Melbourne Theatre Company announces 2018 Season

MTC Twelfth Night Geoffrey Rush - photo by Justin RidlerMelbourne Theatre Company Artistic Director Brett Sheehy AO has revealed MTC’s 2018 Season in what promises to be another brilliant year at Victoria’s state theatre company.

Melbourne Theatre Company is where stories come alive and Season 2018 is bursting with plays as relevant, irresistible and complex as any we have presented in recent years,” said Mr Sheehy. “The 13 productions headed for our stages will inspire, entertain and challenge in equal measure and are guaranteed to leave audiences thinking about the world a little differently.”

“The year begins and ends with two major events on Australia’s cultural calendar and in between we have an enviable mix of world premieres, Australian premieres and fresh revivals of theatre classics – made even more irresistible by the host of exceptional actors, directors and creative teams assembled to bring them to life.”

To open the season, MTC and Arts Centre Melbourne present the Australian premiere of National Theatre’s legendary production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon’s bestselling book, and directed by Tony Award winner Marianne Elliott.

Pamela Rabe, Sarah Peirse and William Zappa star in MTC and Sydney Theatre Company’s Australian premiere co-production of The Children by Lucy Kirkwood – an incisive drama about the responsibility each generation faces in leaving a better world for those that follow – directed by MTC Associate Director Sarah Goodes.

Director Stephen Nicolazzo brings 70s British suburbia to Southbank Theatre with a lavish revival of Mike Leigh’s cult-classic, Abigail’s Party – starring Eryn Jean Norvill as Beverly and Daniel Frederiksen as her husband Laurence alongside Katherine Tonkin and Benjamin Rigby.

Hungry Ghosts by Jean Tong receives its world premiere for MTC Education exploring issues of cultural and sexual identity, politics, corruption and the often-confusing world we must navigate every day starring Emina Ashman and Jing-Xuan Chan, directed by Petra Kalive.

Olivier Award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett’s darkly comic twist on the Edward Snowden story, Wild makes its Australian premiere starring Anna Lise Phillips, directed by MTC Associate Director Dean Bryant.

The House of Bernarda Alba sees celebrated playwright Patricia Cornelius take Spanish dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca’s classic tragedy out of the villages of Spain and into the heat of rural Western Australia in a raw and exhilarating adaptation directed by Leticia Cáceres, starring Peta Brady, Julie Forsyth, Bessie Holland and Melita Jurisic.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s blistering satire and Pulitzer Prize finalist Gloria makes its Australian premiere under the direction of Lee Lewis, starring stage and screen favourite Lisa McCune in the title role alongside Callan Colley, Aileen Huynh and Sophie Ross.

Directed by Dean Bryant, Gina Riley and William McInnes lead an all-star cast including Simon Gleeson, Brent Hill, Michelle Lim Davidson, Zindzi Okenyo and Christie Whelan Browne in Oscar Wilde’s effervescent society drama, An Ideal Husband.

The audaciously titled A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath makes its Australian premiere, continuing Ibsen’s story – 15 years later – with an intriguing and decidedly modern perspective starring Marta Dusseldorp as Nora, opposite Greg Stone as her husband Torvald, directed by Sarah Goodes.

The world premiere NEON NEXT commission Working with Children takes on the sometimes hypocritical lives of teachers, artists and regulators in an emotionally evocative and technologically inventive production written, directed and performed by Nicola Gunn.

Directed by Peter Houghton, Linda Cropper stars as the feisty but fiercely determined Helen in the world premiere of Aidan Fennessy’s surprising, suspenseful and deeply poignant story of two unlikely companions, The Architect.

Elaine Crombie, Kamil Ellis, Tony Nikolakopoulos and Calen Tassone star in the world premiere of Astroman by Albert Belz – an uplifting and humorous coming of age story set in 1980s Geelong, directed by Sarah Goodes with Tony Briggs as Associate Director.

And to close MTC’s 2018 Season, stage and screen luminary Geoffrey Rush reunites with director Simon Phillips to star as Malvolio in Shakespeare’s exquisite comedy, Twelfth Night – alongside a cast of comic talents including Brent Hill, Richard Piper, Christie Whelan Browne and Frank Woodley.

“Season 2018 is abundant in the urgency and relevance, or indeed renewed relevance, of its stories, and it is with great pleasure that we embark on the year ahead together with our artists and audiences,” said Mr Sheehy. “Every year I am heartened by the enthusiasm, passion and generosity of those who embrace the art on our stages in such great numbers.”

“As we look to 2018 and everything on offer – our productions, programs and initiatives – we are proud to be a company that provides the people of Melbourne, Victoria and Australia with such remarkable experiences and opportunities. I look forward to sharing the year with the many thousands who make up our MTC community.”

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Image: Geoffrey Rush stars in Twelfth Night – photo by Justin Ridler