Show artwork for Golden Shield

Golden Shield

MTC Associate Artistic Director Sarah Goodes directs Golden Shield, the first ever MTC NEXT STAGE Original to be produced, written by remarkable 25-year-old playwright Anchuli Felicia King, who this year alone will have her work performed on the stages of MTC, Sydney Theatre Company and The Royal Court in London.

Nicholas Bell (The Architect), Gabrielle Chan (Chimerica), Jing-Xuan Chan (Hungry Ghosts), Fiona Choi (The Family Law), Yi Jin (Madame Butterfly)Josh McConville (The Sugar House), Sophie Ross (The Bleeding Tree) and Yuchen Wang (The Nightingale and the Rose) star in this piercing and extremely timely new work, opening on Friday 16 August at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner.

Interweaving multiple storylines across the globe, Golden Shield explores the personal and political implications of corporate greed with an incisive and disarming humour.

Sarah Goodes said, ‘Golden Shield is one-part thriller, one-part human drama about translation and how we communicate amongst the overwhelming hum of the digital world. Reading Felicia’s brilliant play, I was captivated by its investigation of cross-cultural values and philosophies of our information age, while the bilingual characters illuminate the frequently fraught lines of human interaction. It is an astounding new play by a very exciting new voice.’

Anchuli Felicia King said ‘For me, the play is really about our failures to communicate on all fronts – not only between different languages and cultures, but between technologies, judicial systems, family members and lovers. It looks at the art of translating not only literal text, but also subtext and context, to reveal the total sum of semiotic misfires that can happen when two parties try to bridge a communicative chasm. I really hope that what people take away from the play is that the attempt to translate, as fraught as it is, is what really counts – that as multivalent and impossible as communication is, we have to keep trying because it’s the best mechanism we have.’

Tenacious young lawyer Julie Chen brings her sister, Eva, on board as a translator in a risky legal battle with international ramifications. Leading a class action exposing an American tech giant’s involvement with the Chinese government’s internet firewall, Golden Shield, they must put their differences aside to confront large-scale censorship, corporate greed and their own complicated past.  

Golden Shield was commissioned and developed as part of MTC's NEXT STAGE Writers' Program, a $4.6 million joint investment between MTC and the donors of the MTC Playwrights Giving Circle, intended to create new, stage-ready works through the fostering of ongoing, meaningful engagements with writers and their plays.

Anchuli Felicia King is a multidisciplinary artist of Thai-Australian descent who works primarily in live theatre. In 2018, her play Slaughterhouse was part of MTC’s Cybec Electric play reading series and she was awarded a commission through MTC’s NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program. Her areas of interest include emerging technologies, 2D animation, VFX and projection design, music production, writing for performance and technodramaturgy. Her play, White Pearl, is programmed in the 2019 seasons at The Royal Court, London and Sydney Theatre Company. She is a member of EST's Youngblood Group, Ars Nova's Play Group and Roundabout's Space Jam Program. Currently based in New York, Felicia has worked with a wide range of companies and institutions, including Punchdrunk, PlayCo, 3LD Art & Technology Center, Roundabout Theater, 59E59, Ars Nova, the Obie Awards, The Builders Association, Ensemble Studio Theater and Red Bull Theater. 

MTC Associate Artistic Director Sarah Goodes previously directed for MTC CosiArbus & West, Astroman, A Doll’s House - Part 2, The Children, Three Little Words, John and Switzerland. Sarah’s reputation as a leading director of new Australian and international work has been built on widespread praise and multiple award nominations. Formerly Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company, Sarah directed The Hanging, Disgraced, Orlando, Battle of Waterloo, The Effect, Vere (Faith), The Splinter, and Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness. Her other directing credits include Elling, Black Milk, The Sweetest Thing, and The Small Things (Belvoir); The Colour of Panic (Sydney Opera House); Vertigo and the Virginia, The Schelling Point, Hilt, and What Happened Was (Old Fitz Theatre); and The Unscrupulous Murderer Hasse Karlson Reveals the Gruesome Truth about the Woman Who Froze to Death on a Railway Bridge (Darlinghurst Theatre Company). In 2015 she was the recipient of the Gloria Payten Travel Scholarship. 

Cast Nicholas Bell, Gabrielle Chan, Jing-Xuan Chan, Fiona Choi, Yi Jin, Josh McConville, Sophie Ross, Yuchen Wang

Director Sarah Goodes
Set & Costume Design The Sisters Hayes
Lighting Designer Damien Cooper
Composer & Sound Designer Luke Smiles
Associate Designer Kat Chan
Assistant Director Alice Qin

Season Dates
12 August – 14 September

Opening Night
Friday 16 August

Southbank Theatre, The Sumner

03 8688 0800


Commissioned through MTC’s NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program with the support of our Playwrights Giving Circle Donors, The Ian Potter Foundation, Naomi Milgrom Foundation, The Myer Foundation, Malcolm Robertson Foundation and The University of Melbourne.

Published on 2 July 2019