RED STITCH REVEALS 2024 SEASON

by | Dec 19, 2023

The ensemble-led Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre has last week revealed its 2024 season, marking another notable year ahead for the big little theatre. The suite of six plays includes four Australian premieres and two returning productions back by popular demand.

Kicking off in February thanks to a hugely successful run this year, Monument by the 2022 Max Afford Playwrights Award Finalist Emily Sheehan, returns for a limited season not to be missed.

Sheehan’s astute and entertaining script challenges the trivialisation of beauty therapy, exploring the role that makeup and fashion play in how we perceive and receive women in power.

In an exploration of politics, privilege and persona, the play premiered in August earlier this year and became a hit with Melbourne audiences. Directed by Red Stitch’s own Artistic Director, Ella Caldwell, the two-hander will once again feature the brilliant Sarah Sutherland and Julia Hanna returning to their roles.

Edith Aldridge, played by Sutherland, is the youngest woman to be elected leader of her country. In a lush presidential suite in a heritage listed hotel, she has just ninety minutes to get ready for the biggest day of her life.

Enter Rosie (Hanna), a twenty-two-year-old makeup artist from the David Jones counter, sent to help Edith get camera-ready. In Rosie’s capable hands, this morning will be a breeze. So long as they both stick to the brief.

Winner of the 2022 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play, and named one of the best plays of 2022 by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Vulture, and Time Out New York, a new play by Samuel D. Hunter (The Whale) will hit the Red Stitch stage in April.

Opening on 13 April and running until 12 May, A Case For The Existence Of God shines a poignant light on parenthood and financial insecurity.

Seated in a small office cubicle, two fathers unexpectedly allow one another into their fragile worlds. Ryan is a straight, white, recently divorced plant worker seeking to buy back a lot of land that once belonged to his family. Keith is black, the gay single caretaker of a foster daughter, and a mortgage broker.

At this desk in the middle of America, loan talk opens a discussion about the chokehold of financial insecurity and a bond over the precariousness of parenthood.

In this Australian Premiere, Hunter blends two disparate experiences of marginality with humour, empathy and wrenching honesty.

June will bring a compassionate and unflinching study of love, addiction and memory in Joe White’s play, Blackout Songs, directed by Tom Healey (American Song).

“You told me you loved me, once. You said you carried me. You remember that? You still carry me? Or did you drop me, somewhere along the line?”

In this Australian premiere season, Blackout Songs provides a thought-provoking peek into the chaotic lives of a young couple as they crash through binges, regrets, recovery, and relapse.

It was a chance encounter at an AA meeting that drew them to one another. After years spent falling in and out of each other’s lives, veering from hedonism to hope, excess to abstinence, their love takes on mythical proportions.

This visceral, exhilarating new drama follows a whirlwind of highs and lows as they try to get sober together and figure it all out. Maybe they will finally, after one last drink.

July and September will both host plays from the acclaimed Welsh playwright Gary Owen. First up for a change of pace, a funny and modern love story loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Julie will premiere. Directed by winner of the Kate Challis RAKA Award and the Patrick White Playwrights Award (Sydney Theatre Company) Kamarra Bell-Wykes, the production will open on 20 July and run until 18 August.

Romeo is a single dad hanging on tight. Julie is fighting to follow her dream of studying at Cambridge. Two Welsh teens raised a few streets apart – but from entirely different worlds – crash into first love and are knocked off their feet. But at the crossroads to the rest of their lives, Julie’s family fears the worst in a world of unequal opportunity.

Featuring two of Red Stitch’s 2023 acting graduates from its unique Hansen Graduate program, Shontane Farmer and Damon Baudin, alongside an exciting cast including Red Stitch ensemble member Georgina Naidu, the play is a sweet and savage story about the push and pull between sacrifice and achieving your personal dreams.

Come September, Red Stitch will once again welcome back the award-winning Melbourne based theatre director, Gary Abrahams (Yentl – Arts Centre Melbourne; Admissions – Melbourne Theatre Company), for a return season of the sell-out production Iphigenia In Splott.

“I wonder, just how long we are going to have to take it for? I wonder what is going to happen when we can’t take it anymore?”

Stumbling down Clifton Street at 11:30 a.m. drunk, Effie is the kind of girl you’d avoid eye contact with, silently passing judgement. People think they know Effie, but they don’t know the half of it. Her life spirals through a mess of drinking, drugs and drama every night, and a hangover worse than death the next day, until one night, she is given the chance to be something more.

Last staged in 2021, the play by Gary Owen and starring Jessica Clarke saw Red Stitch pick up three Green Room Awards in 2022 for Most Outstanding Production, Most Outstanding Direction (Gary Abrahams), Most Outstanding Performance (Jessica Clarke), and a further two nominations for Most Outstanding Costume Design (Jacob Battista and Sophie Woodward) and Most Outstanding Set Design (Jacob Battista and Sophie Woodward).

This powerful new adaptation of the enduring Greek myth drives home the high price people pay for society’s shortcomings. Bringing it back to the stage for those punters who missed it, this is a second chance to see the “visceral tour de force” (The Age) that is Jessica Clarke in her returning role, and witness Melbourne theatre at its best.

Bringing the year together with a fourth exciting Australian premiere, Your Name Means Dream by Oscar nominee and Obie-winning Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries) will take the stage in October.

In a world where the line between humanity and machine is blurring by the second, the play examines how we live, die, and form our sense of self.

“Five ladies quit on me in the last year. So they send the machines. The fucking, soulless, plastic fuckin’ machines.”

Aislin is getting older in a world that is becoming increasingly unfamiliar to her. Her caregiver Stacy is perfectly toned, ageless, and utterly in control. She’s also a robot. While Aislin suffers the inevitable indignities of being human, Stacy wonders what she’s missing out on.

Directed by multiple Green Room Award and Matilda Award nominee, Kat Henry, and featuring Red Stitch ensemble member Caroline Lee, the play will open on 26 October and run through until 24 November, rounding out another strong season of work for the big little theatre.

Red Stitch Artistic Director, Ella Caldwell, said “I’m very proud to return two celebrated productions to our stage, answering demand from audiences and enabling artists to deepen their work. 2024 at Red Stitch also offers a compelling array of fresh premieres; every single one is a gem. These scripts are exhilarating and exceptionally well written; they demand the intimate, hard-hitting performances we’re known for at Red Stitch. It’s going to be a powerful year in the theatre.”

Red Stitch is also delighted to welcome five new graduates to the company through the Hansen Graduate program, 2024. Applications are currently open for the company’s INK new writing program. To find out more or apply visit https://www.redstitch.net/ink

Dates

Monument:

20th Feb – 10th March

A Case For The Existence Of God:

13th April – 12th May

Blackout Songs:

1st June – 30th June

 Romeo And Julie:

20th July – 18th August

 Iphigenia In Splott:

3rd September – 22nd September

Your Name Means Dream:

26th October – 24th November

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