Merrigong launches 2014 Season

Stars_Paul JonesMerrigong Theatre Company has launched its 2014 Season, a diverse and thrilling year of theatre that promises to ignite the imaginations of audiences in Wollongong and surrounds.

Highlights include a brand new social comedy from Australian theatre royalty, one of New Zealand’s most successful musicals of all time, a circus festival, a new collaboration between Sydney Theatre Company and the Australian Defence Force, and a show where audience members are transformed into restaurant guests.

“This year’s Season is a fantastic collection of shows,” says Simon Hinton, Artistic Director / CEO of Merrigong Theatre Company.

“And while there’s a huge amount of diversity that audiences can look forward to, the thing that connects all the shows is that they’re all great works of imagination. This is a Season filled with great stories, from great imaginations.”

The Season opens with a work that has at its heart our most unfettered imagination – our dreams. Merrigong’s own production, The Man Who Dreamt the Stars is a work that imagines how our dreams can free us from our limitations. This exciting new work is being produced in association with The Disability Trust, and features an ensemble of performers, some of whom are perceived to have intellectual disabilities.

After becoming the hottest ticket ever at the Auckland Arts Festival, New Zealand’s most acclaimed new musical is heading across the ditch. Like a Pacific Island version of Bran Nue Dae (with a fair dose of Hairspray thrown in for good measure!) Kila Kokonut Krew’s The Factory – a large-scale, hugely entertaining and pitch-perfect musical that is a must see for all musical fans.

Multi-award-winning playwright Daniel Keene’s work with brave members of our defence forces will be showcased in the Sydney Theatre Company and Australian Defence Force co-production The Long Way Home.

Reflecting the ADF’s recent experiences on operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor as well as humanitarian and disaster relief, this powerful piece of theatre will star military personnel recovering from physical and psychological injuries alongside professional actors as part of a broader rehabilitation program that aims to assist their recovery.

The State Theatre Company of South Australia brings us a true theatrical gem, Oscar Wilde’s brilliant and much-loved comedy of love, manners and mistaken identity, The Importance of Being Earnest. Starring Nancye Hayes OAM as the formidable Lady Bracknell, this new production will delight fans and newcomers alike.

Legendary Australian playwright David Williamson makes a welcome return to Wollongong, this time not only writing, but also directing a cast of some of Australia’s favourite actors including Henri Szeps, Helen Dallimore and Peter Phelps in his latest satirical comedy set aboard a cruise liner, Cruise Control.

Wollongong audiences will finally have the chance to see what all the fuss is about as new work from Australian theatre’s enfant terrible, innovative young writer/director Simon Stone, is presented in Wollongong for the first time.

In the Belvoir and Malthouse Theatre co-production The Government Inspector, Simon Stone and co. will transform the 19th century masterwork from Russian dramatist Nikolai Gogol into a modern Australian tale of the ridiculous depth to which bureaucracy sinks when it collides with self-interest and greed.

Always an audience favourite, Bell Shakespeare returns with a fast, funny and family-friendly reawakening of Shakespeare’s classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream, titled simply The Dream.

Continuing their excellent reputation for touring great quality international work, Merrigong will tour Canadian Baba Brinkman’s Edinburgh Festival and Off-Broadway hit The Rap Guide to Evolution to venues around the country, including a season at the Sydney Opera House. Wollongong audiences will get to see this astoundingly original and dazzlingly intelligent fusion of evolutionary science and hip hop in June.

Families with children of all ages are well catered for, with several family-friendly events including the Darwin Festival hit, Wulamanayuwi and the Seven Pamanui, which brings a Tiwi Island twist to the Brothers Grimm, and the new touring production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute by Oz Opera.

There is also plenty of creative activity for kids during the April, July and September holidays, with a range of shows and events held as part of Merrigong’s School Holidays at IPAC program, which includes the hit stage adaptation of Andy Griffith’s best-selling book The 13-Storey Treehouse, goofball extraordinaires The Listies, and a quirky musical adaptation of the popular children’s book Pete the Sheep.

For more information and full program, visit: www.merrigong.com.au for details.

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