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A New Light: Melbourne Theatre Company 2013

The launch of the Melbourne Theatre Company's 2013 season - under the leadership of new Artistic Director Brett Sheehy, accomplished a lot. A new logo - neon. A name for the MTC theatre building - the Southbank Theatre. The Open Door initiatives: shows for young audiences, Pathways for emerging artists and Neon - a thrilling studio season.

Oh, yes - and the eleven plus one shows that make up the MTC's mainstage season. Including another brand new initiative, Zeitgeist - more on that in a moment.

While the umbrella title for the season is "A New Light", the theme of the launch was inclusiveness. 

We have household names like David Williamson, alongside other mainstage regulars like Johanna Murray-Smith and Allison Bell and Robyn Nevin, presenting work with Sam Strong, Simon Stone, Alkinos Tsilimidos and Nadia Tass.

And the incredible Neon initiative, allowing The Haylot Project, Sisters Grimm, The Rabble, Fraught Outfit and Daniel Schlusser Ensemble to present brand new works, supported by the MTC but without artistic interference.

Plus the Pathways commitment to supporting emerging artists through readings and commissions.

And two shows specifically designed for young audiences - Beached and I Love You, Bro. Along with the "plus one" show in the main season, The Book of Everything.

The collective energy of this new direction excites me more than any one particular project. Sheehy wants his season to breathe and allow for surprises. Zeitgeist is an attempt to keep the door open for very fresh new work to presented on the main stage, without being constricted by the long lead time of planning a season this far out. The show will not be selected until the new year and allows Sheehy to slip in something new, something unexpected, something fresh. It's part of the subscription season, but it's a question mark - and that's thrilling for a state theatre company.

Beyond the thrill of Zeitgeist, the mainstage season may be selected, but many remain cast free at this point. I am so used to shows being sold at the launch with leads locked in place, but a couple of shows have no actors attached at this point at all.

What am I most excited about?

The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Directed by Sam Strong. Starring David Wenham. Strong described it as a kind of perfect storm for him - and it seems for an audience, too, given all of those elements.

Simon Stone's The Cherry Orchard (after Anton Chekov). Starring Pamela Rabe. Given my aversion to Chekov, this seems like the ideal solution. For me, at least. And with Rabe? Yes. Just, yes.

Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz Directed by Strong. Starring Robyn Nevin. It might sound like Nevin is typecast here, but who cares?

Solomon and Marion by Lara Foot. Directed by Pamela Rabe. Starring Jacki Weaver. Yes, Jacki is coming back home. Cannot wait.


Anonymous said…
I saw Book of Everything twice - once with an 11yo and once with adults, and would go again in a heartbeat.
Keith Gow said…
As soon as Book of Everything was announced, I knew there was at least one show that Jane would approve of :)
xofro said…
I saw it at Belvoir - it was marvellous :)

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