Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) Artistic Director Brett Sheehy AO has revealed the Company’s 2017 Season – a collection of works from around the world that celebrate the art of great, live storytelling.
“Season 2017 is one of our most exciting yet,” said Sheehy. “The year ahead draws together an enviable assortment of artists to present stories from France, Britain, Ireland, America, India, and, of course, Australia for a season that will bring laughter, empathy, debate and intrigue to all our lives.”
“In a season that celebrates and showcases live storytelling at its best, we are especially thrilled that four outstanding new Australian plays will have world premiere productions on our stages.”
The 2017 Season features eleven mainstage productions, an extensive Education Program and touring education production, plus a range of industry-leading initiatives including MTC’s Women in Theatre Program, NEON NEXT, MTC CONNECT and Cybec Electric.
The season opens in grand period style with Garson Kanin’s 1940s Broadway classic Born Yesterday – a screwball romance directed by MTC Associate Director Dean Bryant, starring Christie Whelan Browne and Joel Jackson. The incomparable Helen Morse and Julia Blake return to the stage alongside Ursula Mills making her MTC debut in John – the latest highly acclaimed work from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker, directed by MTC Associate Director Sarah Goodes.
Judy Davis directs Brian Friel’s enduring work of art, Faith Healer – an extraordinary creation presented in four beautifully sculpted monologues – starring Colin Friels, Pip Miller and Alison Whyte. Led by director Sarah Goodes, Catherine McClements stars in the world premiere of Three Little Words, a brand new acerbic comedy from Joanna Murray-Smith about friends, relationships and the complexities of navigating through the everyday upheavals of life.
Legendary actors Nancye Hayes, Sue Jones and Rhys McConnochie star alongside comedy favourites Virginia Gay, John Leary and Georgina Naidu in Minnie & Liraz, an hilarious offbeat story of kindly Jewish grandparents and raw ambition by the magnificent Lally Katz, directed by Anne-Louise Sarks.
Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of ambition, betrayal and murder, Macbeth, marks the hotly-anticipated return of the Bard on MTC’s stage, directed by former MTC Artistic Director Simon Phillips. Sam Strong directs an MTC and QTC co-production of Michael Frayn’s Noises Off – the shamelessly entertaining backstage farce, starring a superb ensemble cast including Simon Burke AO.
Marion Potts returns to MTC’s mainstage to direct Amelia Bullmore’s Di and Viv and Rose – a heart-warming comedy starring Nadine Garner exploring female friendship and lifelong alliance. Noël Coward’s high society classic, Hay Fever, is given a glorious new production starring Marina Prior and Simon Gleeson, directed by 2016 Helpmann Award-winning director Lee Lewis.
Damien Ryan directs theatre luminary John Bell AO in an MTC and STC co-production of The Father – a powerful, funny and deeply unsettling mystery by French literary star Florian Zeller, translated by Christopher Hampton, that transports audiences into the puzzling labyrinth of an old man’s once familiar world.
The world premiere of Vivid White, the latest creation from the wild satirical mind of Eddie Perfect about middle-class aspirations and the living nightmare that is the Australian housing market, closes MTC’s 2017 mainstage season, directed by Dean Bryant and starring Brent Hill and Verity Hunt-Ballard.
In addition to its mainstage season, MTC presents the world premiere of Melbourne Talam, a vibrant new work about three young people from India searching for belonging in Australia by Rashma N. Kalsie, as its 2017 Education production.
Also as part of MTC’s award-winning Education Program, the Company continues to offer a range of unique learning opportunities and resources to students and teachers, and the Sharing the Light initiative enters its third year providing subsidised $5 tickets to eligible students and families, scholarships for young Indigenous people and a regional tour of MTC’s Education production.
Beyond the stage, the Company continues to lead the way in creating and developing opportunities for artists to enhance their skills, test ideas and engage with MTC and Melbourne audiences alike.
In 2017 NEON NEXT focuses on artist development through dedicated creative workshops, a new Company in Residence program, and providing touring support for THE RABBLE and Sisters Grimm, while continuing to develop new works by Nicola Gunn and Daniel Schlusser.
The annual Cybec Electric play reading series celebrates the inaugural Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts (Asia TOPA) by turning its attention to Asian-Australian playwrights, and MTC’s range of artist access initiatives return including its Assistant Directors Program, MTC CONNECT and the Women in Theatre Program.
“MTC is dedicated to bringing audiences the best theatre possible and supporting the artists who make it happen,” said Sheehy. “Season 2017 is going to be a wonderful year and we look forward to welcoming many friends, old and new, on stage and in the audience, for another stellar year at Melbourne’s home of theatre.”
Subscription packages for MTC’s Season 2017 are now on sale. For more information, visit: www.mtc.com.au for details.
Image: Marina Prior stars in Noël Coward’s high society classic, Hay Fever (supplied)