An array of magnificent wildlife puppets by Dead Puppet Society will feature on stage alongside Ellen Bailey (Harrow), John Batchelor (Underbelly: Razor), Tony Briggs (Black is the New White), Emily Burton (Single Asian Female), Drew Wilson (Alice in Wonderland) and newcomer Conor Lowe in Tom Holloway’s adaptation of the much-loved Australian classic, Storm Boy, when it opens at Southbank Theatre on Friday 21 June.
Directed by Sam Strong, this Melbourne Theatre Company and Queensland Theatre co-production sees the creative team behind MTC’s Helpmann Award-winning production of Jasper Jones join forces with the Olivier Award-nominated visual theatre company, Dead Puppet Society, to transport audiences into the wild beauty of the Coorong.
Puppet Designer and Associate Director David Morton will helm the creation of 18 puppet pelicans, some with more than 1,200 pieces in them, as well as a menagerie of animals including fairy penguins, crayfish and a tiger snake.
Sam Strong said, ‘Storm Boy has become such a cherished Australian story because it so movingly charts the journey from childhood to adulthood, speaking with equal poignancy to both children and adults. Tom Holloway has lovingly translated the original novel for the stage and created a beautiful story of life, loss and mending what’s broken. We’re looking forward to a creating an epic, intimate and magical new production that will bring this classic to life in a way that only the theatre can.'
In a wild and remote area of coastline on South Australia’s Coorong, Storm Boy and his reclusive father live in a secluded shack, hidden away from the harsh realities of city life. After befriending a local Ngarrindjeri man, Storm Boy discovers three orphaned pelican chicks and decides to take them in. What follows is a remarkable journey of discovery that will change his life forever.
Sam Strong is currently the Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre and has previously been the Chair of Circa, the Associate Artistic Director of MTC, the Artistic Director of Griffin Theatre Company, the Literary Associate at Belvoir, and the founding Dramaturg in Residence at Red Stitch Actors Theatre. His recent productions have included Hydra, Nearer the Gods, Jasper Jones, Twelfth Night with songs by Tim Finn, and Once in Royal David’s City. He has directed productions for Queensland Theatre, MTC, STC, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Black Swan State Theatre Company, Belvoir, Griffin Theatre Company, Red Stitch and the Sydney and Melbourne Festivals. Sam has won Best Direction of a Mainstage Production at the Sydney Theatre Awards, and has received multiple nominations for Best Direction and Best Play at the Greenroom Awards, the Sydney Theatre Awards, and the Helpmann Awards.
Tom Holloway is a multi-award-winning playwright whose work has been staged extensively both in Australia and around the world. In 2016, MTC staged his adaptation of Double Indemnity, also directed by Sam Strong. His adaptation of Storm Boy won the 2014 AWGIE Award for Young Audiences). His plays include And No More Shall We Part (2010 AWGIE Award for Best Stage Play and 2010 Louis Esson Prize for Drama in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards), Forget Me Not, Beyond The Neck (2007 winner AWGIE Award for Best Stage Play), Red Sky Morning (2007 R. E. Ross Trust Development Award, 2009 Green Room Award Best New Writing for the Australian Stage) and Love Me Tender. He was librettist for the operas South Pole and Make No Noise for the Bavarian State Opera. Tom is currently under commission as part of MTC’s NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program and the Bavarian State Opera.
Cast Ellen Bailey, John Batchelor, Tony Briggs, Emily Burton, Conor Lowe, Drew Wilson
Director Sam Strong
Puppet Designer & Associate Director David Morton
Set & Costume Designer Anna Cordingley
Lighting Designer Matt Scott
Composer & Sound Designer Darrin Verhagen
Projection Designer Justin Harrison
Voice Coach Jean Goodwin
17 June – 20 July
Friday 21 June
Southbank Theatre, The Sumner
03 8688 0800