Rain did not dampen Andrew Upton's enthusiasm for his end of reign launch of Sydney Theatre Company's 2016 season.
Handing over the reins to incoming artistic director Jonathan Church, who will be commuting between England's Chichester Festival Theatre and Sydney for much of next year, Upton has programmed a mix of classics, revival, new work and guest company productions.
Spearheading the season will be The Golden Age by Louis Nowra and an encore of Secret River, adapted from the novel by Kate Grenville by Andrew Bovell and directed by Neil Armfield.
Upton enthused that these two plays will hold a conversation together.
Two new Australian plays, Machu Pichu by Sue Smith, The Hanging by Angela Betzien as well as five new short plays by Melissa Bubnic, Michelle Lee, Nakkiah Lui, Hannie Rayson and Debra Thomas under the banner of POWER, showcase contemporary local writing.
From the American repertoire of modern classics comes Arthur Miller's All My Sons starring John Howard and Robyn Nevin and David Mamet's Speed the Plow with Rose Byrne, and the recent Pulitzer Prize winner, Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar.
And the British canon is represented by Noel Coward's elegant comedy Hay Fever, Tom Stoppard's saucy Arcadia, and William Shakespeare's fairyland cross species comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream.
From Britain, two ready made productions will be presented: Golem, by ground-breaking British theatre makers, 1927, and King Charles III, the Almeida Theatre production of one of the biggest box office smashes both sides of the Atlantic.
Andrew Upton will end the year with a fun filled flourish by presenting his new translation of the Feydeau farce, A Flea in Her Ear.
Plus, The Wharf Review returns and an hilarious, irreverent, interactive show for children and their adults by cult kids outfit The Listies, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Skidmark.
A bold mix of the new and the old, the 2016 Sydney Theatre Company season is an eclectic swansong for the Upton/Blanchet artistic stewardship.
Top right – Andrew Upton. Photo – James Green