Malthouse Theatre announces 2018 Season

Malthouse Theatre Bliss Mark Leonard WinterFrom a planet on a collision course to wipe out all of humanity to an Ad Man’s controversial vision of purgatory, an Indigenous superhero on a mission to one of the most notorious plays of the last century, Malthouse Theatre’s Season 2018 will present a series of epic confessions, hilariously mad entanglements and beautiful consequences including:

The world premiere of the stage production of Lars von Trier’s epic film Melancholia; a theatrical adaptation of Peter Carey’s Miles Franklin Award winning novel Bliss; the Australian premiere of A Pacifist’s Guide To The War on Cancer from boundary-breaking artist Bryony Kimmings; Jada Alberts’ break-out play Brothers Wreck; Blackie Blackie Brown – a superhero comic book spectacle by Nakkiah Lui; the world premiere of Trustees by Belarusian ‘enemies of the state’ Belarus Free Theatre, and the unflinching revival of UK playwright Sarah Kane’s controversial play Blasted.

Announcing the 2018 Season at The Coopers Malthouse on Thursday evening, Artistic Director and Co-CEO, Matthew Lutton says, “It is incredibly exciting to be premiering premiering so many exciting new works from the wild imaginations of writers Osamah Sami, Michele Lee, Jada Alberts and Nakkiah Lui. We also continue our collaborations with teams of artists who create out-spoken political work, including Sydney-based collective post, and the international rule-breakers, Belarus Free Theatre.”

Season 2018 sees Malthouse Theatre collaborate with some of Australia’s leading artists including: Mark Leonard Winter, Andrea Demetriades, Osamah Sami, Jada Alberts, Declan Greene, Eryn Jean Norvill, Leeanna Walsman, Nakkiah Lui, Zoe? Coombs Marr, Anne-Louise Sarks, Sharri Sebbens, and Michele Lee alongside international artists Bryony Kimmings (UK), Maddie Rice (UK) Natalia Kaliada (BLR) and Nicolai Khalezin (BLR).

In another stellar production from the team behind Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Real and Imagined History of The Elephant Man, comes the theatrical adaptation of Peter Carey’s Miles Franklin Award winning novel Bliss. A co-production with Belvoir, the world premiere of this hallucinatory ride from suburbia to the asylum will be directed by Matthew Lutton, and will feature Mark Leonard Winter as Harry Joy alongside Marco Chiappi, Amber McMahon, Anna Samson and Mark Coles Smith.

“Peter Carey’s vision of Australia is brilliantly eccentric and theatrical. Harry Joy’s quest to ‘be good’ in a country that resembles a fluorescent hell, is one that could only be pulled off by an actor with the charisma and danger of Mark Leonard Winter,” says Lutton.

Complicité, the UK-based theatre company behind Malthouse Theatre’s 2017 smash hit The Encounter, team up with boundary-breaking artist Bryony Kimmings for the Australian premiere of A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer – an uproarious and moving show about newfound friendships, pain and death, mundane treatment cycles, hairlessness and scars… with songs.

Lars von Trier’s epic cinematic masterpiece Melancholia will be reimagined for the stage by ground-breaking playwright Declan Greene. At a wedding amidst corsages, canapes and Clicquot, two sisters take it in turns to suffer a psychological crisis as a wayward planet dubbed Melancholia hurtles toward earth. Matthew Lutton directs actors Eryn Jean Norvill and Leeanna Walsman as two powerful women facing off against the apocalypse.

“Von Trier’s film is an epic and hugely emotional story, that sees two sisters pushed to the limits of caring for each other,” says Lutton. “By bringing the planet Melancholia crashing onto our Merlyn Theatre stage, this production marks the beginning of a new series of theatrical adaptations at Malthouse Theatre that we look forward to continuing for many years to come.’

Sarah Kane’s highly provocative and shocking play Blasted was described by The Guardian as one of the ‘most notorious plays of the last century.’ Starring Andrea Demetriades (Janet King and Seven Types of Ambiguity) and directed by Anne-Louise Sarks (The Testament of Mary), Blasted will provide Malthouse Theatre audiences with a chance to experience the power and controversy of Sarah Kane and the play that shook the world.

Illegal theatre company, Belarus Free Theatre will join forces with a fierce team of Australian theatre-makers to present the world premiere of Trustees – a furious and insightful work about the mechanics of authority, self-censorship and freedom of speech in Australia. This explosive new work features five of Australia’s extraordinary performers including Gregory Fryer, Sophie Ross, Niharika Senapati, Hazem Shammas and Daniel Schlusser.

During the reign of the Soviet Union, Belarusians were prohibited from wearing jeans or listening to rock music. Two decades after the Union’s collapse, buying or selling these rare tokens of the ‘free world’ can still get you arrested. For only three performances, Belarus Free Theatre will present the Australian premiere of Generation Jeans, their critically acclaimed duologue between an actor and a DJ, about jeans, rock music and freedom.

Under the direction of Janice Muller, award-winning writer, actor and comedian Osamah Sami brings to Malthouse Theatre, the stage adaptation of his critically acclaimed memoir, Good Muslim Boy – a hilarious and heartbreaking story of a young man wrestling with his father’s legacy and what it means to be a ‘good Muslim’.

Malthouse Theatre brings Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s (the UK-based star of the Netflix series Crashing) award-winning comedy show Fleabag to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, to serve up a hilarious account of one woman’s daily struggle to be a functional human being. In a no-holds barred monologue that spawned a six-part BBC sitcom, Fleabag will be performed by Maddie Rice (UK).

The unstoppable Nakkiah Lui and the brilliantly subversive Declan Greene team up for the world premiere of Blackie Blackie Brown: The Traditional Owner of Death. When archaeologist Dr. Jacqueline Brown unearths a mystical skull from a mass grave, she transforms into arse-kicking Indigenous superhero Blackie Blackie Brown. Her mission: to track down every last descendant of the men who killed her ancestors and have her revenge.

Australian-Hmong playwright and author Michele Lee makes her Malthouse Theatre stage debut with the world premiere of Going Down – a hilarious Sex and The City inspired romp through the neighbourhoods of Melbourne. A co-production with Sydney Theatre Company, this sidesplitting comedy will be directed by Leticia Cáceres.

In this powerful production of her break-out first play, Jada Alberts transports us to her hometown in Darwin with the Melbourne premiere of Brothers Wreck – a gut-wrenching portrayal of a grief-stricken family whose love for each other knows no limits. When Ruben wakes to find his cousin has committed suicide, his family, little by little bring him back from the edge.

In a colossal act of self-examination, Zoe? Coombs Marr, Mish Grigor and Natalie Rose go back through 10 years of recorded personal conversations to unearth the embarrassing, the inexplicable, and the strangely profound. From first loves and birthing moans to tongue piercing and explaining the global financial crisis, Ich Nibber Dibber will see the three post women come of age and a decade of history is distilled to gleeful incomprehensibility and wild revelations.

Back by popular demand, the haunting production of Picnic at Hanging Rock returns to the Malthouse Theatre stage for an encore season. This spellbinding adaptation, which had audiences in Melbourne, Perth and Edinburgh screaming in their seats, will transfer to the UK for a season at The Barbican Centre immediately following the Melbourne encore in 2018.

“After receiving such overwhelmingly positive responses to the production in Melbourne and Edinburgh, we are excited to bring our production of Picnic at Hanging Rock back to the Malthouse stage before this Australian myth and horror story travels to London,” concluded Lutton.

Malthouse Theatre Season Passes for 2018 are on sale now. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Mark Leonard Winter stars as Harry Joy in Bliss (supplied)