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STC Launches 2023 Season With 16 Productions That Champion Australian Playwriting

Learn more about the lineup here!

STC Launches 2023 Season With 16 Productions That Champion Australian Playwriting

For 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," Williams says.

"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."

Highlights:
• Sixteen plays in total including ten works by Australian writers, six world premieres of new Australian writing and four STC commissions

• Two commissions from STC Patrick White Fellowships: an adaptation of Nevil Shute's On the Beach by Tommy Murphy (STC Commission, 2015 Patrick White Fellow) to be directed by Kip Williams and; Anchuli Felicia King (2019 Patrick White Fellow) has adapted The Poison of Polygamy by Wong Shee Ping - Australia's first ever novel by a Chinese-Australian author when it was published in 1910 - which will be directed by former Richard Wherrett Fellow Courtney Stewart

• STC commissions for the world premiere of Julia by Joanna Murray-Smith, a play about the life of Australia's first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, starring Justine Clarke and directed by Sarah Goodes and; the world premiere of an adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull by former STC Artistic Director Andrew Upton starring Sigrid Thornton

• From previous Patrick White Award-winner Lewis Treston and presented as part of Sydney World Pride - Hubris & Humiliation - which had a development as part of STC's Rough Draft program in 2021

• After winning the Patrick White Playwright Award in 2006, Patricia Cornelius' Do Not Go Gentle will make its STC stage premiere with an all-star cast including John Bell, Peter Carroll and John Gaden - who have been mainstays of the theatre scene for decades and will perform together for the first time - along with Vanessa Downing and Brigid Zengeni, to be directed by STC Associate Director, Paige Rattray

• World premiere of stage adaptation of Australian author Pip Williams' best-selling novel The Dictionary of Lost Words, adapted by Verity Laughton and co-produced by State Theatre Company South Australia

• In a co-production between STC and Moogahlin Performing Arts, a new production of Jane Harrison's The Visitors directed by Wesley Enoch as part of the Sydney Opera House 50th birthday celebrations

• The best of international contemporary playwriting including: the Award-winning US playwright Aleshea Harris' breakout hit Is God Is, co-directed by Zindzi Okenyo and STC Resident Director Shari Sebbens; Richard Wherrett Fellow, Ian Michael's STC directing debut with Nick Payne's Constellations starring Catherine Văn-Davies and; Ella Hickson's time-bending epic Oil, with Brooke Satchwell (The Twelve) in her STC debut

• The Australian premiere of August Wilson's Fences directed by STC Resident Director Shari Sebbens and starring returning duo Bert LaBonté and Zahra Newman

• Claudia Karvan (Bump) and Don Hany (Offspring) in Edward Albee's The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?, a co-production with State Theatre Company South Australia

• Helen Thomson returns to the STC stage in Oscar Wilde's hilarious The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Sarah Giles

• Another encore season of STC's cine-theatre hit, The Picture of Dorian Gray, adapted and directed by STC Artistic Director Kip Williams

• A special offering for the Easter school holidays: Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox adapted for the stage by award-winning producers shake & stir theatre co

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 Văn-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.

Explore STC's 2023 Season and ticket information at sydneytheatre.com.au/2023




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