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Ensemble Theatre reveals 60th anniversary season

Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre will celebrate its 60th birthday in 2018, and has unveiled a line-up of new and classic plays for the year ahead.

The season will see Reg Livermore, Georgie Parker, John Howard, John Bell, Sharon Millerchip and Maggie Dence tread the boards at the Kirribilli theatre.

The year kicks off with a new social comedy by David Williamson, Sorting Out Rachel, starring John Wood and Chenoa Deemal as his granddaughter, and ends with Alan Ayckbourn’s social comedy trilogy of plays, The Norman Conquests.

Sharon Millerchip will return to the Ensemble stage in Willy Russell’s one-woman play Shirley Valentine, after her critically-acclaimed take on Joanna Murray-Smith’s Bombshells at the theatre in 2013, while Reg Livermore will premiere a brand new solo play in which he plays a performer who’s never quite risen to the heights of “star”.

Maggie Dence will star in the Australian premiere of Jordan Harrison’s Pulitzer-nominated play Marjorie Prime, while Georgie Parker will appear in the Australian premiere of Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale.

Ensemble’s Artistic Director Mark Kilmurry will direct five of the ten plays (including the three plays of The Norman Conquests). There are also productions directed by John Bell, Mitchell Butel, Susanna Dowling, Nadia Tass and Janine Watson.

While just three of the ten plays are directed by women and two of the plays written by women (and another translated and adapted by a woman), the season is notable for the number of leading roles played by legendary older actors.

The theatre’s pop-up cabaret series will also return in August, with appearances from Todd McKenney, Mitchell Butel and Queenie van de Zandt, who will perform her critically-acclaimed Joni Mitchell cabaret.

ENSEMBLE SEASON 2018

SORTING OUT RACHEL (WORLD PREMIERE)

By David Williamson
Director: Nadia Tass
Cast includes: Chenoa Deemal and John Howard
From January 19

DIPLOMACY (AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE)

By Cyril Gely
Adapted and translated by Julie Rose
Director: John Bell
Cast includes: John Bell, John Gaden, Jennifer Hagan and James Lugton
From March 23

SHIRLEY VALENTINE

By Willy Russell
Director: Mark Kilmurry
Cast: Sharon Millerchip
From May 3

MARJORIE PRIME (AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE)

By Jordan Harrison
Director: Mitchell Butel
Cast includes: Maggie Dence and Richard Sydenham
From June 15

UNQUALIFIED (WORLD PREMIERE)

By Genevieve Hegney and Catherine Moore
Director: Janine Watson
Cast: Genevieve Hegney and Catherine Moore
From June 22

THE WIDOW UNPLUGGED (WORLD PREMIERE)

By Reg Livermore
Director: Mark Kilmurry
Cast: Reg Livermore
From July 26

LUNA GALE (AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE)

By Rebecca Gilman
Director: Susanna Dowling
Cast includies: Georgie Parker
From September 7

THE NORMAN CONQUESTS

By Alan Ayckbourn
Director: Mark Kilmurry
Cast: Danielle Carter, Rachel Gordon, Brian Meegan, Sam O’Sullivan, Yalin Ozucelik, Matilda Ridgway
From October 19

Featured image by Christian Trinder

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