Queensland Theatre reveals 2023 Season line-up

Queensland-Theatre-2023-SeasonIt’s time for some fun at Queensland Theatre with the launch of the 2023 Season, a joyful selection of plays designed to bring the community together for some thrilling entertainment. Artistic Director Lee Lewis has revealed plans for the year, featuring both new and seasoned playwrights spanning a wide range of stories.

“Our 2023 Season promises moments of wild surprise, radical hope, intriguing gentleness, bliss, joy, spiritual wonder, and the warmth of being with a community of people who all love sharing great stories,” she said.

“After the speed bumps of the last two years, we’re putting our foot down on the pedal and are heading towards that light at the end of the tunnel – a huge season of inspiring plays.”

“We’re bringing space travel, balloons, shepherds, ninjas, great love, cups of tea, ghosts, cowboys, samosas, mysteries, school lunches and deep friendships. These plays are created by directors who love using their theatre magic to ensure you never want to look away… We aim to put many smiles on your faces!” said Lee Lewis.

To kick things off with a smile, David Williamson’s wickedly funny Family Values will open on 28 January. Directed by Lee Lewis with Peter Kowitz (Supernova, Crownies) as the beleaguered patriarch, Williamson’s play tackles controversial issues with the heated tension only family gatherings can provoke. Running through to 18 February, it casts a fierce yet comical eye over deeply divisive topics with insight and wit.

Academy Award nominee Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) brings vulnerability, authenticity, and candour to the stage on 17 June with her adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s New York Times bestselling book, Tiny Beautiful Things, which runs through to 8 July.

Directed here by Lee Lewis with Mandy McElhinny (Love Child, The Glass Menagerie) in the lead role, Tiny Beautiful Things follows the life of Cheryl, a mother, writer and ex-heroin user, who now spends her days offering strangers advice by way of her adopted online identity, Sugar, an anonymous agony aunt.

“Vardalos manages to capture Cheryl’s raw vulnerability in this beautifully nuanced adaptation” noted Lewis, “We’re thrilled to be bringing this to life at Queensland Theatre and can’t wait for our audiences to experience it.”

Nathan Maynard’s groundbreaking play At What Cost? comes to Queensland Theatre from 25 May, expertly exploring themes of identity and history through the eyes of Tasmania’s First Nations community. Traversing past and present, Maynard’s drama – directed by Queensland Theatre’s Artistic Associate Isaac Drandic – brings the struggles of Tasmania’s First Nations peoples to the fore as they try to protect their culture and land.

“This ambitious play from Nathan Maynard will keep audiences rapt with its passion and insight, while delving into pertinent issues affecting First Nations communities,” said Lewis.

Esteemed Shakespearean director, Damian Ryan (Taming of the Shrew) brings a contemporary twist to his adaptation of As You Like It, which runs from 15 April to 13 May. Ryan brings this energetic classic to life, injecting a new vigour into a tale of love, lust, villains and foes.

As You Like It instills an infectious sense of joy in audiences,” said Lewis. “This is Shakespeare for our times, injected with music, humour, and vivacity to lure viewers out of their shells for a joyous evening of theatre”.

After being delayed due to flood damage, Qui Nquyen’s fast-paced romance Vietgone finally opens on 4 November, rounding off the season with bucket-loads of action and a good pinch of fun.

Directed by Daniel Evans and Ngoc Phan, Vietgone follows protagonists Quang and Tong who – having met in an Arkansas arrival camp after being evacuated from the Vietnam war – travel through the dusty heart of America. Love blooms, making this a perfect rom-com for Christmas.

“Ngyuen’s action-packed play epitomises our mood for 2023 –wild, witty, and raucous”, Lee Lewis said. “It’s the perfect way to round off the season on a high.”

Another casualty of flood damage, Hannah Belanszky’s don’t ask what the bird look like, opens on 19 August after being pushed back a season. Selected as finalist for Queensland Premier’s Drama Award 2018-19, Belanszky’s story traverse’s themes of heritage and reconnection with a subtle humour as it follows city girl Joan’s journey into the remote Australian outback in search of answers about the past. Queensland Theatre’s Artistic Elder Roxanne McDonald and directs this intimate work alongside Lee Lewis.

Ryan Enniss brings his innovative play Drizzle Boy – winner of the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award 2022-23 – to the stage from 11 – 25 March. Drizzle Boy depicts life and love through the eyes of our autistic protagonist as he navigates a world that can never truly understand him. Directed by Daniel Evans, this is a story that both challenges and charms as it takes the audience on a journey through the world of neurodiversity.

Offering both cheer and warm humour is Melanie Tait’s The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race, which runs from 7 October. Tait’s comedy takes audiences straight to the heart of rural Australia, following the lives of local women Dr Penny, Nikki, Barb, and Bev as they prepare for Appleton’s annual Potato Race.

Directed by Priscilla Jackman with Rachel Gordon (The Almighty Sometimes, The Real Thing) in the cast, The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race shows that when women are determined and work together, extraordinary things can happen!

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said Queensland Theatre’s 2023 season would showcase a diverse suite of stories brought to the stage with warmth, laughter and emotion.

“A stellar line-up of performers, artists and creatives is set to bring Queensland Theatre’s 2023 season to the stage, presenting thought-provoking works including At What Cost – a ground-breaking story of identity, truth and Country, and the world premieres of don’t ask what the bird look like from an exciting new First Nations voice, Hannah Belanszky, as well as Ryan Enniss’ Drizzle Boy, winner of the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award 2022-23,” said Minister Enoch.

“Queensland Government investment in Queensland Theatre supports delivery of our ten-year roadmap, Creative Together and realises its priorities of elevating First Nations arts, driving social change, strengthening our communities, sharing our stories and celebrating our storytellers.”

Packages for the 2023 Season are now available. For more information about Queensland Theatre’s 2023 Season, visit: www.queenslandtheatre.com.au for details.

Image: Family Values, Tiny Beautiful Things, Vietgone, don’t ask what the bird look like, Drizzle Boy and The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race – courtesy of Queensland Theatre