Sydney Theatre Company (STC) Artistic Director Kip Williams has announced the Company’s 2024 Season, which will include his new cine-theatre production, an adaptation of the iconic Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Starring solo performer Zahra Newman, Dracula will complete Williams’ trilogy of Victorian gothic stories that began with The Picture of Dorian Gray and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
The 15-production strong Season, which includes 11 works written or adapted by Australian playwrights, will also present the Australian premiere of Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Dear Evan Hansen, co-produced with Michael Cassel Group; and the return to the STC stage for Hugo Weaving in an exciting first-time collaboration with Dublin’s Gate Theatre for Thomas Bernhard’s The President.
The season also includes the premieres of new Australian works from Van Badham and previous Patrick White Fellows Angus Cerini and Anchuli Felicia King; as well as encore seasons and national tour dates for critically-acclaimed productions RBG: Of Many, One by Suzie Miller and Joanna Murray-Smith’s Julia which Williams says will “ensconce two phenomenally successful STC commissions in the Australian canon.”
“Audiences come to the theatre to find their collective sense of truth and the most powerful way for them to do that is through new writing,” says Williams.
“Our 2024 Season is a collection of stories from some of Australia’s best playwrights, award-winning new international writing and some thrilling reinterpretations of classics that bring them right up to the minute.”
“Australian plays are the lifeblood of STC and next year will see the world premiere of four brand new Australian plays on our stages and three recent new Australian plays cement their position in the canon with encore seasons.”
“We will also reinvestigate an existing Australian classic, Muruwari playwright Jane Harrison’s 1996 seminal play, Stolen,” says Williams.
The year will kick off in spectacular style with the riotous rom-com A Fool in Love, written by Van Badham (Banging Denmark) and directed by STC’s newest Resident Director, Kenneth Moraleda. Featuring the comedic talents of Melissa Kahraman (Hubris & Humiliation), Contessa Treffone (On the Beach) and Megan Wilding (The Importance of Being Earnest), A Fool in Love is a twenty-first century adaptation of Spanish Golden Age classic comedy La dama boba.
Following this will be the return of Suzie Miller’s RBG: Of Many, One after a wildly popular, sold-out premiere season in 2022. Starring Heather Mitchell in an award-winning, “virtuosic performance” (The Conversation), the production will play the Sydney Opera House Drama Theatre before embarking on a national tour to Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and Parramatta.
Then, from the monumental playwriting talent of 2020 Patrick White Playwrights Fellow Angus Cerini (The Bleeding Tree, Wonnangatta), comes Into the Shimmering World – an epic and poetic story of love, loss and renewal in the Australian outback performed by stage and screen legends Colin Friels and Kerry Armstrong.
After its stellar original STC season was cut short due to COVID in early 2020, Marieke Hardy’s hilarious adaptation of Dario Fo’s No Pay? No Way! is back for an encore. Directed by Sarah Giles (The Importance of Being Earnest) and starring Mandy McElhinney (The Tempest) and Catherine Van-Davies (Constellations), this play combines political satire, hilarious plot twists and sharp-as-a-tack dialogue for a thrilling theatrical experience.
In an exciting first, STC will join forces with the renowned Gate Theatre in Dublin to mount a co-production of Thomas Bernhard’s The President, starring two of the pre-eminent actors from both countries – Australia’s Hugo Weaving and Ireland’s Olwen Fouéré. At the helm is award-winning Irish director Tom Creed, who will be joined by a creative team featuring world-class Australian talent, including Designer Elizabeth Gadsby (Appropriate) and Associate Director Ian Michael (Constellations).
Ian Michael will then direct the reimagining of an Australian classic – Jane Harrison’s 1996 seminal play Stolen – which promises to be just as powerful, moving, and vitally relevant as the day it premiered; and from former Patrick White Playwright’s Fellow Anchuli Felicia King (White Pearl, The Poison of Polygamy) comes American Signs, an eviscerating look at corporate culture starring Catherine Van-Davies (Constellations).
In July, Kip Williams’ trilogy of gothic cine-theatre adaptations will conclude with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, performed by one actor – Zahra Newman (Fences, Julius Caesar). Following the critical-acclaim of its predecessors The Picture of Dorian Gray (2020) and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (2022), Dracula promises to be a thrilling end to one of the most innovative theatrical feats in recent history that will show off the full-range of Newman’s performing prowess.
Next up is US playwright Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Starring Kate Hood (Escaped Alone and What If If Only), Olivier Award-winning Philip Quast (Do not go gentle…) and Dan Daw (The Dan Daw Show), who also co-directs with Priscilla Jackman.
Justine Clarke will once again step into the shoes of Australia’s first female prime minister in the return season of Joanna Murray-Smith’s Julia, following its sold-out, critically-adored run in 2022. Julia, a co-production with Canberra Theatre Centre, offers an “electrifying” (The Guardian) insight into the person behind the public mask, and the experience of women in contemporary politics.
Merlynn Tong’s Golden Blood is a sweeping and intimate semi-autobiographical insight into the lives of two Singaporean siblings, coming to STC after a celebrated premiere season at Griffin Theatre Company; and for the kids there’s Barking Gecko Theatre’s stunning puppet show Cicada, adapted from Shaun Tan’s best-selling picture book of the same name.
Then STC is joining forces with Michael Cassel Group to bring the Tony-Award winning Broadway sensation Dear Evan Hansen to Australia for the first time. Directed by Dean Bryant (Fun Home, Hubris & Humiliation) and featuring music from Grammy and Academy Award-winning geniuses Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman).
The second transfer season of the year is the “world class production” (The Guardian) of Anthony Weigh’s Sunday from Melbourne Theatre Company, starring Nikki Shiels (The Picture of Dorian Gray) and directed by Sarah Goodes (Julia); and to finish the year, acting icons Paula Arundell and Lisa McCune will come head-to-head in the explosive Australian premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Sweat, directed by STC Resident Director Shari Sebbens (Fences).
Season packages for STC’s 2024 Season will be available from Tuesday 19 September. For more information, visit: www.sydneytheatre.com.au for details.
Images: A Fool In Love – photo by Rene Vaile | Heather Mitchell as RBG – photo by Rene Vaile | Stolen – photo by Rene Vaile | Golden Blood – photo by Rene Vaile