Sydney Premiere Of Malthouse Theatre's Radical Reimagining Of WAKE IN FRIGHT

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Sydney Premiere Of Malthouse Theatre's Radical Reimagining Of WAKE IN FRIGHT

The Sydney premiere of Malthouse Theatre's radical reimagining of Kenneth Cook's cult Australian novel Wake in Fright comes to the Sydney Opera House Playhouse this February as part of its UnWrapped series. Under the direction of Declan Greene (Sisters Grimm, Pompeii, L.A., Blackie Blackie Brown) audiences will be transported to an unsettling, visceral evocation of claustrophobia in the outback.

Tightly buttoned young school teacher John Grant is well-read, but an outback misadventure strands him - cashless and jobless - in the harsh and remote Aussie outpost of Bundanyabba. He makes new 'mates' who are quick with a drink, but with every skol a dark violence lurches forward. Are these blokes fair-dinkum, or is there something more sinister at the heart of this little Aussie mining town?

Fresh from a sold-out Melbourne Malthouse season, Greene ingeniously conjures the nightmarish world of Wake in Fright in a one-person show performed by the always-evocative Zahra Newman. Brilliantly textured by a sonic assault from art-electronica band friendships and inventive staging by lighting and projection designer Verity Hampson, Wake in Fright is a gripping dive into the boozy entanglements of one of Australia's greatest horror tales.

Sydney Opera House Director of Programming and UnWrapped Curator, Fiona Winning, says: "We're thrilled to present the Sydney premiere of this compelling stage adaption of Kenneth Cook's seminal 1961 tale. Writer and director Declan Greene's collaboration with one-woman powerhouse Zahra Newman creates a brutal gothic world. Their mix of innovative staging and daring script fuses mateship and menace, amicability and depravity. Prepare for Wake in Fright to linger long after you've left the theatre."

Greene has gained a reputation as one of the most exciting talents to emerge from the independent theatre scene in recent years. Previous productions include Moth, Pompeii, L.A., Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography, I Am a Miracle, The Homosexuals, or 'Faggots' and Blackie Blackie Brown: The Traditional Owner of Death. He also runs queer independent theatre company Sisters Grimm with collaborator Ash Flanders and has directed and co-created all their shows to date. Newman appeared in the original Australian production of the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon and Sydney Theatre Company's production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. She has garnered multiple Helpmann and Green Room award nominations for her work as a performer.

The full UnWrapped March series will be announced in January 2020.

A NEW PLAY / Adapted from Kenneth Cook's novel by Declan Greene
CAST & CO-CREATOR / Zahra Newman
MUSIC & COMPOSITION BY / friendships
STAGE MANAGER / Cecily Rabey

Suitable for ages 15+
Children aged under 15 years must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Contains adult material, coarse language, gunshots, smoke and haze effects, strobe lighting and extremely loud noise (earplugs provided).
The Opera House is committed to supporting independent Australian artists and small-to-medium companies creating new, interesting and risk-taking work. Launched in 2018, the Artist & Sector Development initiative includes UnWrapped, a presentation platform for short, sharp, surprising Australian performance works; an Annual Digital Mentoring Program, which assists artists in creating digital content and provides access to the Opera House's Recording and Broadcast Studio; a Create Space Dance Residency in collaboration with Ausdance NSW and Form Dance Projects; a series of masterclasses led by visiting national and international arts practitioners; and an Industry Insiders program offering a free, three-year membership for Australian arts professionals including special industry offers, discounts to select performances, and invitations to exclusive events.

Malthouse Theatre collaborates with local and International Artists to create inventive performances that cut to the core of the human experience. Their work explores the world, personally, socially and politically to provoke a dialogue with and within audiences. For over 40 years, Malthouse Theatre have fanned the flames of Melbourne's radical culture, exerting significant influence on the city's artistic community. In 1976, Carrillo Gantner, Graeme Blundell and Garrie Hutchinson formed the Hoopla Theatre Foundation, which transitioned into the Playbox Theatre Company in 1980. In 2004, Michael Kantor reimagined Playbox as Malthouse Theatre, named after the iconic venue that has been the company's home since 1990. No matter the name, they've consistently served as a counterpoint to the mainstream. To this day, their distinctive style resonates locally, nationally and globally.

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