Melbourne Theatre Company Artistic Director & Co-CEO Anne-Louise Sarks today revealed the Company’s 2024 season.
Season 2024, the second under Sarks’ artistic leadership, features 12 productions that offer brave works and daring performances, reflecting the Company’s vision of presenting stories that inspire conversations about who we are, how far we’ve come and where we’re going.
Melbourne Theatre Company’s Season 2024 builds on the successes of 2023, offering audiences classic dramas, in-demand international plays, new Australian writing and everything in between
Season 2024 goes beyond Melbourne Theatre Company’s 12 unmissable productions and enhances and builds on its many programs that nurture the future of Australian theatre: from developing new programs and pathways for emerging artists and creatives, investing in the development of new Australian plays to a major collaboration with the country’s longest established First Peoples theatre company – ILBIJERRI Theatre Company – on a full program of new works (to be announced next year).
Kicking off the season is Seventeen, a compelling exploration of teenage hood and the transition to adulthood filled with joy, nostalgia and possibility. Starring Pamela Rabe (Wentworth), the play sees an extraordinary cast of senior actors portraying teenagers on the brink of major life changes and revelations that will shape their future. Written by Matthew Whittet and directed by Matt Edgerton Seventeen opens on Friday 19 January.
Opening February 15, Meet Me at Dawn is a poetic and evocative exploration of love and loss. Starring Sheridan Harbridge (Prima Facie) in a tour-de-force two-hander written by Zinnie Harris and directed by Katy Maudlin, Meet Me at Dawn follows two women stranded on a mysterious island whose memories fade as they struggle to find a way back home. Part queer love story and part philosophical thriller it is full of rich detail and confronting truths about the beauty and danger of life-consuming love.
Set within the era of Adam Goodes’s war cry – and named for the number he immortalised – 37 is a powerful ensemble drama that delves into the history of Australian Rules football and its complex relationship with First Nations peoples. Opening Thursday 7 March, 37 gets at the values that drive a national obsession in a new inspiring Australian work by Nathan Maynard, directed by Issac Drandic, and starring Ngali Shaw (Jacky).
Winner of VIC and NSW’s Premier’s Literary Awards, Kendall Feaver’s The Almighty Sometimes, directed by Hannah Goodwin and starring Nadine Garner (Photograph 51) and Max McKenna (Muriel’s Wedding), offers a contemporary coming-of-age story. Struggling with her identity and the effects of her medication, 18- year-old Anna embarks on a journey to discover her true self, challenging societal norms and medical practices. Opening Friday 19 April, The Almighty Sometimes is empathetic exploration of family love and protection, in a work that breaks down taboos about mental health, and invites deep post-show reflection and conversation.
World Problems by Emma Mary Hall, under the direction of Cassandra Fumi and starring Carly Sheppard, takes audiences on a mesmerizing journey through time and memory. Exploring personal and global experiences, from historical events to speculative futures and as the subject’s memories evolve, the play delves into upheavals, revolutions, and the evolution of humanity, questioning what it means to be human. Melbourne Theatre Company’s Education & Families show, World Problems, opens Wednesday 8 May.
Following back-to-back sold-out seasons in Sydney and Canberra, Sydney Theatre Company and Canberra Theatre Centre’s Julia, starring Justine Clarke and directed by Sarah Goodes, opens 4 June in Melbourne. Diving into the life and impact of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Julia represents much more than the story of Australia’s first female Prime Minister. In a reflection on the experience of women in contemporary politics and representation of women in power, Julia is a powerful reminder of where we’ve come from, and the challenges we’ve yet to face as a nation.
Directing A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, Anne-Louise Sarks will breathe new life into the this classic, exploring themes of desire, reality, and illusion. Starring Nikki Shiels (Sunday, The Picture of Dorian Gray) and set in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the play follows the tumultuous relationships of its characters against the backdrop of a changing society. In revisiting this masterpiece, Sarks unearths societal attitudes that resonate with conversations being had across the world today. Opens July 13
Winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, English, by Sanaz Toossi is a brilliant comic exploration of identity through language. Set in English Language classes in Iran, the play introduces a diverse group of characters navigating the complexities of learning a foreign tongue. Opening Friday 2 August, starring Osamah Sami (Savage River) and directed by Melbourne Theatre Company’s Resident Director Tasnim Hossain, English highlights the profound impact of language on shaping our sense of self.
Suzan-Lori Parks’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Topdog/Underdog, marks Bert LaBonté’s Melbourne Theatre Company directorial debut. Delving into the complexities of brotherhood and identity within the African American experience, the play starring Damon Manns (Thai Cave Rescue) follows the tumultuous relationship between two brothers as they grapple with their past, present, and the masks they wear. Opening Tuesday 27 August, this darkly comic fable challenges stereotypes and explores the power dynamics that shape our lives.
Cost of Living by Martyna Majok, under the direction of Anthea Williams, delves into the connections between people living with disability and their support workers. Starring Mabel Li (Safe Home) and Oli Pizzey Stratford (Neighbours) the intensely empathetic and funny Pulitzer Prize and Lucille Lortel Award-winning play explores themes of care, connection and the challenges of navigating a world that often overlooks marginalised voices. Opens Thursday 19 September.
The new Australian work from Griffin Theatre Company opening Wednesday 30 October, Golden Blood written by and starring Merlynn Tong and directed by Tessa Leong tells a poignant tale of an orphaned girl left in the care of her gangster brother. Set in Singapore, the play navigates themes of family, luxury, and the choices we make for our future. With heart and humour, Golden Blood, also starring Charles Wu (Bernhardt/Hamlet), explores the intricate dynamics of a unique family striving for a better life.
The season is bookended with My Brilliant Career starring Kala Gare (SIX), a new Australian musical by Dean Bryant, Mathew Frank and Sheridan Harbridge. Adapted from Miles Franklin’s iconic 1901 Australian novel and directed by Melbourne Theatre Company Artistic Director Anne-Louise Sarks, My Brilliant Career provides a fresh take on a beloved story with the musical capturing the essence of teenage rebellion and determination as Sybylla Melvyn navigates love, ambition, and societal expectations in the 1890s. Opens Tuesday 12 November.
For more information visit mtc.com.au
Images: Jo Duck