B Sharp Unveil 2008 Season

Three new Australian works, two Australian premieres, a Philip Parsons Young Playwright’s Award commission, a classic Strindberg, two hard-hitting productions set in the Middle East and a two-hander that introduces a new, unrehearsed cast member every night are just some of the treasures in the acclaimed 2008 B Sharp Season at Belvoir St Downstairs Theatre this year.

The highly-awaited B Sharp Season, not only brings 10 incredible productions to Sydney theatre lovers, but this year also introduces a new visual identity for B Sharp.

The 2008 B Sharp season kicks off on April 18 with Brendan Cowell’s newest work, his Philip Parsons Young Playwright’s Award commission, Ruben Guthrie. Directed by Company B’s new Associate Artist, Wayne Blair, Ruben Guthrie delves into the snow-balling issue of binge drinking in Australia and offers a funny yet hard-hitting look at the effects of alcohol abuse in corporate Australia.

May brings the incredible, internationally-acclaimed play My Name is Rachel Corrie – a work based on the journals of the 23-year old American peace activist who was killed by an Israeli military bulldozer on March 16, 2003. The Australian premiere of this powerful play opens at Belvoir St Theatre two days before the premiere in Israel.

August Strindberg’s Miss Julie opens in June, taking audiences back to Sweden, midsummer 1894, when the daughter of the Count enters a dangerous, lust-driven and potentially fatal battle of power with her father’s footman. Russian born director Vladislavs Nastavshevs promises a magnetic and intimate contemporary rendering of Strindberg’s classic text.

In June we welcome Simon Stone back to Belvoir St Theatre after his performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Upstairs in 2007. This time Simon is in the Director’s chair as his hit Melbourne production, a contemporary reworking of Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening, takes to the stage.

Ride On – the acclaimed team behind last year’s standout productions The Merchant of Venice and Bone – are producing An Oak Tree, opening in July. A two-hander where one role is performed by a different, unrehearsed actor every night, Tim Crouch’s award-winning play is a vivid, risky and hilarious experience.

Next is the debut play from Tahli Corin – Bumming With Jane. Inspired by the poetry of Charles Bukowski, and modern Australian city-dwellers, Bumming with Jane is a funny, loving and beguiling first play about love, poverty and freedom.

Homebody/Kabul, opening in September, follows the story of a lonely British housewife and her fascination with an out-of-date travel guide as together they go on an eye-opening journey into Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Written before the events on September 11 2001 by the visionary author of Angels in America, Tony Kushner, Christopher Hurrell directs this breath-taking tumble into the throbbing capital of Afghanistan.

Black Comedy, Killer Joe, opens on 8 October and promises a beautiful, yet terrifying drama from contemporary master playwright Tracy Letts. Killer Joe is as complex and tender as it is unflinching and explicit as it drags us deep into the heartland of cowboy culture to a dusty trailer park on the outskirts of Dallas, Texas. We warmly welcome director Iain Sinclair back to the Downstairs stage after his 2007 production, The Seed, took theatre audiences by storm and walked away with the 2007 Sydney Theatre Award for Best Independent Production.

Winner of the 2004 Wal Cherry Award and the 2005 Malcolm Robertson Prize A View of Concrete opens in October. An explosive new Australian work from Melbourne playwright Gareth Ellis, A View of Concrete delves into life on the dark side and emerges with funny, twisted and gripping visions of a world that may be closer to us than we think.

B Sharp wraps 2008 up with Queen C – a dazzling and poetic work by one of Finland’s leading playwrights, Laura Ruohonen. Queen C is the story of the enigmatic mid-17th century Swedish monarch known as the “Girl King” as she was raised a boy. Queen C is a sensual, sometimes raucous, human portrayal of an uncompromising woman, full of provocative questions about sexuality and the nature of identity.

Company B’s new Downstairs Theatre Director, Annette Madden, says, “This year’s B Sharp Season examines, celebrates and explodes the here-and-now with ten outstanding, creative adventures – ten unique visions of our world, bubbling with stories of our hearts, minds and politics.

“We’ve hunted high and low and hand picked the very best works for our jewel-box Downstairs Theatre. These are the stories demanding to be told, fuelled by an energy that can’t be ignored. In a world of mass cultural consumption B Sharp offers an immediate and intimate theatrical alternative,” she said.

B Sharp also proudly presents a new look this year, designed to reinforce B Sharp’s important role within the Company B family and to generate a sharp and distinctive new look to be used across all productions throughout the year. Made up of a new logo and visual identity, B Sharp is reinforcing its vision and position as one of the leading architects of independent theatre in Australia.

B Sharp is the unique partnership between Company B and small independent theatre teams.  B Sharp’s aim is to support developing theatre practice and showcase fantastic independent theatrical works in a nurturing mainstream environment. B Sharp productions reflect the diversity of this sector, presenting new Australian works, re-invented classics and cutting-edge contemporary international writing.

B Sharp booking information:

Venue: Belvoir St, Downstairs Theatre, 25 Belvoir St, Surry Hills
Times: Tues 7pm, Wed-Sat 8.15pm, Sun 5.15pm
Tickets: $29/$23 (Preview $20, Cheap Tues Pay-what-you-can min $10)
Bookings: 9699 3444 or www.belvoir.com.au

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