Melbourne Theatre Company announced the full cast and creative team for Simon Phillips’ upcoming production of Twelfth Night as rehearsals began this morning at MTC HQ.

Colin Hay (Men At Work), Frank Woodley (Lano & Woodley), Esther Hannaford (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Christie Whelan Browne (An Ideal Husband), and Russell Dykstra (Rake) starring as the puritanical Malvolio, lead a remarkable cast including Caleb Alloway (Angels in America), Roderick Cairns (Romeo and Juliet), Tamsin Carroll (Miss Saigon – West End), Anthony Harkin (Kinky Boots), Richard Piper (Born Yesterday), Alec Steedman (Death of a Demi-Diva) and Lachlan Woods (Macbeth).

Featuring music and songs by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall (Muriel’s Wedding, The Musical), lavish set design and period costumes by Gabriela Tylesova, plus spectacular special effects, Twelfth Night promises dazzling love triangles and sensational laughs when it opens at Southbank Theatre on Friday 16 November.

Five additional performances have been added to the season, which now closes on Saturday 5 January.

Simon Phillips said, ‘I’ve managed to pull together a dream team of comic luminaries and I can’t wait to get started on this achingly funny, anarchic masterpiece. I’m thrilled to have the wonderful Russell Dykstra on board playing Malvolio, a role that will see him absolutely in his element, and to have lured Tamsin Carroll back from the West End to play Maria. The icing on the cake is that music royalty Colin Hay is joining the cast to sing the lion’s share of Shakespeare’s top catalogue of songs, for which the music has been penned by the brilliant Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, with whom I worked on Muriel’s Wedding, The Musical. It’s going to be a joyous, electrifying buzz of a production, and I’m using all the bells and whistles available to me in my favourite theatre, The Sumner, to let this romantic, raucous, gender-confused comic extravaganza positively soar.’

Twins Viola and Sebastian are separated after a shipwreck and forced to fend for themselves in a strange land. Viola (disguised as a boy) falls in love with Duke Orsino, who is in love with the Countess Olivia, who meets Viola and falls in love with her, thinking she is a man. It’s all very straightforward.

Twelfth Night logo MTC

Internationally renowned director Simon Phillips was MTC’s Artistic Director from 2000–2011. Over his 30 year history with the Company he has directed an impressive number of productions, with his recent MTC credits including Macbeth, North by Northwest, Pennsylvania Avenue, The Importance of Being Earnest, Hamlet, Songs for Nobodies, Richard III, The Drowsy Chaperone and August: Osage Country. In 2015 Simon directed the award-winning Australian musical Ladies in Black for Queensland Theatre which went on to have a highly successful season with MTC in 2016, followed by a commercial tour in 2017. Over his illustrious career Simon has also worked for many other arts organisations nationally and internationally including the State Theatre Company of South Australia, where he was Artistic Director from 1990–1993. On the commercial stage, his productions include The 2016 Australian tour of The Beast as well as Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the Musical; Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies, and Eat Pray Laugh – Barry Humphries’s farewell tour, all of which have had various international seasons. Simon has won seven Green Room Awards and five Helpmann Awards.

Twelfth Night cast MTC

Cast Caleb Alloway, Roderick Cairns, Tamsin Carroll, Russell Dykstra, Esther Hannaford, Anthony Harkin, Colin Hay, Richard Piper, Alec Steedman, Christie Whelan Browne, Frank Woodley, Lachlan Woods

Director Simon Phillips
Set & Costume Designer Gabriela Tylesova
Lighting Designer Nick Schlieper
Composers Kate Miller-Heidke, Keir Nuttall
Musical Direction and Additional Composition Ian McDonald
Voice and Text Coach Leith McPherson
Associate Lighting Designer Chris Twyman
Assistant Costume Designer Sophie Woodward

Season Dates
12 November – 5 January

Opening Night
Friday 16 November

Southbank Theatre, The Sumner

03 8688 0800


‘Arguably Shakespeare’s most perfect rom-com.’ The Age

‘Mistaken identities, cross-dressing, practical jokes, wicked humour, interrupted romance and happy endings.’ Herald Sun