MTC Launches 2009 Season

Melbourne Theatre Company Artistic Director Simon Phillips this week announced that six plays in the 2009 season would be performed at the new MTC Theatre on Southbank Boulevard, and that they would all be Australian works.

“2009 is a landmark year in our new landmark building. With the new 500-seat Sumner Theatre and the 150-seat Lawler Studio to add to the Arts Centre theatres the breadth of work opens up enormously. For the first time in our history we will have the right theatre for any play and any sized audience imaginable,” said Phillips.

The 2009 season comprises 12 plays in total including three world premieres, five new West End and Broadway hits, the revival of a British classic and a Christmas revue.

Commenting on the season Phillips said, “Melbourne will get a truly thrilling selection of new Australian works and Australian premieres of plays that have proven themselves to be triumphs overseas. Everyone at the Company is in a state of excitement and anticipation as we launch this particularly adventurous and highly theatrical season.”

After fifteen years of planning the new $55 million MTC Theatre on Southbank Boulevard will host its opening performance on Tuesday 27 January 2009 with the world premiere of Poor Boy starring Guy Pearce. The MTC Theatre represents an exciting new architectural addition to Melbourne’s Southbank Cultural Precinct and a new era in the history of the MTC. Described by its architect Ian McDougall of award-winning Melbourne firm Ashton Raggett McDougall as “magical and theatrical and illusionistic”, it will empower MTC to reassert its status as one of Australia’s flagship performing
arts companies.

Home to two performance spaces, the 500-seat Sumner Theatre and the 160-seat Lawler Studio, the building is the result of a creative collaboration between McDougall and Simon Philips, MTC’s Artistic Director.

The Sumner will be Australia’s most technically advanced drama theatre featuring:
• Australia’s only fully flexible modular stage (enabling everything from traps to swimming pools to be installed)
• a fly tower housing 64 state-of-the-art powered flys, each capable of lifting 500kg
• in an Australian first, a fully flexible proscenium arch (enabling the stage to be used with or without a proscenium and the size of the proscenium to change to suit the production)
• an extensive thrust across three stage lifts (enabling the stage to move deep into the auditorium and potentially allowing for catwalk shows)
• spacious seating, superb sightlines with no seat more than 18m from the stage
• an interior design comprised of illuminated quotes from 80 iconic playwrights, including Aristophanes, David Williamson, Molière and Joanna Murray-Smith
• dressing rooms for 22 performers with (for the first time) natural light

In addition to Poor Boy, the other Australian plays in the season are:
• Andrew Bovell’s epic new work, When the Rain Stops Falling, one of the hits of the 2008 Adelaide Festival
• The world premiere of Rockabye, a new satirical comedy by Joanna Murray-Smith set in the world of celebrity, starring Nicki Wendt
• The world premiere of Realism by Paul Galloway, winner of the 2008 Wal Cherry Award for Best New Play, a backstage farce set in 1930s Soviet Union stars Miriam Margolyes
• A revival of the Australian classic, Dorothy Hewett’s The Man from Mukinupin, starring Amanda Muggleton
• A Christmas revue by Max Gillies and Guy Rundle, Godzone, which features the Reverend Rudd of Rudd Ministries

And there are six outstanding international plays in the season:
Grace by UK playwright Mick Gordon and philosopher AC Grayling is a moving and thought-provoking drama and will star Noni Hazlehurst in her Melbourne stage début
• Bruce Beresford will make his theatre directing début with the madcap Hollywood comedy Moonlight and Magnolias
• Joan Didion’s stage adaptation of her best-selling memoir The Year of Magical Thinking is presented in an acclaimed STC production directed by Cate Blanchett and starring Robyn Nevin
• Award-winning Broadway hit, August: Osage County by Tracy Letts, an American family drama, will be the biggest production of the year and will feature an ensemble led by Robyn Nevin, Jane Menelaus and Robert Menzies
• Yasmina Reza’s (Art, Life x 3) new savage comedy God of Carnage is about two supposedly civilised couples will star Pamela Rabe
• Harold Pinter’s first major play, the post-war classic The Birthday Party, will be revived in a production directed by Julian Meyrick

Further information:

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