Sydney Theater Company makes a comeback as ‘devastated’ industry returns to the stage | Culture


Sydney Theater Company makes a comeback as ‘devastated’ industry returns to the stage |  Culture


The Sydney Theater Company will reopen its Wharf 1 Theater on November 15 with a production by Julius Caesar, directed by artistic director Kip Williams, followed by Death of a Salesman in December.

The schedule unveiled Thursday follows the announcement of the company’s partnership with live entertainment company Michael Cassel Group, announced earlier this week.

The deal will give MCG the global touring rights to future productions of the Sydney Theater Company nationally and internationally, starting with Williams’ acclaimed 2020 adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, starring Eryn Jean Norvill, which received a five star review from Guardian Australia.

But first come the last shows of the 2021 season: Julius Caesar, played in the round with Geraldine Hakewill, Ewen Leslie and Zahra Newman sharing all the roles; and Death of a Salesman, with Jacek Koman as Willy Loman and Helen Thomson as his wife Linda, which premieres December 3 at the Roslyn Packer Theater, directed by Paige Rattray.

This is the latest in a series of comebacks for the New South Wales theater industry. Sydney’s Hayes Theater Co also announced their return on Wednesday, with Stephen Sondheim-George Furth’s musical Merrily We Roll Along on October 21. Directed by Dean Bryant, the production played its first preview in June before rescheduling its remaining shows due to the lockdown.

Hamilton will be back at the Sydney Lyric Theater from October 19, with Come from Away reopening on October 20 at the Capitol Theater.

All productions will operate according to the rules on how to file bankruptcy set by NSW Health, allowing 75% capacity in seated rooms with mandatory proof of vaccination and mask wearing by clients, actors, crew and staff.

However, tougher restrictions in Melbourne make it more difficult and less profitable to reopen theaters, meaning the Victorian industry will be slower to return.

On Wednesday evening, the Melbourne Theater Company announced its 2022 season. The final race for outgoing artistic director and CEO Brett Sheehy, it kicks off on January 17, 2021 with the Australian premiere of David Greig’s acclaimed adaptation of Touching the Void, featuring Lucy Durack.

The MTC season will also feature the Melbourne broadcast of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home musical; the Australian premiere of Joshua Harmon’s “pungent, sharp, political” satire on white liberals, Admissions; Diana Nguyen and Petra Kalive’s new adaptation of Alice Pung’s Laurinda; and Virginia Gay’s full season of Cyrano, which premiered in August was canceled due to the pandemic.

“This confinement has been devastating”

Describing the Sydney Theater Company‘s roadmap for reopening on Thursday, Williams said he was optimistic that the 2022 season is back to normal, with 15 productions at four Sydney venues.

More than 330 Sydney Theater Company performances across nine productions have been canceled since the Greater Sydney lockdown in June, resulting in a loss of $ 10.5 million in box office revenue. The company’s three auditoriums and the Sydney Opera House Drama Theater have been closed for much of this year.

“I won’t fire any shots, the impact of this lockdown has been devastating,” Williams told The Guardian.

“But we have again had the support of our philanthropic family, and we are extremely grateful to NSW and the support of the Federal Government.”

In May, Australia’s Minister of the Arts, Paul Fletcher, signed a $ 2 million grant for STC, as part of the Covid-19 Arts Sustainability Fund.

In 2020, movie theater closures saw STC’s operating revenues drop $ 17.8 million from the previous year. This decline was partially offset by targeted contributions from NSW and federal governments totaling $ 11.5 million, and a $ 2.4 million increase in philanthropic giving.

Government contributions included a $ 6 million grant from the NSW government under its Rescue and Restart initiative and $ 4.7 million from the federal government’s Jobkeeper program.

By 2022, according to Williams, Australia will be “one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.”

“What we have seen over the past 18 months is that Australians are complying incredibly with public health orders and we have placed a lot of trust in our medical experts.

“I think it pays dividends in terms of controlling this virus, so while it’s been tough for us, I think it’s going to pay off for us in the long run.

“As someone who works in the live performance industry which has been devastated by the pandemic, I have great hope for the year ahead.”

Williams said the partnership with Michael Cassel had “been a game changer.”

“For us, producing 15 or 16 shows a year is a big task, and usually the conversations around touring take place after the show opens.

“But for us, being able to have these planning conversations while we design the job itself will be one of the great benefits of this partnership. “

MCG is scheduled to host a nationwide tour of The Picture of Dorian Gray and a launch in London or New York next year.

Production will also resume in Sydney’s 2022 season, which will be announced on October 19.

The STC will also head into 2022 with a new Executive Director, Anne Dunn, who has been the Executive Director of the Sydney Dance Company for over a decade.


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