World premiere play tackles Australia’s greatest obsession: Footy

Melbourne Theatre Company presents 37 photo by Jo DuckA new play about a down-and-out regional football team, set within the era of Adam Goodes’ heartfelt war cry during an AFL Indigenous Round match, 37 will have its world premiere at the Southbank Theatre on Thursday 7 March 2024.

Deftly written by Nathan Maynard – twice named Tasmanian Aboriginal Artist of the Year – 37 is the fourth collaboration between Maynard and director Isaac Drandic (The Birthday Party, ABC’s Cleverman), and a return to  the stage for recent AACTA Award Winner Ngali Shaw (The Twelve) following his acclaimed turn in Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2023 production Jacky.

This production, named after the number Goodes immortalised, 37, follows a disheartened football team as their fortunes start to change when new recruits the Marngrook cousins – named after the Aboriginal game that inspired AFL – join the team, but tensions off the field start to dash any hope of them capturing the flag.

Packed with laughs, this powerhouse production explores the physical and psychological demands that a football team faces under the Friday night lights. Featuring an ensemble of 10 performers, this highly physical play is co-choreographed by the award-winning Waangenga Blanco, who spent 14 years as senior dancer with Bangarra Dance Theatre.

37 is a searing piece of social commentary and we’re proud to have commissioned this new Australian play through our NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program” says Melbourne Theatre Company’s Artistic Director & Co-CEO Anne-Louise Sarks.

“Is there a greater national obsession than AFL? From major cities to the regional centres, playing, watching or even avoiding football represents an unparalleled cross-section of Australian life and makes the game the perfect setting for a story of community, identity and reconciliation.”

Director & Co-Choreographer: Isaac Drandic | Featuring: Syd Brisbane, Mitchell Brotz, Samuel Buckley, Costa D’Angelo, Thomas Larkin, Eddie Orton, Ben O’Toole, Ngali Shaw, Anthony Standish, Tibian Wyles | Set & Costume Designer: Dale Ferguson | Lighting Designer: Ben Hughes | Composer & Sound Designer: James Henry | Co-Choreographer: Waangenga Blanco | Voice & Text Coach: Matt Furlani | Assistant Director: Kamarra Bell-Wykes | Fight Choreographer: Lyndall Grant | Intimacy Coordinator: Isabella Vadiveloo

Southbank Theatre, The Sumner, Southbank Boulevard, Southbank
Season: 7 March – 5 April 2024
Information and Bookings:

Following the Melbourne season, 37 will tour to the Bille Brown Theatre – Queensland Theatre from 11 April – 4 May 2024.

Image: Melbourne Theatre Company presents 37 – photo by Jo Duck