The Seymour Centre announces inaugural Subscription Season

Today the Seymour Centre General Manager Julie Mullins proudly launched the inaugural Seymour Subscription Season declaring there is something for everyone in the 12-show package that will be presented in 2008.

The Subscription Season also realises the dream of Everest Reginald York Seymour (1905-1966) who as well as being a very successful businessman was also a great lover of music, theatre and Australian art. When Seymour died in 1966 he left a very generous bequest entrusting the University of Sydney to build a performing arts complex “the purchase or construction of a building to serve as a centre for the cultivation, education and performance of musical and dramatic art befitting the City of Sydney”.

Today the 2008 Season gives voice to that dream by reaching out to the community to create pathways and partnerships that tie artists, producers and audiences together. The 2008 Season joins the Seymour’s BITE project (Best Independent Theatre) and the newly formed ARTS BUNKER (an area underneath the theatre that will house independent arts organisations) to uphold Everest York Seymour’s vision.

In 2008 the Seymour will be home to four great musicals (all under $60) beginning with the World Premiere of The Hatpin, which promises as much dramatically as it does musically, starring the one and only Caroline O’Connor, along with Peter Cousens; exciting new talent Melle Stewart and the legendary Barry Crocker; the award-winning Off Broadway production of the wildly funny Altar Boyz; the return to the stage of the much loved Toni Lamond in Times of My Life; and yet another return season of the multi-award winning Keating!

The Seymour also shares in 2008 the Ensemble Theatre’s 50th birthday with a production that has a deep resonance for both of us — Arthur Miller’s classic Death of a Salesman starring Jacki Weaver and Sean Taylor. We welcome Steven Berkoff back to the York (the only stage, he tells his producer, that he will perform when in Sydney), and another consummate performer from Melbourne, the impressive John-Paul Hussey starring in Chocolate Monkey. The final two dramas in the ‘08 season include David Wiltse’s The Good German, and the moving, Valley Song, from South Africa’s greatest playwright, Athol Fugard.

Last but not least, there is a strong line up of family entertainment that includes the highly acclaimed physical theatre production by Wolfe Bowart, LaLaLuna, the much loved The Happy Prince by Kim Carpenter’s Theatre of Image, and a new production of Milli Jack and the Dancing Cat from our resident (Helpmann Award winning) children’s theatre company, Monkey Baa.


THE 2008 SEASON

23 February – 15 March
Neil Gooding Productions, White Box & Seymour Centre present
The Hatpin
Music by Peter Rutherford
Book & Lyrics by James Millar
Starring Caroline O’Connor, Peter Cousens, Barry Crocker, Melle Stewart


In 1892 a desperate mother, Amber Murray, makes a heartbreaking decision, the consequences of which are still being felt today. Using the moral support she gains from her friendship with the free spirited Harriet Piper, she fights the injustices of circumstance and tragedy to find hope and strength. Inspired by a true story, this beautifully written new Australian musical drama will linger with you long after the final curtain...it's fresh, hopeful and touching...a future classic.

April 28 – May 24
Black Pearl Theatre Company
The Good German
by David Wiltse
Directed by Sheryl Sciro


The Good German is a provocative story of the struggle for decency in a world gone mad. It tells the tale of four Germans during World War II. A university professor and his wife have, with some reluctance, hidden a Jew in their home to avoid his deportation. A solicitous administrative clerk for the Nazi regime is their close family friend and a frequent visitor. Author David Wiltse’s penetrating insights into the frailties and contradictions of human nature make this a compelling, and ultimately uplifting play.

15 – 26 April
Andrew McKinnon & the Seymour Centre
LaLaLuna
by Wolfe Bowart

La La Luna is a show for everyone in the spirit of Philip Genty, James Thierre’s Junebug Symphony and a long history of French clowning. Luminously inventive and magically silly, LaLaLuna flies you to the moon and back on a winged unicycle to a symphony of whoopee cushions and ukulele. LaLaLuna is a topsy-turvy world in which gravity isn’t always on its best behaviour and the universal cart of dreams is upturned. Bowart’s roundabout quest to illuminate the moon will take you to the top of a windswept stack of suitcases and spear your bum with cactus spines.

An extraordinary theatrical journey for the young and young at heart, this production marks LaLaLuna’s Sydney debut after its acclaimed international tour.

29 April – 10 May
Christine Dunstan Productions and Seymour Centre present
Times of My Life
Written by Toni Lamond and Tony Sheldon
Directed by Tony Sheldon
Starring Toni Lamond


Times of My Life is more than a history of Australian showbiz. It’s a candid, humorous and autobiographical story that is honest and inspirational.

Writers Toni Lamond and Tony Sheldon have crafted observations, anecdotes and rich archival footage into a play populated with scenes and people from an extraordinary life. Through the eyes of the inimitable and legendary Toni Lamond we plot an industry growing from its humble roots including the heady days of Australian television. Born into vaudeville, pioneering Australian music theatre and making her mark in cabaret are only part of this remarkable story. Celebrate 80 years of Australian entertainment with one who was there. As Toni Lamond turns back time she reveals a gifted, funny and vulnerable artist.

15 – 31 May
Ensemble Theatre present
Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Directed by Sandra Bates
Starring Jacki Weaver and Sean Taylor

 
More than fifty years after its first performance, Arthur Miller’s classic Pulitzer Prize winning play is still an extraordinarily relevant and powerful drama.

Willy Loman (Sean Taylor), a down-on-his-luck salesman, is staring into the embers of the American Dream. Linda (Jacki Weaver), his devoted wife, is barely holding the family together as her son Biff becomes increasingly disillusioned. In contrast, his brother Happy dreams about women…

The Seymour Centre is delighted to welcome back the Ensemble and this play — the first production of Death of a Salesman at the Seymour since the famous Nimrod production in 1982 with Mel Gibson, Judi Farr and Warren Mitchell.

4 June – 2 August
Ovations Live present
Altar Boyz
Directed by Kate Gaul

The wildly funny, all singing, all dancing, multi-award winning musical comedy that is now in its 3rd sensational year in New York.

The band kicks in with the opening number and the audience goes wild as the Apostles of Pop, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham hit the stage. The tight harmonies and dynamic choreography never let up from the title number "We are the Altar Boyz" to the closing "I Believe". With styles veering from disco to Latin, from hip hop to gospel, to rock and soaring Mariah Carey style ballads Altar Boyz is a joyous, funny musical… a non stop good time.

23 June – 12 July
Kim Carpenter’s Theatre of Image present
The Happy Prince
Adapted by Richard Tulloch
Directed by Kim Carpenter


The Happy Prince is the beautiful and universal tale of The Prince and The Little Swallow, a story as fresh and relevant now as when it was written. A classic story about love and giving, it is filled with tenderness, compassion and gentle humour. This widely-acclaimed production by Theatre of Image is brought vividly to life by a combination of outstanding multi-skilled actors and a myriad of styles of puppetry and striking visual illusions. Suits children aged 5-12 and families.

31 July – 31 August
Company B present
Keating!
Written by Casey Bennetto
Directed by Neil Armfield


KEATING! was nominated for no less than four 2007 Helpmann Awards and won three of them: Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Neil Armfield) and Best Supporting Actor (Terry Serio), in addition to a 2006 Helpmann Award for Best Original Score. Casey Bennetto’s scathingly hilarious lyrics tear through the reign and tragic fall of the Placido Domingo of Australian politics. Part French farce, part Greek tragedy, and all Australian history, ‘the musical we had to have’ transports you back to a time less politically grey.

4 – 16 August
Merrigong Theatre Company and Seymour Centre present
Valley Song
by Athol Fugard
Directed by Anne-Louise Rentell
Starring Phillip Hinton and Alexandria Steffensen


One of the twentieth century’s legendary theatre-makers brings us this beautiful play about how our hopes, dreams and fears shape us. In a tiny village, in a valley in the South African countryside, live seventeen year old Veronica and her aging grandfather, Buks. Her strong desire to leave the valley and follow her dreams is matched only by his determination to protect her and to resist the inevitable changes enveloping them. A newcomer to the village further threatens the simple life they have lived for so long. This Athol Fugard play by South Africa’s greatest playwright, resonates not only as a touchingly personal tale but as a metaphor for the emerging South Africa.

22 – 28 September
Andrew McKinnon & Malcolm C Cooke present
Steven Berkoff in
One Man

Two plays. One extraordinary actor. One Man is a 2-act social satire, consisting of two short plays: Tell Tale Heart: A gothic tale of horror, told by a man who stands alone in the spotlight, protesting sanity while he explains how he systematically went about killing and dismembering a neighbour Dog: A hilarious day in the life of a football hooligan and his pit bull terrier, Roy.

26 September – 1 October
Monkey Baa and the Seymour Centre present
Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat
by Stephen Michael King
Directed by John Saunders
Starring Tony Harvey
Music composed by Phil Scott


Milli, a solitary shoemaker, has a special gift for fixing things. She can take a thing that is a nothing and make it … a something. But people in the town only want ordinary, practical things. Milli spends her days making plain ordinary shoes. Night after night Milli dreams that she is brave enough to show everyone what she can really do. But each day is the same, until one morning she meets a couple of free spirits, Jack and the Dancing Cat.

Aimed at 3 to 8 year olds Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat engages people of all ages in its celebration of creativity, friendship and the following of one’s dreams.

14 – 25 October
Full Dress Productions and Seymour Centre present
Chocolate Monkey
Written and Performed by John-Paul Hussey
Directed by Lucien Savron

After sell-out seasons in Melbourne and Dublin, The Amazing Business’ remarkable tale of urban adventure, Chocolate Monkey, comes to the Seymour. Named best show of the year by ABC Radio National and nominated for 2 Green Room awards, Chocolate Monkey is a non-stop, hilarious, poignant and moving tour of the city and its intriguing underbelly.

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