Melbourne Theatre Company is thrilled to announce that international screen sensation Jai Courtney will return to Australia next year exclusively for MTC, to play the title role of Macbeth in Simon Phillips’ fearsome new production of Shakespeare’s epic tragedy.
Since training at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Jai Courtney is now one of the hottest names in Hollywood and has had an international career including starring roles in recent films Suicide Squad and the Divergent series.
In May 2017, Jai will return to Australia to begin rehearsals at Melbourne Theatre Company for Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of ambition, betrayal and murder. Former MTC Artistic Director Simon Phillips will bring his distinctive directing style to the dark classic, when it opens on Friday 9 June at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner.
On the exciting news, Jai Courtney said: ‘It’s an honour to be asked back to the stage for MTC’s 2017 production of Macbeth. It’s been some time since I had the chance to revisit my roots in the theatre but being a long-time admirer of Simon’s work, I jumped at the opportunity. I think given the current climate of fear in the world, there’s never been a better time to mount this twisted piece and I’m so thrilled to get the chance to come home and play.’
MTC’s Artistic Director Brett Sheehy AO said: ‘We are incredibly excited to secure Jai Courtney, along with some of Australia’s greatest talents, to bring this famous Shakespearean tragedy to life in Melbourne next year. With such a ferocious story, Macbeth lends itself to being one of the biggest stage events of the year – it is a must see for theatregoers in 2017.’
But the exciting casting news doesn’t stop there, with MTC thrilled to reveal a number of additions to the already impressive line-up of talent in its 2017 Season.
Joining the glamorous cast of Born Yesterday are some familiar faces including Heidi Arena (last seen in The Other Place) and Tyler Coppin (His Girl Friday), as well as some actors making their MTC debut – Russell Dykstra (Rake), comedian Chris Fortuna and Josh Gates (Anything Goes).
Returning to MTC after What Rhymes with Cars and Girls, Johnny Carr completes the cast of Annie Baker’s John, playing opposite Julia Blake, Ursula Mills and Helen Morse.
Kate Atkinson (Lungs), Peter Houghton (His Girl Friday) and Katherine Tonkin (The Cherry Orchard) will be seated with Catherine McClements in Joanna Murray-Smith’s dinner party in Three Little Words, while Rhys McConnochie (Endgame) and Georgina Naidu (Wentworth) take to the stage in Lally Katz’s Melbourne comedy, Minnie and Liraz.
Subscriptions for MTC’s 2017 Season are now available. Single tickets for the first three shows (Born Yesterday, John and_ Faith Healer_) are available from Thursday 1 December. Tickets for Macbeth go on sale Thursday 2 March, 2017. For more information and to book go to mtc.com.au, phone 03 8688 0800 or visit Southbank Theatre.
MTC’s 2017 season opens in grand period style with Garson Kanin’s Broadway classic Born Yesterday – a screwball romance that has plenty to say about the dark side of politics and the power of knowledge. With MTC Associate Director Dean Bryant at the helm and a cast including Christie Whelan Browne (The Odd Couple, The Wrong Girl) as Billie Dawn and Joel Jackson (Peter Allen: Not The Boy Next Door) as her bookish love interest, audiences will be swept up in the glamour of post-war America when the comedy masterpiece opens on Thursday 19 January at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner.
The incomparable Helen Morse (The Aunt’s Story), Julia Blake (The Crucible) and Johnny Carr (What Rhymes with Cars and Girls) return to the stage alongside Ursula Mills making her MTC debut in John, the latest highly acclaimed work from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker. Directed by MTC Associate Director Sarah Goodes, John opens on Thursday 16 February at Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio.
Brian Friel’s enduring work of art, Faith Healer, is an extraordinary creation presented in four beautifully sculpted monologues. Under the direction of Judy Davis, the transcendent, intricate drama will open in Melbourne on Thursday 9 March at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. In this Belvoir production, Colin Friels (Skylight) takes to the stage as the enigmatic faith healer, Francis Hardy – for whom his gift is both a blessing and a curse – alongside Alison Whyte (Summer of the Seventeenth Doll) as the loyal but damaged Grace and Pip Miller (Death of a Salesman) as his manager, Teddy.