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Melbourne Theatre Company launches 2018 season: Geoffrey, Gina and a Curious Incident

Melbourne Theatre Company has revealed a starry line-up for its 2018 season, with Geoffrey Rush, Gina Riley, Pamela Rabe and Lisa McCune locked in for appearances.

The season kicks off with the Australian premiere of the National Theatre’s West End and Broadway hit production, The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time. The play by British playwright Simon Stephens is his adaptation of the novel of the same name by Mark Haddon. The MTC production will be directed by Marianne Elliott (War Horse) and follows a 15-year-old boy with autism, Christopher John Francis Boone, who uses his extraordinary mathematical skills to investigate the death of a neighbour’s dog.

A British cast will travel to Australia with the production, which won five Tony Awards and seven Olivier Awards. There’s no official word yet if the play will tour to other Australian cities, but it seems likely given the size and popularity of the production.

The season features local productions of other recent international hits, including Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children, starring Pamela Rabe, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Gloria, starring Lisa McCune, Mike Bartlett’s Wild, and Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2, which opened on Broadway this year to strong reviews and eight Tony nominations. Marta Dusseldorp will star as Nora.

Kath and Kim star Gina Riley will appear in Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, directed by MTC Associate Director Dean Bryant.

The season also features new plays by local writers Patricia Cornelius, who finally gets some love from a major performing arts company, Aidan Fennessy and Kiwi writer Albert Belz.

The year wraps up with what will almost certainly be MTC’s hit of the year: Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, starring Geoffrey Rush as Malvolio. He’ll be joined by Brent Hill, Richard Piper, Christie Whelan Browne and Frank Woodley, in a production directed by Simon Phillips, whose Macbeth was one of the company’s biggest selling shows in years.

MTC seems to have responded to criticisms that its 2017 season was overwhelmingly white, and has fared a little better when it comes to ethnic diversity in the forthcoming season. Two of the main stage plays in 2018 are written by writers of colour, whereas all were by white writers in 2017. Six of the 24 people actors pictured in the 2018 brochure are people of colour, suggesting the company’s main stage is a little closer to reflecting the diversity of Melbourne.

But although six of the 11 plays in the main stage season are directed by women, only two are written by women, one of which is an adaptation. That means women fill just 36% of the main stage director/writer roles.

MTC SEASON 2018

MAINSTAGE

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time 
By Simon Stephens, based on the novel by Mark Haddon
Directed by Marianne Elliott
(January 11 to February 18)

The Children
By Lucy Kirkwood
Directed by Sarah Goodes
(February 3 to March 10)

Abigail’s Party
By Mike Leigh
Directed by Stephen Nicolazzo
(March 17 to April 21)

Wild
By Mike Bartlett
Directed by Dean Bryant
(May 5 to June 9)

The House of Bernarda Alba
By Patricia Cornelius, after Federico García Lorca
Directed by Leticia Caceres
(May 25 to July 7)

Gloria
By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Lee Lewis
(June 16 to July 21)

An Ideal Husband
By Oscar Wilde
Directed by Dean Bryant
(July 16 to August 18)

A Doll’s House, Part 2
By Lucas Hnath
Directed by Sarah Goodes
(August 11 to September 15)

The Architect
By Aidan Fennessy
Directed by Peter Houghton
(September 27 to October 31)

Astroman
By Albert Belz
Directed by Sarah Goodes
(October 27 to December 8)

Twelfth Night
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Simon Phillips
(November 12 to December 29)

EDUCATION

Hungry Ghosts
By Jean Tong
Directed by Petra Kalive
(May 3 to 19)

STUDIO SEASON

Working with Children
By Nicola Gunn
(August 30 to September 29)

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