In 2020, Queensland will celebrate 50 years of having a dedicated theatre company, a company that has grown and thrived. At the launch of the 2020 season, Queensland Theatre promised audiences 50 Seasons of Stories plus an array of special events to mark the celebrations.We will be losing beloved Artistic Director, Sam Strong to the Southern climes but his legacy lives on and the productions slated for next year bear his stamp.
There are the classics like Othello, re-imaginings of Phaedra and the talented David Williamson’s Emerald City. There is the most anticipated play of the year with the quintessential Queensland story, Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe adapted by playwright, Tim McGarry. New works like the hilarious Triple X directed by Paige Rattray and The Children, a story which probes our environmental legacy in the wake of a nuclear disaster, speak to the future, as does Prima Facie, the powerful story of a defence barrister who finds herself on the wrong side of the system. The Holidays will bring a touch of nostalgia, with this gentle play by David Megarrity transporting you to those beach getaways of your youth, when the whole family camped at a beach shack for the long , hot summer. Next season’s offerings straddle the past, present and future and offer plays for all ages and stages.
In highlighting the plays of the season Sam Strong also highlighted the strong offering of Queensland talent from playwrights to directors, actors to producers. The list was long and growing. Queensland Theatre is truly the home of such amazing home grown talent. We heard from the talented and funny Jason Klarwein from atop a waterfall in far North Queensland. Jason will play the lead in Emerald City. It’s the first time a Torres Strait Islander will play Othello when Jimi Bani takes on this role. Angie Milliken and Christen O’ Leary are coming home to play roles in Phaedra and Triple X. The all female Belloo Creative have written the play Phaedra to the cries of QUEENSLANDER asking, “What would happen if Queensland seceded from the rest of Australia?” Queensland Theatre will use this milestone year to reflect our state and city like never before.
In his four years at the helm, Sam Strong has truly embraced his catchcry of ‘leading from Queensland ‘. Next year half of the plays are new works, many are from women and it’s fitting that David Williamson whose works have been performed over 700 times on Australian stages, revisits his 1987 work, in his 50th year of writing plays. No- one but Shakespeare’s plays have been performed more than David’s here in Australia and as he rightly pointed out, “He’s not even Australian.”
Sam Strong may be leaving but he’ll be back to direct Emerald City and Boy Swallows Universe. I get the sense that he’ll also be leaving a little piece of his heart here too. He was rewarded with a standing ovation from the 800 + crowd of theatre goers keen to learn about the shows on offer. We all left excited for future performances and the innovative new plays for 2020. Tickets for next year’s 50 Seasons of Stories are on sale now.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).