2019 is Artistic Director Clare Watson’s second year with the company and she is certainly making her mark with this imaginative and innovative season that is grounded by the themes of belonging, family and home – Where the Heart Is.
Black Swan’s first production is Thornton Wilder’s Our Town: an American classic that won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1938. Directed by Clare Watson, the play will be reimagined for Perth audiences and features members of the community. Part of the Perth Festival (8 – 23 February) and staged under the stars in the State Theatre Centre Courtyard, “Our Town” features Abbie-Lee Lewis, Ian Michael and Shari Sebbens.
A co-production with Perth Festival and DADAA You Know We Belong Together (written by Julia Hales with Finn O’Branagáin and Clare Watson) is back by popular demand after a sold-out season earlier this year. Also starring Julia Hales, this is a deeply personal account of her experiences as a daughter, actor, dreamer and person with Down Syndrome. If you missed it the first time, here’s your chance to catch the encore season in the Heath Ledger Theatre from 20 – 31 March.
Commissioned by Clare Watson, Black Swan’s third production Water is written by internationally renowned, award winning playwright Jane Bodie and directed by multi-award winning Perth director Emily McLean. This world premiere is an epic, new Australian drama that follows the journey of families born at different times in Australia’s history, who are united in their determination to create safe passage for their loved ones. Performances run from 9 – 26 May in the Studio Underground and feature Richard Maganga and Igor Sas.
The fourth offering of the season is a co-production with Sydney Theatre Company and an Australian classic that no one has heard of. Joint winner (with Lawler’s “Summer of the Seventeenth Doll”) of the Playwright’s Advisory Board prize for Best Play of the Year (1955) The Torrents by Oriel Gray fell into near obscurity while Lawler’s play went on to receive international acclaim. “The Torrents” is a newsroom comedy set in the 1890s Goldfields, yet its subject matter of a debate within the community about whether the town should give up mining for a more sustainable economic future is perhaps more pertinent than ever. Directed by Clare Watson and featuring Helpmann Award-winning comedian and actor Celia Pacquola, this production runs from 15 – 30 June at the Heath Ledger Theatre and hopes to put the spotlight back on this neglected Australian classic.
Medea, by Kate Mulvany and Anne-Louise Sarks (after Euripides) is a collaboration with the WA Youth Theatre Company and performances are from 8 – 25 August in the Studio Underground. This new adaptation puts one of history’s most notorious family breakdowns under the microscope from the perspective of Medea’s two sons. Directed by Sally Richardson and featuing Hayley McElhinney this groundbreaking adaptation has already won five Sydney Theatre Awards (2012).
Making its WA premiere after a sold out season at Sydney Theatre Company in 2017, Black is the New White is a laugh-out-loud, Australian romantic comedy by award-winning Australian playwright Nakkiah Lui. Prepare to be enthralled by a razor sharp comedy that blends “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” with “Meet the Fockers”. The sixth Black Swan production runs from 11 – 22 September at the Heath Ledger Theatre.
Finally, Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa’s Fully Sikh is a world premiere and co-production with WA’s Barking Gecko Theatre Company, directed by Matt Edgerton. Sukhjit shot to fame in Australia and around the world with her poetry on “Australia’s Got Talent”. But before she went viral, Sukhjit was a brown, hairy Sikh girl growing up in the suburbs of Perth. “Fully Sikh” is a unique and unmissable Aussie Sikh story. Performances from 10 – 27 October in the Studio Undergound.
Check out Black Swan’s website www.bsstc.com.au to book tickets and for details about becoming a member and the packages, offers and benefits available.
Photo credit: Richard Jefferson