Belvoir Season 2014

Belvoir Season 2014

Artistic Director Ralph Myers announced Belvoir’s 2014 season to a gathering of sponsors, subscribers and members of the theatre community in the Belvoir rehearsal room in Surry Hills on election eve.

The season features two versions of Oedipus, makeovers for two of Ibsen’s great heroines, two of the most famous brothers in history and twenty questions.

First up, Oedipus Schmoedipus promises a ridiculous romp through all the great death scenes of the western theatrical canon from post, as part of Sydney Festival.

Once in Royal David’s City is a new play from Michael Gow. Mining similar territory as his 2007 play,Toy Symphony, it’s a play about cycles of history, mothers and sons and the possibilities of theatre. Eamon Flack (Angels in America) will direct; Brendan Cowell, Helen Buday and Gillian Jones will feature.

Simon Stone returns to Belvoir directing Zahra Newman in a modern take on The Philadelphia Story, described as ‘created by Stone based on the play by Philip Barry’.

Jada Alberts won The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award in 2013. In 2014 her play Brothers Wreck will be presented Upstairs, directed by Leah Purcell with a cast of young Indigenous actors.

Indigenous performers will also feature in 20 Questions, a talk show/cabaret hosted by Wesley Enoch with a different surprise guest each week. 20 Questions will run on Monday nights only in the Upstairs Theatre from April to August.

New Resident Directors Adena Jacobs and Anne-Louise Sarks will present two very different interpretations of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and A Doll’s House back-to-back.

Jacobs will direct Ash Flanders (one half of Melbourne’s Sisters Grimm), described by Belvoir as ‘a man who has made an artform out of playing tragic heroines’,in a piece of cross-gender casting in the title role of Hedda Gabler.

Sarks will direct Nora, an adaptation by Kit Brookman and Sarks that follows Nora out the door of her husband’s home and into the present day; Blazey Best (Medea) stars.

Eamon Flack will direct Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie with Luke Mullins as Tom and Pamela Rabe as Amanda. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will round out the year, with Robert Menzies, who ‘plays a grouch like no one else in Australian theatre’ as Scrooge.

Downstairs, Melbourne theatre-makers THE RABBLE make their Sydney debut with Cain and Abel. Belvoir’s second Oedipus will see director Adena Jacobs cast a modern eye over Oedipus Rex.

Also Downstairs, Zoë Coombs Marr’s Is This Thing On?, the story of the life of a stand-up comic. “It’s beautiful … and very strange,” says Ralph Myers.

Matthew Whittet and Anthea Williams will finish up the year playing all the characters in an adults-only Cinderella.

‘This year we introduce two new Resident Directors, Adena Jacobs and Anne-Louise Sarks,’ said Artistic Director Ralph Myers. ‘We scoured the country for the two brightest and most exciting young directors we could find. And what do you know? They were right under our noses, just south of the border. I’m so glad they’ve agreed to come on board.

‘They join Associate Director Eamon Flack (Angels in America) and Literary Manager and all-rounder Anthea Williams (Forget Me Not) to round out what has to be the hottest team of theatre-makers this side of The Globe. Plus, we’ve invited a swag of freelance artists into the tent to weave their magic. What I’m excited about is how different they all are. That’s one of the great joys of being an artistic director and curating a season. Juxtaposing tragedy with comedy, the intimate with the epic, the gentle with the rough and tumble.’

The Productions

Oedipus Schmoedipus

A Belvoir & post co-production presented in association with

Sydney Festival

By post after Aeschylus, Anon, Artaud, Behn, Brecht, Büchner, Chekhov, Coward, Fo, Genet, Havel, Ibsen, Marlowe, Molière, O’Neill, Plautus, Racine, Seneca,  Shakespeare, Shaw, Sophocles, Strindberg, Wedekind, Wilde et al

Dramaturg Anne-Louise Sarks

Composer & Sound Designer James Brown


Zoë Coombs Marr

Mish Grigor

Belvoir St Theatre | Upstairs

9 January – 2 February 2014

Oedipus Schmoedipus is a democratic theatrical extravaganza two-and-a-half-thousand years in the making. Take several hundred of the greatest plays of all time, pick out the death scenes, mix them together (in a cunning and clever way) and then – well that’s a surprise...

Fed up with white men staging the deaths of white men in plays written by white men, for Oedipus Schmoedipus the white ladies from post have pirated the theatrical canon and turned over the juiciest stuff to seven hundredcollaborators.

Want to be involved?

Oedipus Schmoedipus will be looking for lots and lots and lots of volunteers no skill level whatsoever required! Email to register your interest.

Once in Royal David’s City

By Michael Gow

Director Eamon Flack

Set & Lighting Designer Nick Schlieper

Costume Designer Mel Page

Composer Alan John


Helen Buday

Brendan Cowell

Harry Greenwood

Gillian Jones

Lech Mackiewicz

Belvoir St Theatre | Upstairs

8 February – 23 March 2014

Will Drummond is bewildered. All the old certainties are coming apart. His parents are suddenly old, theatre is not what it used to be, people around him are losing their minds and losing faith, the world is shrinking, and what does it even mean to live in a society anymore? Then, suddenly, Will finds himself sitting by his mother’s bedside in a hospital room on the north coast of New South Wales; his task is to turn bewilderment into clarity before it is too late.

Once in Royal David’s City is big and small at once. Tumbling from the fifties to the present, from West Berlin to Byron Bay, from brief encounters to the cycles of history. It is about mothers and sons, lost innocence, omnipresent death. It is about rage and it is about the brilliant possibilities of theatre.

The Philadelphia Story

A Belvoir & Malthouse co-production

Created by Simon Stone based on the play by Philip Barry

Director Simon Stone

Set Designer Ralph Myers

Lighting Designer Paul Jackson


Zahra Newman

Belvoir St Theatre | Upstairs

27 March – 18 May 2014

Tracy Samantha Lord Haven (Zahra Newman) is rich and smart and famous and she is getting married to George Kittredge. C.K. Dexter Haven is her ex-husband and he has invited himself to the wedding. Macaulay Conner is the journalist C.K. Dexter Haven has brought with him to document the nuptial lead-up. As it’s a comedy you can be sure it ends with a wedding... but who will Tracy Samantha Lord Haven marry?

Philip Barry wrote The Philadelphia Story especially for Katherine Hepburn. It opened on Broadway in 1939 to great acclaim and wild success. It restored Hepburn’s career after a string of flops and she went on to star in the film adaptation in 1940. The play and film were such a hit that it was later adapted into the musical High Society.

Simon Stone and co promise to turn a radical new lens on this effervescent Hollywood classic about love and celebrity and love and f**king up in public and love and excess... with some extra love thrown in for good measure.

20 Questions

Hosted by Wesley Enoch

With a new guest each night including

Jada Alberts

Lisa Maza & Rachael Maza

David Page

Leah Purcell

Miranda Tapsell

Ursula Yovich

Belvoir St Theatre | Upstairs

7 April – 11 August 2014 (MONDAYS ONLY)

Every blackfella has a story.

20 Questions is a cabaret and a talk show rolled into one. It works like this: each night a new mystery guest from the exemplary roll-call of Indigenous performers is asked 20 questions. The questions are the same every night, but the answers will be very different. The idea is that out of this simple set-up comes a big, rich, modern dreaming of story and song – and a better understanding of how much more there is still to tell.

20 Questions will play on Mondays only from 7 April to 11 August, but not every Monday; dates are specified below. With only 15 performances, this show is expected to sell out to subscribers.

Indigenous theatre at Belvoir supported by The Balnaves Foundation

Cain and Abel

A Belvoir & THE RABBLE co-production

Created by Kate Davis & Emma Valente

Director Emma Valente

Set & Costume Designer Kate Davis

Lighting & Sound Designer Emma Valente


Dana Miltins

Mary Helen Sassman

Belvoir St Theatre | Downstairs

15 May – 8 June 2014

According to the Book of Genesis, Cain and Abel were the two sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was the first human born and Abel, the first human to die. Cain slays Abel out of jealousy over God’s favour. It is the story of the first act of violence – an act that ricocheted across millennia and divided civilisations. It is the genesis of a vision of history as man on man, brother on brother, blood on the earth.

Cain and Abel is a show about violence and reinventing history, made by women.

THE RABBLE’s method is basically to take a big idea, lock themselves in a room, and make a piece of theatre. The big idea here is the tale from Genesis and its many iterations – from John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Lord Byron’s Cain, Baudelaire’s Abel et Caïn and the vicious sibling violence of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Brothers Wreck

By Jada Alberts

Director Leah Purcell

With Cramer Cain, Lisa Flanagan, Rarriwuy Hick, Hunter Page-Lochard and Bjorn Stewart

Belvoir St Theatre | Upstairs

24 May – 22 June 2014

Brothers Wreck begins with a death: on a hot morning under a house in Darwin, Ruben wakes to find his cousin Joe hanging from the rafters. The play that follows tells the story of how Ruben’s family, little by little, brings Ruben back from the edge.

Jada Alberts, winner of the 2013 Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award, is an actor and theatre-maker with a powerful voice and a clear vision to tell the stories of her community. She is one of a growing group of young Indigenous artists who have looked to each other as much as they have to their elders, and her play emerges from the gathering voices of this new generation.

More of these young Indigenous artists have been assembled for the cast. Rarriwuy Hick (Redfern Now, Bloodland) is an actor, as well as a dancer and choreographer with Bangarra Dance Theatre. Hunter Page-Lochard is the son of Stephen Page. He is establishing his own path as an actor, dancer and rapper with performances in Blak and Bloodland. Belvoir audiences will remember Bjorn Stewart for his performance in The Dark Room.

Indigenous theatre at Belvoir supported by The Balnaves Foundation

Hedda Gabler

Adapted from the play by Henrik Ibsen

Director Adena Jacobs

Set Designer Dayna Morrissey

Lighting Designer Danny Pettingill

Composer Kelly Ryall


Ash Flanders

Belvoir St Theatre | Upstairs

28 June – 3 August 2014

After the Broadway premiere of Hedda Gabler in 1902, one reviewer wrote of its extraordinary heroine: ‘Degenerate, selfish, morbid, cruel, bitter, jealous, something of a visionary, something of a lunatic.’ But Hedda is neither logical nor insane in the old sense of being random and unaccountable. Her motives have a secret, personal logic of their own.

Hedda Gabler is trapped inside a conventional life: she married the scholar George Tesman. But money is short, Tesman’s old rival Ejlert Lövborg has turned up again, Judge Brack is visiting with alarming regularity, and Hedda Gabler’s volcanic boredom is reaching its limits. So begins a dangerous game of finding purpose in a purposeless existence.


By Kit Brookman and Anne-Louise Sarks after

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

Director Anne-Louise Sarks

Set Designer Marg Horwell

Costume Designer Mel Page

Lighting Designer Paul Jackson

Composer Kelly Ryall


Blazey Best

Belvoir St Theatre | Upstairs

9 August – 14 September 2014

Nora Helmer is one of those iconic fictional characters who has taken on a life of her own. In 1879, at the end of Henrik Ibsen’s new play A Doll’s House, she did the unthinkable: she walked out the front door of the house she lived in with her husband and children, slammed the door behind her, and left. To this day, A Doll’s House is the most performed play in the world. It is still a powerful expression of a person’s need to develop their own identity, in particular a need in women to be a person first, then a wife and mother.

In 2014, Nora’s dilemma remains the same: how much will a woman put up with and why? And what is the alternative? Kit Brookman and Anne-Louise Sarks’ update of Ibsen’s resounding play sets Nora’s story here and now, beginning with Ibsen’s tale and then following Nora out the door and into the new life we all suppose is possible for a tough-minded woman in these equitable modern times...

Oedipus Rex

Director Adena Jacobs

Belvoir St Theatre | Downstairs

21 August – 14 September 2014

This is a very new version of a very old play.

Why do generations of artists feel compelled to retell old stories again and again, like that of King Oedipus and his unfortunate parents?

A plague has stricken the city. King Oedipus vows to take action. And so, most innocently, he enters a nightmarish quest for the truth – one which unleashes the most monstrous and shocking undercurrents of his own identity.

Oedipus Rex is a raw dream of the past and the future. It is a visionary, brutal and mystifying account of what it means to be human. It gets right to the heart of our most primal longings and fears.

Is This Thing on?

By Zoë Coombs Marr

Director Kit Brookman

Belvoir St Theatre | Downstairs

2 October – 26 October 2014

Brianna is a stand-up comedian. This is her life: an unfortunate name, a boring childhood, slow self-realisation, a late coming-out. Drink. Standing in smelly rooms with strange men who all tell the same jokes. Vomiting on stage. Carrying on anyway. Is there a reason? Probably not. Just a way of coping with your own mediocrity. Whose life is this anyway?

The Glass Menagerie

By Tennessee Williams

Director Eamon Flack

Lighting Designer Damien Cooper

Composer & Sound Designer Stefan Gregory


Luke Mullins and Pamela Rabe

Belvoir St Theatre | Upstairs

20 September – 2 November 2014

Tennessee Williams invented a new kind of theatre with The Glass Menagerie. Its formal inventiveness paved the way for the great American dream plays like Death of a Salesman and Angels in America. It is also a scathing self-portrait of the young Tennessee: homosexual, poet, liar, truth-teller.

Amanda Wingfield is a single mother. Her son Tom works in a warehouse, her daughter Laura is studying to become a secretary. The three of them live in a small apartment pent up with fantasies and urges and rage and wounded tenderness. It is not a magnificent existence, but each of them has one true idea for a better life. Enter the Gentleman Caller...

In Amanda Wingfield we are introduced to the first in a line of legendary Williams women – towering dreamers fighting for their lives. Williams was one of the few writers of his time who allowed women to be as complex, flawed and interesting as men and there is a direct line from Amanda to Blanche (A Streetcar Named Desire) to Maggie the cat (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof).

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens

Director Anne-Louise Sarks

Set Designer Michael Hankin

Costume Designer Mel Page

Composer & Sound Designer Stefan Gregory


Peter Carroll, Robert Menzies and Kath Tonkin

Belvoir St Theatre | Upstairs

8 November – 24 December 2014

The most famous miser of all misers – and there are a lot of misers out there! – is Ebenezer Scrooge. Caught in the great grind for money, he forgets to live a shared life – until one Christmas night when something utterly, famously un-money happens to the old bastard…

A Christmas Carol is one of the wonderful stories of redemption and awakening. Given the chance to step back from our lives we would see how much is meaningless and inconsequential. This show is about having a second chance. It is about how precious the life we have left is. It is about finding joy in those around us.


By Matthew Whittet

Original Concept by Anthea Williams

Director Anthea Williams


Matthew Whittet

Belvoir St Theatre | Downstairs

13 November – 7 December 2014

What happens when two nervous jerks play out one of the great tales of all time? The theatrically invincible Matt Whittet (The Book of Everything) joins forces with director Anthea Williams(Forget Me Not, Old Man) for a rather grown-up, though sometimes infantile, race to the bottom of human dignity in the pursuit of love. It’s Cinderella, but not as you know it. In this modern, feminist fable, roles will be reversed, the status quo challenged, and the prince will need saving just as much as Cinderella.

Like the original, this is a story about how ugly ugly people can be, and how ugly beautiful people can be too. And it is the story of how love can be found in the strangest places.

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