STC launches 2023 Season – 16 productions that champion Australian playwriting

AAR-STC-Hubris-&-Humiliation-photo-by-Rene-VaileFor the first time since the pandemic began, Sydney Theatre Company Artistic Director Kip Williams has announced a full season of 16 productions for 2023 which he says will “see the Company operating at full steam and offer an amazing breadth of theatrical experiences.”

The 2023 Season will champion new Australian writing, with ten plays written by Australian playwrights and six world premieres of new Australian work. It will also give insight into some of the best in new international offerings, with the Australian premiere of two incredible pieces of writing from overseas, as well as a few classics and the return of a crowd favourite: The Picture of Dorian Gray.

“As an artform, theatre has the singular ability to combine intimate connection with grand scope and, in 2023, we are escaping to far-flung locales and journeying deep into the human experience,” said Williams.

“I wanted to curate a season of stories that would take audiences into new environments and experiences outside of themselves, that would show them something new or allow them to identify or empathise with an experience beyond themselves – be it on an expedition to Antarctica, China at the turn of the 20th century, on the shores of Gadigal land in January 1788, through to the heart of Parliament House a decade ago. I also wanted to create a season that will contain the most incredible acts of live performance, from some of Australia’s best actors.”

Williams says the 2023 Season will begin on an “outrageously funny, bombastic” note with former STC Patrick White Playwrights Award-winner Lewis Treston’s Hubris & Humiliation. Presented as part of Sydney World Pride, this modern homage to Jane Austen will mount a hilarious critique of the institution of marriage and poke fun at contemporary values around money, property and class.

This will be followed by performances from two of the country’s greatest actors – Claudia Karvan (Bump) and Don Hany (Offspring) – in Edward Albee’s electric The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? Directed by Mitchell Butel and co-produced by State Theatre Company South Australia, this is a provocative and funny piece that Williams says, “examines societal taboos and asks questions about love, sex and what’s permissible.” 

Following the Australian mainstage premiere of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun in 2022, Bert LaBonté and Zahra Newman will return to perform in August Wilson’s Fences – another iconic African American work that has yet to see the Australian mainstage – under the direction of STC Resident Director Shari Sebbens.

A history-making quintet will star in Patricia Cornelius’ award-winning Do Not Go Gentle: John Bell, Peter Carroll, Vanessa Downing, John Gaden, and Brigid Zengeni; and Justine Clarke will give a theatrical entree into the life of our first female prime minister in Julia, written by award-winning playwright Joanna Murray-Smith and co-produced by the Canberra Theatre Centre.

Former STC Patrick White Playwrights Fellow Anchuli Felicia King (White Pearl) returns with a stage adaptation of the first ever Chinese-Australian novel The Poison of Polygamy – a co-production with La Boite Theatre, and STC Richard Wherrett Fellow Ian Michael will have his mainstage directing debut with Nick Payne’s Constellations starring Devon Terrell (Barry) and Catherine Van-Davies (Playing Beatie Bow).

Following their critically-acclaimed work together on No Pay? No Way! in 2020, the powerful duo of Helen Thomson and Sarah Giles return for Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and Sigrid Thornton will also return in a new adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull from former STC Artistic Director Andrew Upton.

Pip Williams’ best-selling novel The Dictionary of Lost Words has been adapted for the stage by South Australian playwright Verity Laughton in a co-production with State Theatre Company South Australia, and Jane Harrison’s recently updated The Visitors will have a fresh production as part of the Sydney Opera House’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Brooke Satchwell (The Twelve) will make her STC debut in Ella Hickson’s time-bending epic Oil directed by STC Associate Director Paige Rattray, Melbourne Theatre Company will co-produce a production of Aleshea Harris’ breakout hit Is God Is, and Eryn Jean Norvill will return for a limited encore season of her “tour-de-force” performance in Kip Williams’ adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Former Patrick White Playwrights Fellow, Tommy Murphy, has written an adaptation of Nevil Shute’s On the Beach, to be directed by Kip Williams, and the last of our postponed productions from the pandemic – shake & stir’s Fantastic Mr Fox will finally see the Roslyn Packer Theatre stage during the April school holidays.

The remaining shows from STC’s 2022 Season – the Australian premiere of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Sigrid Thornton’s STC debut in Broadway hit The Lifespan of a Fact, Angela Betzien’s school staffroom comedy Chalkface, Suzie Miller’s RBG: Of Many, One performed by Heather Mitchell and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest led by Richard Roxburgh – are either already on stage or due to open in the coming weeks.

For more information about STC’s 2023 Season, visit: for details.

Image: Hubris & Humiliation – photo by Rene Vaile