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Melbourne Theatre Company Presents COSI

Sean Keenan (Wake in Fright) and Esther Hannaford (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) star alongside Gabriel Fancourt (The Hypochondriac), Glenn Hazeldine (Away), Bessie Holland (Wentworth), Robert Menzies (Macbeth), Rahel Romahn (The Principal), Katherine Tonkin (Abigail's Party) and George Zhao (The Family Law) in Melbourne Theatre Company and Sydney Theatre Company's co-production of the joyous Australian classic, Così, by Louis Nowra.

Opening on Saturday 4 May at Southbank Theatre, MTC Associate Artistic Director Sarah Goodes directs a motley crew of lovable characters in this glittering ode to the magic of theatre.

Sarah Goodes said, 'Così is an Australian classic - a show within a show that explores the transformative power of music and performance. Many people have grown up watching Così either on stage or on film or even performing in it. The opportunity to revive this play in Melbourne, where it is set, is so exciting - to celebrate who we are, how far we have come, and to remind us of the power and importance of art in our lives.'

Così forms the centrepiece in Nowra's acclaimed trilogy of autobiographical plays, bookended by Summer of the Aliens and Woolloomooloo: A Biography. It's 1971 Australia and outside a nation is protesting the war in Vietnam. Inside, a cast of complete amateurs are preparing for a performance of Mozart's famous comic opera, Così Fan Tutte, even though no-one can sing, act or speak Italian. Its aspiring young director, Lewis, has just finished drama school and his first directing gig is at a psychiatric facility. What could possibly go wrong?

Louis Nowra is a prolific writer working across stage, film, radio and both non-fiction and fiction books. His plays include Inner Voices, Visions, Inside the Island, Sunrise, The Golden Age, Capricornia, Byzantine Flowers, Summer of the Aliens, Cosi, Radiance, The Temple, Crow, The Incorruptible, The Jungle, The Language of the Gods, The Boyce Trilogy and This Much is True. His novels include The Misery of Beauty, Palu, Red Nights, Abaza, Ice, Into That Forest, and The Prince of Afghanistan. Louis's two memoirs are The Twelfth of Never and Shooting the Moon. Some of his radio plays include Albert Names Edward, The Song Room, Sydney, The Divine Hammer, Far North, Jez and The Light of Darkness. He wrote the telemovies Displaced Persons, Hunger and The Lizard King, and created the TV series The Last Resort and The Straits. His screen credits include Map of The Human Heart, Cosi, Heaven's Burning, The Matchmaker, Radiance, K-19: The Widowmaker and Black And White. He was co-writer of the documentary series First Australians. His non-fiction works include The Cheated, Warne's World, Walkabout, Chihuahuas, Women and Me, Bad Dreaming, Kings Cross: A Biography, and Woolloomooloo: A Biography.

MTC Associate Artistic Director Sarah Goodes last directed for Arbus & West, A Doll's House, Part 2 and The Children, which won three Helpmann Awards including Best Play and Best Direction. Also for MTC, she directed Three Little Words following her critically-acclaimed direction of John and Switzerland. Sarah's reputation as a leading director of new Australian and international work has been built on widespread praise and multiple award nominations. Formerly Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company, Sarah directed The Hanging, Disgraced, Orlando, Battle of Waterloo, Switzerland, The Effect, Vere (Faith), The Splinter, and Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness. Sarah's other directing credits include The Sugar House, Elling, Black Milk, The Sweetest Thing, and The Small Things (Belvoir); The Colour of Panic (Sydney Opera House); Vertigo and the Virginia, The Schelling Point, Hilt, and What Happened Was (Old Fitz Theatre); and The Unscrupulous Murderer Hasse Karlson Reveals the Gruesome Truth about the Woman Who Froze to Death on a Railway Bridge (Darlinghurst Theatre Company). In 2015 she was the recipient of the Gloria Payten Travel Scholarship.

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