It’s a brave decision for any company or artist to present work in these times, especially after the enormous devastation caused by this recent lockdown. fortyfivedownstairs applauds the resilience of all artists involved in our August – December program, and we look forward to sharing their remarkable work.

Following performances of Melbourne Shakespeare Company’s King Lear this week (which will finally recommence after a cancelled season in May and further cancelled performances last week), we welcome director Beng Oh and playwright Jane Miller back to the theatre with their production of Just a Boy, Standing in Front of a Girl, a contemporary and tragicomic take on Medea.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 Trade Center attacks, Director/Actor Adam T Perkins will then present the Melbourne premiere of Anne Nelson’s acclaimed play The Guys, featuring Roz Hammond. This is a deeply personal project for Perkins, who was a volunteer first responder to the 9/11 attacks as a Search and Rescue ‘Tunnel Rat’, crawling beneath the wreckage of Ground Zero.

Several new Australian works follow, beginning with the time travel comedy drama Underneath Ms Archer, created and performed by acclaimed actors Peter Houghton and Louise Siversen. Emerging playwright Fleur Murphy will then collaborate with director Alonso Pineda on a new stage adaptation of Janne Teller’s award winning novel Nothing, and performer/choreographer Holly Durant joins forces with the wonderful Maude Davey to create Becoming Edith, a hybrid performance installation that combines dance, performance art, song, dada theatre and new waves  of experimental sound and light sculpture.

Music events include GLOW, a recital of new works by Melbourne composers performed by oboist Jasper Ly and pianist Peter Dumsday; a return of The New Impromptu Quartet and their exploration of jazz, Latin, funk and soul; and rescheduled performances of Duo Eclettico’s Songs of the Helmeted Honeyeater by Jane Hammond and Full Moon Dances by Ross Edwards, as well as Two Pianos Eight Hands, an incredibly rare event featuring four of Melbourne’s leading pianists.

The year ends with a long awaited and twice re-scheduled season of Michael Veitch’s Hell Ship,  and a new production of Tom Stoppard’s acclaimed The Real Inspector Hound, a high energy comedy about theatre critics Moon and Birdboot presented by Artefact Theatre Co and directed by Matthew Cox.