Toby Schmitz to Direct HOWIE THE ROOKIE at Old Fitzroy Theatre

Highly acclaimed and much-loved Australian actor, playwright and director Toby Schmitz returns home to direct Andrew Henry (All My Sons, Sydney Theatre Award nomination) and Sean Hawkins (Bell Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing) in a strictly limited season of Howie The Rookie at Sydney's Old Fitzroy Theatre from 30 September to 25 October.

Not seen in Sydney for twelve years, this award-winning Irish play by Mark O'Rowe (Terminus) is an electrifying and epic tale; a wild, urban odyssey through a nightmare landscape, hilarious and grotesque by turns.

The Howie Lee (Andrew Henry) gets dragged into a bizarre feud of honour involving a scabies-infested mattress against The Rookie Lee (Sean Hawkins), which spirals out of control and ends in his own personal tragedy. The Rookie has problems of his own: massively in debt to a terrifying gangland figure for killing his prized Siamese fighting fish, he steels himself for a hideous revenge, until he is championed from an unlikely quarter by his one-time enemy.

Howie The Rookie is a white-knuckle ride through a nightmare Dublin, where enemies and allies are interchangeable, where the most brutal events take on a mythic significance.

The Sydney season of Howie The Rookie is the only theatre foray for Toby Schmitz in Australia this year. Currently based in South Africa where he is filming the third season of Michael Bay's (Transformers, Armageddon) hit pirate drama Black Sails, Schmitz was last seen in Australian theatres in 2013, when he starred in Belvoir's production of Hamlet and Sydney Theatre Company's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

"Howie The Rookie is one of the great Irish plays. It's scary, sexy, funny and breathtaking in the cleverness of the story weaving, and the sway of the final images," said Schmitz. "The play begs for an intimate space and demands actors with enough moxie and brio to play these two tragic flash lads. Brilliantly, we are armed with Andrew Henry and Sean Hawkins, who have all the pep and savvy required, and the season's commandeering a place I love, the Old Fitzroy: a theatre where you can raise the neck hair of an audience with the deftest storytelling."

Throughout the season, The Old Fitzroy will play host to a top line-up of Irish bands, Irish whiskey and Irish beer to help transport audiences to the streets of Dublin.

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