bookings:

Image: Kira May Samu (background) and Laura Iris Hill – photo by Steven Mitchell Wright