After three years of uncertainty and interruption, fortyfivedownstairs is thrilled to announce a full program of theatre events for 2023. “Our hope is that this program reflects the variety audiences have come to expect from fortyfivedownstairs,” says Theatre Manager, Cameron Lukey. “There’s a mix of new Australian work, successful productions that are being re-staged to reach new audiences, a music series, new productions of classics and acclaimed international plays, works from exciting emerging companies, and works from artists who have helped sustain fortyfivedownstairs as we move into our 21st year. We believe there will be something for all our patrons and we can’t wait to welcome audiences back to the theatre!”
2023 THEATRE PROGRAM
18 – 29 January
The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven by Jo Clifford
Winner of the Green Room Award for Best Independent Production in 2021, Kitan Petkovski’s acclaimed production returns as part of the 2023 Midsumma Festival. Join Queen Jesus (Kristen Smyth) for a revolutionary queer ritual in which bread is shared, wine is drunk, and familiar stories are reimagined by a transgender Jesus. Scottish playwright Jo Clifford will also be giving an in-person talk before the final performance.
2 – 12 February
Trophy Boys by Emmanuelle Mattana
Directed by Marni Mount and presented by The Maybe Pile as part of the 2023 Midsumma Festival, this new Australian play is a queer black comedy and drag extravaganza about power, privilege, and high school debating. This season follows a short sell-out run as part of La Mama’s Explorations program.
15 – 26 February
The Crocodile by Tom Basden
Director Cassandra Fumi re-teams with the Green Room Award-winning designer behind The Mermaid at La Mama – Set and Costume Designer Dann Barber (Angels in America and The Ghetto Cabaret at fortyfivedownstairs) – to bring Tom Basden’s adaptation of Dostoevsky’s The Crocodile to life. A play about art, animals, and what happens when you try to take on the system from within… a crocodile.
1 – 12 March
fortyfivedownstairs Music Series curated by Coady Green
Acclaimed pianist Coady Green has once again pulled together an outstanding group of musicians and ensembles for a two-week music series featuring ten performances with highly varied programs.
16 – 26 March
CUT by Duncan Graham
The Melbourne premiere of Adelaide playwright Duncan Graham’s acclaimed psychological thriller about a stalked flight attendant, this one person show will be performed by Christina McLachlan and directed by Laurence Strangio (Krapp’s Last Tape and The Year of Magical Thinking at fortyfivedownstairs).
19 April – 7 May
True West by Sam Shepard
Actors Mark Diaco and Justin Hosking – co-founders of HSTheatre (The Long Red Road at fortyfivedownstairs) – will alternate the roles of brothers Austin and Lee in a new production of Sam Shepard’s modern masterpiece about the double nature of sibling rivalry.
9 – 14 May
Gunga-na Dhum-nganjinu (The Stories We Hold Tightly) by Isobel Morphy-Walsh
A full space takeover marks firtyfovedownstairs’ first collaboration with the Yirramboi Festival, as artist Isobel Morphy-Walsh presents Gunga-na Dhum-nganjinu (The Stories We Hold Tightly), which includes an exhibition in the gallery and performances in the theatre. Join this family of storytellers – Uncle Larry Walsh, Victoria Morphy, Hannah Morphy-Walsh, and Isobel Morphy-Walsh – as they weave creation, song, story, and movement together.
17 – 28 May
Paul Capsis – Dry My Tears presented by The Song Company
Paul Capsis, the inimitable and incomparable icon of cabaret, returns to fortyfivedownstairs for the Melbourne premiere of Dry My Tears, following an acclaimed run in Sydney. Accompanied by The Song Company’s Francis Greep, Capsis will perform an acoustic set that includes music by Kurt Weill, Elton John, and Johnny Mercer.
1 – 11 June
Climbers by Elly D’Arcy
Presented by Fever103 theatre and directed by Monique Marani, this new Australian play about a young Cambridge student’s discovery of the Night Climbers (a secret society that gathers on rooftops) is a powerful and poignant exploration of the barriers women face in traditionally male institutions, and the strength it takes to dismantle them.
15 – 25 June
Exiles by James Joyce
Bloomsday in Melbourne’s annual celebration of James Joyce continues with the Victorian premiere of his only play, which explores questions key to his masterpiece Ulysses (1922). If love is constrained by conventional bonds of fidelity, is it love at all?
29 June – 9 July
Just a Boy, Standing in Front of a Girl by Jane Miller
Director Beng Oh and writer Jane Miller continue their acclaimed collaboration (True Love Travels on a Gravel Road and Cuckoo at fortyfivedownstairs) with an adaptation of Medea for our times.
12 – 30 July
Far Away by Caryl Churchill
Following the success of Punk Rock at fortyfivedownstairs in 2019, Patalog Theatre returns with a new production of iconic playwright Caryl Churchill’s masterwork Far Away, directed by Cassandra Fumi, and featuring Lucy Ansell and Darcy Kent.
2 – 13 August
Kerosene / SIRENS by Benjamin Nichol
A double bill of Benjamin Nichol’s acclaimed plays – the multi-Green Room award-winning Kerosene, directed by Nichol and performed/co-directed by Izabella Yena, and the acclaimed 2022 Melbourne Fringe hit SIRENS, directed by Liv Satchell, co-created by Izabella Yena, and performed by Nichol.
24 August – 3 September
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Following the success of King Lear at fortyfivedownstairs in 2021, Melbourne Shakespeare Company returns with the Bard’s political thriller Julius Caesar, directed by Richard Murphett and featuring Robert Menzies in the title role.
7 – 17 September
Myra in Space by Bridgette Burton
Alice Bishop directs the premiere of Myra in Space by Bridgette Burton (Rhonda is in Therapy at fortyfivedownstairs), the tragi-comic story of Myra Foreman, a woman who missed her life on earth and is now going to live it, in space.
20 September – 1 October
A Dodgeball Named Desire by Bloomshed
Bloomshed (Paradise Lost presented by Darebin Speakeasy) go up against a sub-elite AFL team in an all-out Battle Royale for the heart of an aging southern belle. Think dodgeball meets Tennessee Williams in this bold creation from one of Melbourne’s most exciting new companies.
2 – 12 November
Orlando by Rachel Lewindon and Willow Sizer
Antipodes Theatre presents the world premiere of a bold new folk musical adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s seminal novel Orlando, a whirlwind tale of romance and betrayal in which a young poet changes gender and lives for over 200 years. Maude Davey (Retro Futurismus and Alter Edith at fortyfivedownstairs) directs four actor-singer-musicians in the title role.
Image: Warren Lee