Press Releases


13 Jan 2016

Kate Atkinson (Wentworth, The Waiting Room) and Bert LaBonté (Birdland, The Mountaintop) star in Lungs, a funny, tender and profound new play by critically acclaimed British writer Duncan Macmillan. Bringing our uncertainties and unspoken thoughts about the future into full voice, Lungs makes its Australian premiere on Thursday 11 February at Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio.

Clare Watson returns to MTC following the success of last year’s What Rhymes with Cars and Girls to direct this modern romantic drama that proves parenthood is not for the fainthearted.

Director Clare Watson said, ‘I’m thrilled to be returning to MTC with Lungs, it’s a play that is both hilarious and devastating. This couple are bitingly witty, they banter and riff off one another but their fundamental question is bleak: if the planet stands a chance, shouldn’t humans stop making more humans?’

In Ikea – of all places – a man tentatively suggests to his partner that perhaps they should start a family, and whoosh – out fly all her pent up anxieties for the future. What follows is months of this couple’s unending questioning of their impending parenthood compressed into one seamless, funny conversation. And while they fret and bicker over the biggest decision of their lives, the real question becomes whether there’s enough love in the mix to hold things together.

Clare Watson made her MTC mainstage directing debut with the critically acclaimed What Rhymes with Cars and Girls in 2015. Previously, she had worked with the Company as Assistant Director on Rupert in 2013 and directed On the Production of Monsters for the 2012 Lawler Studio season. Clare is the Artistic Director of St Martins Youth Arts Centre.

In 2014, she was director in Residence at Malthouse Theatre and she is an MTC Women Directors Program alumna. Her stage credits include I Heart John McEnroe (Uninvited Guests/Theatre Works); The Man with the September Face (Full Tilt/Arts Centre); Smashed (Stables); and Hotel (Melbourne Fringe Festival).

Duncan Macmillan is a UK-based, multi-award-winning writer, who has written extensively for theatre in addition to working in radio, television and film. His work for the stage includes Monster; the acclaimed adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, which played at the 2015 Melbourne Festival; and adaptations of Reise durch die Nacht, Don Juan Comes Back from the War and Eugene Onegin. For radio Duncan’s work includes I Wish to Apologise for My Part in the Apocalypse, So Say All of Us and Family Tree (all BBC).

Cast Kate Atkinson and Bert LaBonté

Director Clare Watson

Set Designer Andrew Bailey

Costume designer Kate Davis

Lighting designer Richard Vabre

Composer & Sound designer Russell Goldsmith

‘Both uproariously funny and unbearably poignant.’ Exeunt Magazine

‘It is the most beautiful, quietly shattering play of the year.’ Sunday Express

Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio

Season dates
5 February – 19 March

Opening night
Thursday 11 February, 8pm

Cast and artist Q&A
Monday 1 February, 6pm

Single tickets
On sale now
03 8688 0800 or

Arts Centre Melbourne
1300 182 183

Published on 13 January 2016