With classic drama and cutting edge contemporary work, Queensland Theatre Company’s 2015 season promises to be one of something for everyone, jam-packed with 14 shows, including 4 world premieres.
From comedy legends like Noeline Brown, to up-and-coming talents like Naomi Price, the list of stars is quite staggering, reading like a virtual who’s who of Brisbane Theatre – Jason Klarwein, Hugh Parker, Margi Brown Ash, Barbara Lowing, Carol Burns, Dash Kruck, Emily Burton, Christen O’Leary and Lucas Stibbard (to name but a few). The same applies in the Director stakes with productions from Artistic Director Wesley Enoch, Artistic Associate Todd MacDonald, Resident Directors Andrea Moor and Jason Klarwein, and 2014-15 Premier’s Drama Award winner Daniel Evans, with his winning work “Oedipus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, in May/June.
Relationships are at the core of any quality theatre and whether they be with family, friends, home, city or self, this seems to be covered in the eclectic mix of works for 2015. Indigenous pieces continue to occupy an important part of the company’s repertoire, as is reflected in the inclusion of two shows – the 20th anniversary return of Enoch’s and Deborah Mailman’s powerful story about the grief of Aboriginal people and the hope of reconciliation, “The 7 Stages of Grieving” in March and the world premiere of “Country Strong” in July, which focuses on indigenous singing superstar Jimmy Little. Indeed, music too, occupies a key component of the programming, which also features the new musical “Ladies in Black” (an adaptation of Madeleine St John’s 1993 novel) with original music from Tim Finn to round out the season in November. And if that is not diverse enough, there are even some puppets c/o Dead Puppet’s Society’s “Argus” in May.
Carrying on the gender roles theme that has characterised much of Brisbane’s recent programming, the Mainstage season begins in January with the Oscar Wilde-ish “Boston Marriage”, a witty tale of women dwelling together on the fringes of the Boston elite, starring double Helpmann Award-winning actor Amanda Muggleton. Following its Melbourne World Premiere, February’s “Mother & Son” (from the creator of the hit TV series) similarly features some stage stalwarts and household names, including Noeline Brown, Rob Carlton and Rachel Beck.
Balancing the bookend comedy of the early works and October’s “The Odd Couple” from multi-award winning playwright Neil Simon, is QTC’s Actor’s Studio’s presentation in August/September of Chekov’s classic “The Seagull”, featuring a stellar ensemble cast. And if there is one thing Brisbane Theatre does well, it is tell Brisbane stories, so expectation is high for April’s World Premiere of “Brisbane”, by local playwright Matthew Ryan, a story of our big country town in 1942 before World War II took its innocence.
To complement the Mainstage season, five works will be presented at The Greenhouse in July/August. These will include “The 7 Stages of Grieving” as well as Margi Brown Ash sharing her life story in “Home”, Carol Burns in Samuel Beckett’s absurd, surreal work “Happy Days”. Libby Munro as an air-force pilot grounded by pregnancy in “Grounded” and Naomi Price as pop star Adele in a return season of “Rumour Has It”.
2014 has been a bumper year for QTC, with “Macbeth” heralded as the highest-selling show in over a decade. And though it may be a 2015 season sans Shakespeare, with the variety and talent on offer in its line-up, this seems like a trend that is only set to continue as the company builds on its reputation for producing quality works of art.
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