One of the strikingly beautiful things to have emerged from 2020 has been the determination of Melbourne’s theatre artists to keep creating theatre – in their kitchens, on their phones and on lonely laptops – as they waited for theatres to re-open. This collection of monologues and short plays penned by the playwrights of Melbourne Writers’ Theatre was redrafted through emails, workshopped on Zoom, and rehearsed first on Zoom, then in a room, then a house, a yard and a park, as the three directors and their cast of twelve waited for a theatre to open its doors to them. Three weeks ago, following a state government easing of restrictions, their patience was rewarded – MWT’s Season 2020 will be presented as a rich double-bill event at The MC Showroom from 17 – 22 December.

‘Since the early planning stages, Elizabeth Walley (director of The Metropolis Monologues) has not missed a beat,’ enthuses producer Clare Mendes. ‘Mazz Ryan and Virginia Proud took their City Park actors into the park with masks on when the weather was fine. I don’t know how they managed on rainy days – there was a lot of juggling and a lot of Zooms, but never a complaint. These actors are accomplished professionals who understand what theatre is, what it needs to be.’ The cast list for this double-bill is impressive. The Metropolis Monologues showcases Tim Clarke, Emma Choy, Alec Gilbert, Cosima Gilbert, Annie Morris and Marli van der Bijl. Choy and van der Bijl will also perform in The City Park Plays, alongside Rhys Hamlyn, Lansy Feng, Jonny Kinnear, Amir Rahimzadeh, Kyle Roberts and Sue Rosenwax.

Since 1982, Melbourne Writers’ Theatre has been putting this city’s playwrights and actors on the theatrical map and keeping them there – the newest, bravest scripts coupled with consistently high-end performances. A pandemic was able to challenge this tradition but not stop it, and the resulting, strikingly beautiful collection of stories will be something quite special to see.

December 17 – 22