After months of empty stages across the city being illuminated only by ghost lights, Sydney’s theatres are slowly but surely being brought back to life. And the brilliance of Sydney Theatre Company (STC) is only a hop, skip and a jump away.
Wayne Blair and Hugo Weaving will once more tread the boards as Angus Cerini’s Wonnangatta reopens the Roslyn Packer Theatre, as directed by resident director Jessica Arthur, with an almost six-week season kicking off on September 21. While many creatives have grappled with how best to deliver theatre online, it will be a joy for appropriately distanced audiences to sit together in a theatre once more and feel that electric thrill of seeing actors do their thing live. The 880-seater auditorium has been reduced to 147 bums on seats each night. Masks will be mandatory for audience members and staff.
And what a cast to return with, in this gothic fable set at Wonnangatta Station just over 100 years ago. Two men arrive at the dark and empty farmhouse wondering what has happened to their good friend and manager Jim Barclay. A darkly thrilling mystery unravels as the men set out for answers, and for justice. Cerini’s took home a host of awards for his previous box office hit The Bleeding Tree, so we can’t wait to see what chills he dishes up next.
Needless to say, artistic director Kip Williams is pretty pumped to welcome loyal audiences back home. “It’s thrilling for us to be returning to the stage following what has been the longest period of closure in the company’s history. The past five months have been extremely challenging for STC and our industry. I’m so excited to have our artists, crews and production departments back doing what they do best: making theatre.”
And he couldn’t be happier that the theatre will return celebrating a brilliant new Australian work. “Wonnangatta is the perfect piece of theatre for us to return with. A phenomenal new Australian play by Angus Cerini featuring two of our greatest actors, Wayne Blair and Hugo Weaving, and directed by one of our country’s most exciting young talents, our resident director Jessica Arthur. Audiences are in for a treat.”
Folks who held onto tickets from the planned Opera House season will be given priority in re-booking at the Roslyn. Even better, they’re hoping to go ahead with Susanna Dowling’s STC directorial debut Rules for Living, Sam Holcroft’s dysfunction family comedy, and also Williams’ new take on Oscar Wilde’s horror classic The Picture of Dorian Gray at some stage later this year. The Wharf Revue 2020 and A View from the Bridge will likely go ahead next year.