Melbourne Theatre Company announces 2012 SeasonRobyn Nevin, Pamela Rabe and Aidan Fennessy announce MTC’s Season 2012.

In 2012 the Melbourne Theatre Company finds itself in the unusual position of being without a full time Artistic Director. The incumbent, Simon Phillips completes his tenure at the end of 2011 whilst the newly appointed Artistic Director Brett Sheehy, due to commitments with the Melbourne Festival, will fill the MTC Artistic Director role only part time until he is able to take up the position full time on 1 November 2012.

In the interim, the MTC Board have invited three of the Company's most well-known and multi-talented artists – Robyn Nevin, Pamela Rabe and Aidan Fennessy – to program the 2012 Season.

‘Theatre is the great temporal art form, experienced by the audience from moment to moment,’ said Robyn Nevin, Pamela Rabe and Aidan Fennessy, MTC’s Season 2012 Programming Team.

‘And it’s the moment that stays with each of us. Not all moments, of course; just a few, special moments that are caught in the mind: an image, a line, a gesture, a flash of brilliance, a thrill – glittering shards that stand for the whole. MTC spills out these bright, hard, gem-like moments that defy the erosion of memory. And it was perhaps our fleeting tenure as programmers that got us thinking about the ephemeral nature of theatre, prompting this year’s theme Don’t Miss The Moment.

‘We have had a fantastic time programming MTC’s Season 2012 and we are confident that we have put together a good mix of plays that cover the range of emotional and intellectual engagement which Melbourne audiences thirst for. We think that the result is a season where there is something special for everyone.

‘We also found ourselves, as we chose this season of plays, recalling our own favourite moments of past productions, and we dearly wanted this season, since it will be our only season, to be rich in take-home moments.'

MTC Season 2012 – 12 play mainstage season:

The year opens with the play that put Australian drama on the map, a revival of Ray Lawler’s classic Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. Neil Armfield will direct a Belvoir production starring Robyn Nevin, Steve Le Marquand and Helen Thomson.

The Australian premiere of Nina Raine’s Tribes is a sharp-jabbing drama about how families communicate. Cast includes Alison Bell, Brian Lipson and Sarah Peirse. Directed by ex-MTC Associate Director Julian Meyrick.

Actor and playwright Kate Mulvany makes an unflinching examination of her family history in The Seed, an absorbing drama about how hard family ties can bind and the long-lasting effects of war. Anne-Louise Sarks directs Tony Martin and Sara Gleeson.

John Logan’s multi-award winning play Red is a fascinating portrait of Mark Rothko, the great Russian-born American artist who distilled his art to essentials. A veteran of the stage, actor Colin Friels reunites with film director Alkinos Tsilimidos, in this must-see production.

The world premiere of Australian comic Jonathan Biggins’s play Australia Day takes a bright, funny swipe at our secular traditions. This brand new comedy does to Shire committees what David Williamson did to football management in The Club. Geoff Morrell is directed by Richard Cottrell.

Noni Hazlehurst steps into a climate change minefield in the Australian premiere of British playwright Richard Bean’s controversially funny play The Heretic, directed by Matt Scholten.

A co-production with Black Swan State Theatre Company, National Interest, based on the 1975 tragedy of the Balibo Five. MTC Associate Director Aidan Fennessy puts on his playwriting hat to personalise the headlines with a story of a family in the grip of grief. Fennessy’s personal connection to this story will enrich his direction of Julia Blake.

Rachel McDonald will direct a new production of William Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy. In Queen Lear, Robyn Nevin dons the royal crown for the ultimate night at the theatre, leading a cast which includes Rohan Nicol and Genevieve Picot.

His Girl Friday, John Guare’s adaptation of the screwball comedy film of the same name, and the original stage play The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. Aidan Fennessy will direct sixteen actors in this Hollywood classic; a cynical satire about tabloid journalism starring Pamela Rabe and Philip Quast.

Caryl Churchill’s timeless masterpiece Top Girls asks the difficult questions about women, career and corporate culture. Jenny Kemp returns to MTC to direct an all-female cast featuring Anita Hegh and Nikki Shiels.

Based on the award-winning novel of the same name comes the new production of the Norwegian cult classic Elling, adapted by Simon Bent. This strange but utterly delightful theatrical gem is about an odd couple who are forced to discover the richness of life in the ordinary world. Pamela Rabe will once again direct Darren Gilshenan in the revival of his acclaimed role as Elling.

Jane Menelaus and Richard Piper will close Season 2012 with Barry Oakley’s haunting and evocative new play Music. A story about a dying man and the people around him who are trying to tie up the loose ends of their ragged lives. The world premiere of Music marks Oakley’s return to theatre after many years.


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