MTC’s 2020 season comes on the heels of an incredibly successful 2019 which featured a record number of subscribers. Next year their initiatives CAAP (Contemporary Asian Australian Performance) Director’s Program, Cybec Electric play reading series and Women in Theatre programs will continue as well as four new original plays presented through Next Stage. Artistic Director Brett Sheehy described the upcoming season as ‘ a year of theatre that will have audiences seeing the world differently…they are vitally important and relevant to our audience’s lives, here and now’. The new season, explored in greater detail bellow is an encapsulation of international works receiving their local premieres, revivals and original commissions through the Next Stage Program.
Home, I’m Darling by Laura Wade is a darkly comic exploration of a woman’s obsessive attempts to recreate a 1950’s home life, trouble is her mother actually remembers what it was like. A hit at the National Theatre and London’s West End this production, Sarah Goodes (Cosi, Arbus and West) directs this Australian premiere starring Nikki Shiels (Picnic at Hanging Rock, True Minds) and Australian legend, Jane Turner (Kath and Kim, Jumpy). Venue: Southbank Theatre, the Sumner Season Dates: 20 January- 22 February.
Torch the Place by Benjamin Law. A next stage original production by The Family Law’s Benjamin Law and Directed by MTC Associate Director, Dean Bryant. An intimate family drama about ‘the chaotic moments that bring families closer together’ starring Fiona Choi (Dragon Lady, The Family Law), Michelle Lim Davidson (an Ideal Husband) and Diana Lin (the Farewell, Little Emperors as the matriarch whose whom is a curation of a life’s worth of treasures or as her daughter’s would call her, a hoarder. Venue: Arts Centre, Fairfax Studio. Season: 8 February- 21 March
Emerald City by David Williamson. Williamson’s study of fame, fortune and creative integrity receives a revival directed by Sam Strong (Double Indemnity, Endgame) and starring Nadine Gardner (Little Night Music and MTC’s upcoming Photograph 51) and Ray Chong Nee (Othello, Noises Off). Venue: Southbank theatre, the Sumner Season: 6 March- 18 April
Berlin by Joanna Murray-Smith. A next stage original by one of Australia’s foremost playwrights. Director Iain Sinclair (a View from the Bridge, the Beast) describes this play as a ‘two hander tour de force; a rare and powerful blend of thriller, romance and serious ethical dilemma. When it comes to inherited guilt, what is enough? And more importantly, when is enough? This production stars rising star Grace Cummings (Prehistoric). Venue: Southbank theatre, the Sumner. Season: 25 April- 6 June.
Slap. Bang. Kiss by Dan Giovanninni. A Next stage original play from the writer of Jurrasica and Merciless Gods will be presented as part of the Families and Educations season. Telling three interweaving stories of young people instigating social change; a video of a 16 year old hitting a military soldier goes viral, an impassioned speech by speech for the victims of a school shooting makes the worldwide news and two boys have their community rally around them as they try to make the world record for longest kiss. Prue Clark (The Violent Outburst that drew me to you) directs. Venue: Southbank Theatre, the Lawlor. Season: 7-23 May
Sexual Misconduct of the middle classes by Hannah Mosocvitch. Hailing from the Taragon theatre in Canada, this play tells the emotionally taut story of a middle aged university professor played by Dan Spielman (Macbeth) relationship with a nineteen year old student, one they would describe as consensual, loving and committed but this text seeks to explore given the power dynamics if this is really so. Directed by Petra Kalive (Hungry Ghosts, Melbourne Talam) who describes it as ‘ exciting and dangerous…that so deftly navigates privilege, truth and empowerment’. Venue: Arts Centre, Fairfax Studio. Season 15 May-27 June.
The Heartbreak choir by Aidan Fennessy is a companion piece to 2017’s hit production The Architect which reunites him with Director, Peter Houghton (True Minds, the Odd Couple). Set in Regional Victoria and featuring a schism between the local choir and the emergence of the Heartbreak choir. This Next stage original play is an exploration of ‘healing from the past and finding redemption in community. Venue: Southbank theatre, The Sumner. Season: 13 June- 18 July
Fun Home Music by Jeanine Tesori, Book and Lyrics By Lisa Kron. Based on Alison Bechdel’s (Are you my mother, Dykes to watch out for) sublime graphic memoir, the 2014 Tony Winner makes its Australian premiere in a co-production with Sydney theatre company directed by Dean Bryant (Lady in the Van, An Ideal Husband). As she struggles to writer her masterpiece, 42 year old Alison seeks to define her complex relationship with her volatile father, his obsession with preserving and recreating the historical house she grew up him and the revelation that he was gay shortly following her own coming out. Alison is played at key points in her life by three different performers, Lucy Maunder (Dr Zhivago, Ladies in Black) as an adult, Maggie Mckenna (Muriel’s Wedding, US touring production of Dear Evan Hanson) as a young adult. Lisa McCune (The King and I, South Pacific) and Adam Murphy (Shakespeare in Love) will play her parents.
True West by Sam Shepard. Sarah Goodes (Golden Shield, The Children) directs Josh McConville (Bell Shakespeare’s Hamlet) in a ‘fiery new production of Sam Shepard’s searing portrait of two brothers inextricably linked, whose savage relationship embodies the fallibility of the American Dream. Season Dates 1 August-4 September. Venue: Southbank theatre, the Sumner.
As you like it by William Shakespeare. Former MTC artistic director, Simon Phillips (Twelfth Night, Shakespeare in Love) returns, reunited with Twelfth Night composers Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttel. Starring Christie Whelan Browne (Twelfth Night, An Ideal Husband) as Rosalind who Phillips describes as ‘Shakespeare’s greatest female comedienne’ and Bert Labonte (Book of Mormon, the Mountaintop). Season Dates 14 September- 24 October. Venue Southbank Theatre, the Sumner
Girls and Boys by Dennis Kelly. A hit when it premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2018, Robin Mcleavy stars in this monologue play about a woman whose home and family unravel after a devastating event. Kate Champion, artistic director of Force Majeure directs this ‘beguiling tale of universal truths’. Season Dates 30 October- 12 December. Venue Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne
Sunshine and Supergirl by Andrea James. The Sumner theatre will be transformed into a special onstage tennis court stadium seating to tell the story of tennis legend, Evonne Goolagong. Written and Directed by Andrea James Wiyanboga Yurringa, Yanagai,Yanagai), collaborating with Wiradjuri choreographer, Vicki Van Hout (Long Grass) Goolagong’s story of ‘drama, politics, humour, sacrifice and sheer talent’ is sure to be an inspiring and elating evening at the theatre. Season Dates 20 November-19 December. Venue Southbank theatre, the Sumner.