Queensland Theatre has launched their 2020 season of stories under the final artistic directorship of Sam Strong.
In a line-up complete with world premieres, Shakespearean tragedy, classic satirical comedy and contemporary new works, the company has ambitiously aimed to reflect Queensland like never before.
Celebrating a significant milestone in the upcoming year, the new season showcases eight mainstage shows that traverse through many forms of storytelling and centre on the overarching theme of ‘time’. Outgoing Artistic Director, Sam Strong, said many ideas and concepts unified the season, but their main theme of time emphasised the company is doing what theatre does best.
“Appropriately, in 2020 we will be focusing on time,” said Strong.
“Specifically, we’ll be exploring theatres unique capacity to explore the past, the present and the future. By that, I mean even when we are looking back to the great classics of previous generations we are always doing so from an urgent present moment. If we are always making points about now… we are more often than not imagining the future as well.”
In front of a crowd of 800, Queensland Theatre announced its epic line-up of Australian talent and cemented the company is growing from strength to strength. Under Strong’s leadership and during the past four years, the theatre has staged 15 world premieres, including 10 commissions reaching the stage. The next chapter is set to be just as exciting.
Kickstarting 2020 is the acclaimed David Williamson’s ‘Emerald City’, which appropriately signifies Williamson’s own milestone as a playwright. Directed by Sam Strong, the hedonistic 1987 comedy explores the compromise of personal ideals of fame, fortune and real estate. The cast includes Jason Klarwein, Rhy Muldoon, Nadine Garner and Ray Chong Nee.
From New York to Australia in a world premiere, ‘Triple X’ will move audiences with a wittingly funny script. Written by Australian writer, Glace Chase, the new work offers a dissection of gender and sexuality in the 2020s. Directed by Paige Rattray, the cast includes Chase herself, Christen O’Leary and Josh McConville.
Jason Klarwein will direct an exciting clash of cultures with Shakespeare’s classic, ‘Othello’. In a Queensland Theatre first, the show will be produced by the company, with actor Jimi Bani the first Torres Strait Islander to play the leading role. Set in the Torres Strait in 1942 during the Second World war, the production will unite with the creative team behind the defining work, ‘My Name is Jimi’.
In another world premiere, the Queensland Premier’s Drama award-winning production, ‘The Holidays’ by David Megarrity, will be directed by Bridget Boyle, transporting audiences to a quintessential beach getaway. The play is about families, for families and touches of meditation and morality.
In August, UK playwright Lucy Kirkwood’s ‘The Children’ makes its way to stage. The intensive and slow-burning drama is set after a nuclear disaster, where two retired nuclear scientists are struggling to live a normal life. Their world is turned upside down by a surprising arrival. Zoe Tuffin is set to direct the production.
As announced in May, Trent Dalton’s much anticipated Australian novel ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ transitions to the stage in a new adaptation by Tim McGarry. Set to be directed by Strong himself, the best-selling book comes with high expectations and will be produced by both Queensland Theatre and Brisbane Festival.
In October, Suzie Miller’s Griffin award-winning ‘Prima Facie’ will present an urgent, gripping one-woman show that calls for action in a powerful story. Directed by Lee Lewis, the story is a tour de force indictment on the legal system.
Rounding out the 2020 season finale is the world premiere and Queensland exclusive of Phaedra. Written and directed by the #girlboss team of Belloo Creative’s, Katherine Lyall-Watson and Caroline Dunphy will debut a brand-new take on the ancient classic that turns hilariously farcical.
Championing new and classic stories, Sam Strong spoke of the season and how proud he was to present Queensland works to Queenslanders.
“Season 2020 confirms Queensland Theatre as the national home of new stories, with 50 per cent of the season being world premieres,” he said.
“I’m proud of how we have transformed Queensland Theatre over the last four years, but I am especially proud of our championing of new stories. This is the third successive year in which at least half of our season has been brand new work.”
Season tickets are available to purchase from Queensland Theatre’s Website.
Queensland Theatre’s 2020 Season
Emerald City – 8-29 February
Triple X – 14 March – 4 April
Othello – 30 May – 27 June
The Holidays – 1 August – 11 July
The Children – 1-29 August
Boy Swallows Universe – 29 August – 19 September
Prima Facie – 8-31 October
Phaedra – 14 November – 5 December
Featured Image by Susan Hetherington