Melbourne Theatre Company Artistic Director Brett Sheehy AO today revealed MTC’s 2016 Season – a year of remarkable theatre, entertainment and activity at Victoria’s home of live storytelling.
‘2016 marks the fourth Melbourne Theatre Company Season I’ve had the great privilege to curate,’ Brett Sheehy said. ‘Navigating a theatre company through this second decade of the 21st Century is both a joy and a challenge as we strive to achieve the right balance of stories and art which excites our loyal, intrepid subscribers and also speaks to new audiences about their lives in an arresting and compelling way.’
‘In this 2016 program I believe we have found a perfect mix of works – a suite of plays which can speak with great meaning to any of the six million citizens of our State. The combination of exciting Australian premieres of the best new international plays, world premieres of fresh Australian works, and new productions of much-loved classics guarantees there is something on offer that will entertain, challenge and enlighten all our lives, and enable us to see the world in original and enriching ways,’ Mr Sheehy said.
MTC’s 2016 Season features 11 mainstage plays, a family production, NEON NEXT, an extensive Education Program, the Cybec Electric play reading series, a Women in Theatre program, regional and interstate touring, MTC CONNECT and a range of other artist development initiatives.
Gracing MTC’s stages in 2016 are a host of celebrated actors including Kat Stewart, Shaun Micallef, Colin Friels, Kate Atkinson, Bert LaBonté, Mark Leonard Winter, Sarah Peirse, Christen O’Leary, Bobby Fox, and Ash Flanders; and award-winning directors including Kip Williams, Nadia Tass, Simon Phillips, Clare Watson, Peter Houghton, Sarah Goodes, MTC’s Associate Artistic Director Sam Strong and Associate Director Leticia Cáceres.
These artists will be bringing to life works by some of the finest writers from Australia and abroad including Joanna Murray-Smith, Kate Mulvany, Tom Holloway, Carolyn Burns, Young Jean Lee, Duncan Macmillan, Deborah Bruce, Ayad Akhtar, David Hare, Neil Simon and August Strindberg.
MTC’s 2016 Season opens in stylish fashion with Ladies in Black, a new musical which features music and lyrics by Tim Finn and sees the return of the creative masterminds behind North by Northwest, Simon Phillips and Carolyn Burns.
Kate Atkinson and Bert LaBonté star in the Australian premiere of Lungs, a funny, tender and profound two-hander by British writer Duncan Macmillan, directed by Clare Watson.
MTC Associate Director Leticia Cáceres leads the Australian premiere of The Distance, a smash-hit from London with big laughs and moral dilemmas that examine the emotional fallout when a woman walks out on her husband and children.
2015 Helpmann award-winning director Kip Williams brings the theatrical masterpiece Miss Julie to MTC for a modern revival, starring the inimitable Mark Leonard Winter, fresh from his acclaimed performance in Birdland.
Straight White Men, the razor-edged new comedy from one of American theatre’s most acute observers of race and identity, Young Jean Lee, is taken on by MTC Associate Director Leticia Cáceres.
One of the greatest crime novels of our times, Double Indemnity, is given a brilliant stage adaptation by Tom Holloway with direction by MTC Associate Artistic Director Sam Strong.
Led by award-winning director Dean Bryant, David Hare’s contemporary classic Skylight returns to MTC starring Colin Friels and Anna Samson as the estranged lovers who reunite and old passion sparks.
The critically-acclaimed novel Jasper Jones is lovingly transformed into a rich and poignant stage production, adapted by Kate Mulvany and directed by MTC’s Associate Artistic Director Sam Strong.
Kat Stewart and Mitchell Butel star in Disgraced, the 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama that proves politics and dinner parties are never a good mix, directed by Nadia Tass.
Joanna Murray-Smith’s acclaimed two-hander, Switzerland, comes to MTC with the stunning original Sydney Theatre Company team of actors Sarah Peirse and Eamon Farren, and director Sarah Goodes.
And MTC’s 2016 mainstage season closes with Shaun Micallef and Francis Greenslade playing the famous mismatched duo in comedy classic The Odd Couple, directed by Peter Houghton.
In addition to the mainstage productions, MTC continues its commitment to family programming with Egg, a world premiere co-production with Terrapin Puppet Theatre, from acclaimed creative team Angela Betzien and Leticia Cáceres.
Also in 2016, MTC’s NEON Festival evolves into NEON NEXT – an incubator for commissioning, developing and presenting independent works for the stage. NEON NEXT sees Sisters Grimm return to the Company with their new production Lilith: The Jungle Girl, commissioned and presented by MTC, and Daniel Schlusser and Nicola Gunn commence work on new commissions. Throughout the year NEON NEXT will also provide opportunities for independent theatre practitioners to take part in free professional development workshops and masterclasses.
MTC’s award-winning Education Program continues with a brand new work for VCE students, along with a range of unique learning opportunities and resources for students and teachers. Peddling by Harry Melling will make its Australian premiere as MTC’s Education production, and will tour to regional Victoria and Tasmania after its season at Southbank Theatre. In 2016, MTC’s Sharing the Light initiative, supported by Crown Resorts Foundation, enters its second year, enriching the lives of young people throughout the state with subsidised $5 tickets for eligible schools and families, an Indigenous Scholarship Program and a regional tour of MTC’s Education production.
Alongside the work taking place on MTC’s stages, the successful Cybec Electric play reading series returns, as do MTC’s many initiatives designed to foster, develop and support the creative talent of Australian artists. These initiatives include the Assistant Directors Program, MTC Commissions, MTC CONNECT and the Women in Theatre Program – an expansion of MTC’s Women Directors Program to embrace all areas of the theatre industry.
Brett Sheehy said, ‘There’s no shortage of remarkable theatrical experiences, activities and learning opportunities at MTC in 2016. In addition to presenting a program of exceptional theatre we continue to nurture the individuals who make up the creative industry we are so lucky to have in this country.’
‘I invite you to join me on the theatrical journeys which our dozens of extraordinary artists – writers, directors, actors, designers and other creatives – are passionate about taking us on,’ Mr Sheehy said.
Subscription Packages for MTC’s 2016 Season are now on sale.
Single tickets for Ladies in Black, Lungs and The Distance go on sale on Tuesday 1 December, and single tickets for all remaining shows go on sale on Tuesday 8 March 2016.