The Sublime

MTC_The Sublime_Jeff BusbyCutting through the media-managed world of professional football to the human flaws that threaten to bring everything undone, Brendan Cowell’s The Sublime puts footy, sex scandals and power under the spotlight in this world premiere production.

What happens on the footy trip doesn’t always stay on the footy trip. When all hell breaks loose back home after things turn ugly in Thailand, only three people know the whole story. There’s Liam, an NRL workhorse who’s devoted to his code and his teammates; his older brother Dean, an AFL Brownlow Medallist who tries to clean up Liam’s mess but mostly makes it worse; and Amber, a teenage athlete who rests uneasily on the edge of complicity and victimhood.

“The Sublime delves into the motivations of a trio whose actions create a media circus,” says Director Sam Strong. “Brendan Cowell has his finger on the pulse of Australian masculinity and has written a play that uses elite sport to explore much larger themes such as the intersection of sex and power and the price of excellence. He takes us inside the experience of being an athlete to reveal characters that are all too human.”

Best known as an actor, Brendan Cowell is also an accomplished director and writer, and an avid Cronulla Sharks supporter. He won the prestigious Patrick White Playwrights’ Award for Bed in 2001, and the Griffin Award in 2003 for Rabbit. His other plays include Ruben Guthrie, Happy New, Self Esteem and Men.

As a screenwriter he wrote award-winning episodes of The Slap, Love My Way, Life Support, the telemovie The Outlaw Michael Howe (which he also directed), and feature film Save Your Legs in which he played a lead role. He is currently adapting his first novel How It Feels for a TV miniseries. Cowell’s directing credits include the short films Europe and Black Lassie (both of which he wrote), Nina Raine’s Rabbit, and Request Programme, Bed and Self Esteem for Wharf2Loud at STC.

MTC Associate Artistic Director Sam Strong is one of Australia’s leading theatre directors. His directing credits include The Speechmaker, Private Lives, The Crucible, Other Desert Cities and Madagascar (Melbourne Theatre Company); Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Sydney Theatre Company); The Boys (Sydney Festival/Griffin); The Floating World, Between Two Waves, And No More Shall We Part and Speaking in Tongues (Griffin); The Power of Yes (Company B Belvoir); and Red Sky Morning and Faces in the Crowd (Red Stitch).

He has been nominated for multiple Best Director and Best Production awards at the Helpmann Awards, Sydney Theatre Awards and Green Room Awards and won the 2013 Sydney Theatre Award for Best Direction of a Mainstage Play.

Director: Sam Strong  Cast: Josh McConville, Ben O’Toole, Anna Samson  Set and Costume Designer: Dayna Morrissey  Lighting Designer: Danny Pettingill  Composer & Sound Designer: Steve Francis  Assistant Director: Tahli Corin  Dramaturg: Chris Mead

The Sublime
Fairfax Studio – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season continues to 4 October 2014
Bookings: (03) 8688 0800 or online at:

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Ben O’Toole and Josh McConville in The Sublime – photo by Jeff Busby