The Sydney Theatre Company has had its launch and the 2017 looks interesting. a couple of safe choices and a couple of risks but overall some exciting programing.

What caught my eye was The Bleeding Tree, Damien Ryan, Sarah Giles, Caryl Churchill, Murial’s Wedding: The Musical,  diversity and Australian stories.

The Bleeding Tree was a smashing successes at Griffin this year and tells a harrowing, yet lyrical story that keeps domestic violence in the forefront of the conversation. I am sure a few Helpmanns helped but great to see this get an outing on the STC stage next year.

Damien Ryan has been the hottest thing in town for years. Bell Shakespeare and Belvoir have seen it and now STC has acknowledged it. Speaking of Bell Shakespeare, Ryan will be directing John Bell, who returns to the STC stage.

Sarah Giles returns to direct at the STC with The Popular Mechanicals which was a smash hit at the Adelaide Festival Centre in 2015. It is from the original direction of Geoffrey Rush.

British playwright, Caryl Churchill has long been recognized for for her exploration of sexual politics and feminist themes. It has been often lamented that we do not see enough of her work. STC had success with Love and Information in 2015 and next year will present another of her plays.  Cloud Nine will confront cross-casting in terms of gender, race and age.

Murial’s Wedding the Musical! With the the slew of movies heading to the musical stage (Legally Blonde, Ghost, Saturday Night Fever, Singin’ in The Rain) how did this one hold out so long? With the amazing Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall providing new music and PJ Hogan back to update the book for a 2017 Murial, this could be the start of something big… and we are assured there will still be some ABBA songs.

Diversity and Australian Stories are finally starting to make inroads into Sydney theatre. This year the STC presented a few, next year they have ramped it up even more. Away gets re-imagined but there are  some brand spanking new Australia Stories as well – The Bleeding Tree (domestic violence), Talk (Modern Journalism, Shock Jock fame), Black Is The New White (Modern Indigenous) & Australian Graffitti (STC’s youngest playwright at 22, Thai migrant story exploring the intricacies of identity and belonging).

And no season would be complete without The Wharf Review.. and I have not seen this years yet!

So that’s my thoughts. Here is the season followed by the STC Media Brief

The Testament of Mary
by Colm Tóibín

by Michael Gow

by Lucy Kirkwood

The Bleeding Tree
by Angus Cerini

by Jonathan Biggins

The Popular Mechanicals
by Keith Robinson, William Shakespeare and Tony Taylor
from the original direction of Geoffrey Rush

Black is the New White
by Nakkiah Lui

by George Orwell

Cloud Nine
by Caryl Churchill

Australian Graffiti
by Disapol Savetsila

The Father
by Florian Zeller

by Moira Buffini

The Wharf Revue 2017
written & created by Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott

Three Sisters
by Anton Chekhov
in a new adaptation by Andrew Upton

Sydney Theatre Company unveils its 2017 Season
Sydney Theatre Company tonight announced its 2017 season, a classic STC program to challenge, stir and entertain audiences with fifteen shows across four venues. A raft of new writing, including a musical version of one of Australia’s most iconic films, a sharp Indigenous romantic comedy and a striking account of migrant life within Australia’s Thai community, sits alongside fresh explorations of landmark texts and the best of recent international plays.

Speaking about the program, Interim Artistic Director Kip Williams said:
“We are excited to present a diverse season in 2017, embracing both established and emerging voices with a number of shows passionately exploring social and racial politics, gender and identity. Some of the country’s finest actors will take to our stages in a program of largely contemporary work, including Paula Arundell, John Bell, Caroline Brazier, Jason Chong, Julie Forsyth, Heather Mitchell, Josh McConville, Eryn Jean Norvill, Chris Ryan, Shari Sebbens, John Waters, Alison Whyte, Mark Leonard Winter and Charles Wu.

“STC’s commitment to bringing fresh talent to its stages is evident throughout the season, with younger voices such as Disapol Savetsila and Nakkiah Lui amongst STC’s commissions. We can’t wait to share Griffin Theatre Company’s extraordinary The Bleeding Tree, with STC audiences. We’re delighted to welcome Sport for Jove’s Damien Ryan, making his STC debut, and thrilled to have Imara Savage join us as a new Resident Director.

“We’ll be delving into some game-changing plays from overseas, The Testament of Mary, Chimerica, The Father and 1984, in the mix with works by home-grown talents Angus Cerini, Jonathan Biggins and Andrew Upton. There are intriguing revivals of a Michael Gow classic, a Caryl Churchill masterwork and, at last, a Moira Buffini comedy. We’ve got a new adaptation of a monumental Chekhov and a fantastically impolite little riff on Shakespeare.

“And for one of STC’s biggest shows in years, the company returns to a form of theatre that has provided some of the company’s most exciting theatrical highs since The Venetian Twins in 1979, STC’s first year. A dazzling musical version of one of Australia’s great gifts to the world, Muriel’s Wedding, offers an ideal opportunity to present new Australian writing at the Roslyn Packer Theatre.”