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Melbourne Embraces SUNDAY Ahead Of Melbourne Theatre Company Premiere

Sunday's preview performances this week saw audiences leap to their feet in celebration of this new work that captures the bohemian spirit of 1930s and 40s Australia.

Melbourne preview audiences have embraced Sunday - a new Australian play about an unconventional Melbourne icon who changed the cultural fabric of Australia - ahead of its opening night, Friday 20 January at Southbank Theatre, marking the official start of Melbourne Theatre Company Artistic Director & Co-CEO Anne Louise Sarks' inaugural season.

Sunday's preview performances this week saw audiences leap to their feet in celebration of this new Australian work that captures the bohemian spirit of 1930s and 40s Melbourne.

Following acclaimed performances in Girls & Boys and The Picture of Dorian Gray, Nikki Shiels brings to life Australia's most famous arts patron Sunday Reed in a theatrical fantasy inspired by the stories and myths that surround Sunday and her husband John, who founded Heide Museum of Modern Art and nurtured a circle of artists including Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker and Joy Hester.

Written by award-winning playwright Anthony Weigh (2,000 Feet Away) and directed by Helpmann Award-winner Sarah Goodes (Cyrano), this unforgettable story of a bold and complex woman also features Josh McConville (Elvis) alongside Matt Day (North by Northwest), Ratidzo Mambo (The Heartbreak Choir) and Joshua Tighe in his mainstage debut.

Artistic Director & Co-CEO Anne-Louise Sarks said 'I couldn't think of a more fitting play to start the season. Sunday is a Melbourne story. For Melbourne. About Melbourne.'

'Exploring the complex relationships of some of Melbourne's most influential and fascinating people in mid-20th century Australia, Sunday tells the story of a radical woman ahead of her time and brings to life a defining moment that shaped our cultural history.'

'The initial response from our preview audiences has been incredible. There is such appetite and support for new Australian work.'

Sunday, originally programmed for Melbourne Theatre Company's 2021 season, was cancelled in August of that year as a result of lockdown restrictions, just as rehearsals commenced. It has been a long-awaited role for Nikki Shiels, whose last collaboration with director Sarah Goodes in Home, I'm Darling won the 2020 Green Room Award for Most Outstanding Performer.

Nikki Shiels said, 'Sunday Reed is as complex a character as she is iconic. A mid century woman ahead of her time, with a vision for a new way of living and loving collectively, in harmony with nature and a desire to push the boundaries of Australian art.

'Anthony Weigh's extraordinary new Australian play Sunday activates Sunday Reed from her role as muse and places her at the psychological centre of an imagined retelling of events that were so emotionally entangled and explosive. Australian art and the lives of those close to her were changed forever.

'Sunday Reed lives on in the heart, imagination and landscape of Melbourne's rich artistic culture. It is a dream to be able to breathe life into a woman with such intellectual dexterity, sensitivity, passion, ruthlessness and emotional complexity.'

Sunday Reed isn't like most women. In fact, she's not like most men. Outspoken, uninhibited, adventurous, she has a laser eye for the new - in life and in art. When struggling artist Sidney Nolan arrives at Heide, the idyllic utopia Sunday is creating with her beloved husband John Reed on the outskirts of 1940s Melbourne, what ensues will haunt all three to their dying days. And in the aftermath, Australian art will never look the same.



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