Company B Announces 2008 Season

Company B 2008 Season LaunchCompany B has announced its 2008 season of plays, with a strong emphasis on the power of great storytelling to strengthen the bond of understanding between communities, cultures and generations.

For over 20 years, the recently refurbished Belvoir St Theatre has been a much-loved meeting place for Sydney theatre audiences and artists, where Company B’s productions have celebrated the sharing of stories.

Company B’s artistic director Neil Armfield said, “Our 2008 Season is defined by its powerful sense of fable, of large cultural ideas finding definition in the emblematic patterns of relationship and behaviour. The idea of our community coming together for enriching exchange is no more evident than in our first production for the year, Ngapartji Ngapartji. This groundbreaking, joyous and deeply moving theatre experience will have our audiences totally immersed in the language, songs and stories of the Pitjantjatjara community, whose representatives are travelling thousands of miles to share with us at Belvoir St.”

What is also noticeable in the season is the variety of wonderfully strong, complex roles for women. In 2008, Company B will be welcoming back Kate Mulvany, Deborah Mailman, Paula Arundell and Ursula Yovich in four different plays which follow four very different women through the passages of loss, social trauma and redemption.

“I am also delighted by the ways in which our 2008 Season will turn the spotlight on some of the immensely talented artists emerging from Australia’s healthy independent theatre scene,” Neil Armfield said. “Iain Sinclair, Chris Kohn and Craig Ilott are directors who have really made a mark on our own Downstairs Theatre stage or beyond. I am thrilled to welcome them to the Belvoir St upstairs stage for the first time. And I am particularly proud of the evolution of Kate Mulvany’s The Seed which started life as the winner of our 2004 Philip Parsons Young Playwright’s Award, and joins our 2008 Season via a successful B Sharp production this year.”

Of the seven productions in Company B’s 2008 Season, the unique indigenous work Ngapartji Ngapartji kicks the year off in January as part of the 2008 Sydney Festival. Created by social change arts organisation, Big hART, Trevor Jamieson and Scott Rankin’s long term indigenous language project is coming to Belvoir St Theatre for its first full length season, following sold-out appearances at recent Melbourne and Perth festivals. Trevor Jamieson performs in this interactive celebration of culture, language, song and dance, accompanied by a traditional Pitjantjatjara choir.

In February, award-winning playwright and actor Kate Mulvany’s quirky yet hard-hitting family story, The Seed, will take the trek up the Belvoir St Theatre stairs featuring the original B Sharp production cast of Danny Adcock, Kate Mulvany and Martin Vaughan.

Sophocles’ Antigone is up next, opening in April. Directed by exciting Melbourne-based director Chris Kohn, the 2007 Helpmann Best Supporting Female Actor Award-winner, Deborah Mailman, will be taking on this epic role.

A recent hit in London and New York, Martin McDonagh’s 2004 Olivier Award-winning The Pillowman is a black comedy about a short story writer and his somewhat unsolicited role in a series of brutal murders. Craig Ilott created a sensation with his production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and now he makes his much-anticipated Company B debut with The Pillowman, and a cast that includes Damon Herriman.

Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad’s Scorched takes audiences into a war-torn country, with the Australian premiere of the English version of his play Incendies – an extraordinary mystery thriller that follows the respective journeys of a mother and her twins. Neil Armfield directs the wonderful Paula Arundell who last appeared at Belvoir St Theatre in Paul. Neil describes this play as “a masterpiece of contemporary world theatre”.

Dallas Winmar, whose play Aliwa! had a celebrated season at Belvoir St Theatre in 2001, will take audiences on the extraordinary journey of her own grandmother in the world premiere of Yibiyung. Wesley Enoch directed Ursula Yovich in her Helpmann Best Female Actor Award-winning role in Company B’s Capricornia. They will team up again for Yibiyung with Ursula playing the title role.

Company B’s final production for the year will actually be two plays. It will be a Festival of Ridiculusmus in November when the celebrated two-man company of David Woods and Jon Haynes bring us Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and their own Tough Time, Nice Time. Returning to Sydney after a sell-out season at Sydney Opera House in 2006, The Importance of Being Earnest has David and Jon playing all nine characters. Tough Time, Nice Time comes to Belvoir St direct from its world premiere season in London. Not for the faint-hearted, it follows the dark and funny rantings of two German sex tourists in a Bangkok jacuzzi. Preposterously erudite, a bit strange, and stupidly funny, Company B is battening down the hatches to let Ridiculusmus run amok at Belvoir St Theatre.

To receive a free copy of the Company B 2008 Season Book, call 1800 777 405.

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