Red Stitch Actors Theatre has announced its 2015 season which includes two world premieres and five Australian premieres, the return of a 2014 sell-out success, and branching out from its home in St Kilda with a Sydney season and a regional Victorian tour.
In her second year as Artistic Director, Ella Caldwell has curated a program that delves deep into universal themes and stories of human connection, morality and place – both in Australia and as part of the wider world – that will resonate with Melbourne audiences.
“Its a big year ahead at Red Stitch as we continue to extend and challenge ourselves as a company,” says Caldwell. “In 2015 we will premiere a variety of established and new voices from both Australian and international playwrights; we have tours and return seasons of shows that sold out during 2014. We are excited to be involved in Midsumma Festival for the first time and we have more new work in development.”
Opening the 2015 season is the Australian premiere of The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas by Dennis Kelly, and directed by Mark Wilson. Critically acclaimed during its run at The Royal Court in London, Ritual Slaughter is a darkly twisted morality fable about a nice-ish young man who ranks near the top of the bottom half who, one otherwise ordinary day, is made an unexpected offer.
Ensemble member Brett Cousins directs the Australian premiere of Wet House by Paddy Campbell – in which an idealistic young graduate faces a grim reality in a hostel for homeless alcoholics. Despair and humour sit side-by-side in a biting, insightful drama of social realism based on the playwright’s own experiences.
After a hugely successful collaboration with Melbourne International Film Festival in 2014 for The Flick – which was staged in a CBD underground cinema, Annie Baker’s acclaimed production comes home to the St Kilda venue in May. Directed once again by Nadia Tass, The Flick won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and delighted critics and audiences in Melbourne.
Denny Lawrence directs the Australian premiere of Mike Bartlett’s Love Love Love, a sharp-witted drama spanning 40 years that simultaneously skewers and relishes the bygone glory of the baby boomer generation. Combining the epic and domestic, Bartlett’s play won the UK Theatre Award for Best Play in 2011
Julian Meyrick directs two exhilarating solo plays in a double bill in August, presenting the world premiere of Tom Holloway’s Dead Centre and the Australian premiere of UK playwright Simon Stephens’ Sea Wall. Presented as companion pieces, these local and international works by leading contemporary playwrights from two different continents explore family and place.
In the Obie Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize-finalist play Detroit by Lisa D’Amour, middle-class aspirations and suburban isolation are investigated through the story of two couples that form an unlikely and unsettling friendship amidst the economic downturn. As disturbing as it is funny, Detroit premieres in Victoria after hugely successful seasons in the USA, Canada and the UK.
Bridget Balodis directs Dan Giovannoni’s Jurassica. Developed during his time as Resident Writer at Red Stitch, Giovannoni’s new play receives its world premiere in October. Weaving the past and present together in an examination of migration, displacement and the search for home, it follows two sets of immigrants to Australia in a timely production that spans generations.
Rounding out the 2015 season is the Australian premiere of Middletown by the highly regarded American playwright Will Eno, and directed by Alice Darling. In a small American town, a new arrival searches for comfort and meaning in a deeply moving, funny play that articulates life’s absurd beauty and longing. In 2014, Darling worked with Red Stitch as the company’s inaugural Graduate Director, and this marks her first full production for the company.
In addition to the main program, Red Stitch expands its reach enormously, with four productions that tour or perform return seasons throughout the year. In January, Jumpers for Goalposts will make a week-long return to the theatre as part of 2015 Midsumma Festival. Written by Tom Wells and directed by Tom Healey, this is a blissfully funny romantic comedy about an LGBTQ five-a-side team.
Grounded, by acclaimed US playwright George Brant, will show at the Seymour Centre in Sydney in April after receiving rave reviews at Red Stitch in 2014, while the 2015 production Love Love Love will tour after its Red Stitch run, taking in Bendigo and Wyndham in July.
“It’s rewarding as artists and as an organisation to reach audiences beyond our intimate venue, and it helps build our sustainability and longevity as a company,” says Caldwell.
For 14 years, Red Stitch’s has been the country’s leading ensemble theatre company, premiering contemporary works from Australia and around the world. Each production features a cast of core ensemble members in collaboration with top directors, designers, playwrights and guest actors in a shared commitment to brave performances, enhanced by the intimacy of the Red Stitch stage.
For more information and complete program, visit: www.redstitch.net for details.
Image: Middletown – courtesy of Red Stitch Actors Theatre