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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, STC
Photograph: STC/Rene Vaile

STC brings back the Picture of Dorian Gray team for a new take on Jekyll and Hyde

Plus, the second act of 2022 also packs in brand new Australian plays and Richard Roxburgh doing Shakespeare

Alannah Le Cross
Written by
Alannah Le Cross

“It's been a very non-business-as-usual time, during my years. But also, every challenge brings with it opportunity,” says Sydney Theatre Company’s artistic director Kip Williams, reflecting on his time to date at the helm at one of the country’s top theatre companies. On the launch of the second half of STC’s 2022 season, he adds: “It feels like a real coming back to life for the company after two, understandably, pretty bumpy years.”

After six shows were already announced for Act 1 of 2022, there is plenty to be excited about amongst the nine shows just unveiled for Act 2. Six of them are Australian plays, and five of those will be world premieres, having largely been developed while live theatre has been intermittently on hold during the past two years. 

“It has been a central focus of my time as artistic director to increase the level of Australian playwriting at the company. And I’m really proud that the team and I have been achieving that in the past few years,” says Williams. 

“The reason why we make theatre is to tell stories that speak to the here and now, and we are living in contemporary Australia. So we should be putting our emphasis on Australian voices and Australian perspectives. And audiences love it. Audiences want to see themselves on stage, audiences want the complexity of our society to be represented and unpacked and questioned and explored and imagined.” 

Richard Roxburgh for The Tempest, STCPhotograph: STC/Andrew Cowen | Richard Roxburgh will star in 'The Tempest'

In addition to those new works, we also have the chance to see international Aussie star Richard Roxburgh take on his first Shakespearean role in some years when STC stages a contemporary interpretation of The Tempest. But perhaps the highlight of the season will feature Williams collaborating once more with the creative team behind his groundbreaking production of The Picture of Dorian Gray for a new take on The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Like Dorian Gray, Williams will continue to explore the integration of live video and cinematic elements into the theatre.  

Williams says he is optimistic about the future of theatre making in Sydney: “I'm really excited by the hunger that exists in audiences. Not only to get out of their homes and away from their streaming services, to connect with other human beings, but also to grapple with and chew upon big ideas in a forum where you can laugh together and cry together and discuss the stories that have been shared into the wee hours of the night and the days ensuing.” 

Sydney Theatre Company: Act 2 for 2022 Season

The Tempest (Nov 15-Dec 17)

Australian stage and screen legend Richard Roxburgh returns to STC for the first time in seven years to perform in Shakespeare's The Tempest. Williams is directing this one, and is thrilled to have Roxburgh on board: “He's one of the great Shakespearean actors, but it’s hard to believe he hasn't done Shakespeare since he performed Hamlet in that legendary Belvoir production decades ago. So it's been a long time between drinks for the Rox.”

Williams also promises that this production will implement some exciting “theatre magic” and STC’s approach will explore the environment and interrogate the colonial thematics of the work, exploring those in an Australian context. Bangarra Dance Theatre’s head designer Jake Nash is collaborating on the set design.

City of Gold (May 7-Jun 11)

A new production of Meyne Wyatt's landmark Australian play City of Gold will be directed by STC resident director superstar Shari Sebbens, who has been making waves with her direction on Seven Stages of Grieving and Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner over at Darlinghurst Theatre Co. “[This play is] a semi-autobiographical piece that looks at the contemporary Aboriginal experience and the hardship and prejudice that continues to be faced by First Nations people in this country, and it doesn't pull any punches,” explains Williams. “I think a lot of audiences will remember the monologue that Meyne did on Q&A that went viral around Australia and around the world from this play.” 

City of Gold is a co-pro with Black Swan Theatre Company, it will premiere as part of Perth Festival in March.

Top Coat (Jun 25-Aug 6)

When a young Chinese Australian woman swaps bodies with the white Australian television executive she’s performing a pedicure on, things get interesting. Following her debut stage play Single Asian Female and SBS on Demand series Homecoming Queens, writer Michelle Law has penned Top Coat, an irreverently funny new comedy that pulls no punches in exploring race, representation, privilege, and taking woke culture to task. 

Kimie Tsukakoshi stars in Top CoatPhotograph: STC/Rene Vaile | Kimie Tsukakoshi stars in 'Top Coat'

“Michelle takes the beloved comedic genre of the body swap farce, and injects it with her trademark, contemporary insight into the political discourse of today,” says Williams. “And so it's a piece that's really smart, and super funny in the way that it riffs off that beloved genre. And it packs a real political, meaty, intellectual punch at the same time.”

Chalkface (Sep 15-Oct 29)

Angela Betzien (The Hanging) pens this satirical comedy about the working lives of primary school teachers, starring stage and screen darling Catherine McClements. “[Betzien] has this very sharp, very funny Australian voice that is able to unpack the layers of social tension within Australian culture. And a particular focus that she applies in this play is on the education system,” says Williams. 

“The play gives us a sneak peek behind the curtain into that sacred, hallowed space that we all know very little about, unless we’re a teacher: the primary school staff room, and the politics of that space, and the intergenerational conflict that can exist within it.”

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Jun 21-Jul 16)

Playwright Emme Hoy (St Joan) takes inspiration from the irreverent comedy of Fleabag and lush beauty of Pride & Prejudice for this contemporary interpretation of a novel by the youngest and most unruly Bronte sister, Anne, which is considered the first English feminist novel. 

“Anne wrote this subversive, radical novel that centres on a woman, Helen Graham, who has left her husband with her small child in tow. And that in and of itself was such a scandalous premise that Anne’s sister, Emily, tried to have the novel banned. It was radical in its own time,” says Williams. “What Emme has done is take the sweeping romance and lush period drama of the Bronte novel and infused with contemporary politics and a perspective that feels urgent and fresh.”

RBG: Of Many, One (Oct 29-Dec 17)

Hot on the heels of her hugely successful play Prima Facie (which will premiere in London's West End in May starring Killing Eve's Jodie Comer), playwright and lawyer Suzie Miller has written a new one-woman play based on the life of the iconic former associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, performed by Heather Mitchell.

"Suzie comes to this piece both but as a feminist and as a lawyer with great insight and passion for RBG as a figure and incredible change that she's made. But one of the things that's most special about the play is that it really appeals to the person behind the public face and Suzie, in the piece, theatricalises moments that you never get to read about or you never get to see the truth of.”

Heather Mitchell stars in 'RBG: Of Many, of One'Photograph: STC/Rene Vaile| Heather Mitchell stars in 'RBG: Of Many, One'

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Aug 3-Sep 3)

Williams brings back the same creative team from his acclaimed production of The Picture of Dorian Gray for this contemporary interpretation of the gothic tale of split personalities  starring Ewen Leslie. A fan of the book for many years, Williams says he has always wanted to put it on the stage:

“I think I love it for a number of reasons. The first is the genre element on it. It's a great detective story, it has sort of psychological thriller noir horror elements that run through it. But thematically I love it because it looks at this idea of the multiplicity of human nature and the way in which specifically humans compartmentalise parts of themselves, and the damage that that does and the forces at play that lead humans to do this.”

A Raisin in the Sun (Aug 27-Oct 15)

Shari Sebbens also steps into directorial duties for this show rescheduled from the 2021 season, a game-changing play written by the late Lorraine Hansberry. It was the first by an African American woman to light up Broadway, and it continues to move audiences generations later. This new production casts Zahra Newman and Bert LaBonté.

“It’s truly one of the great plays of the 20th century,” Williams says. “Lorraine was only 29 when she wrote it and, tragically, she died a couple of years later. She was speaking at a time when she was very ahead of the historical context in which she lived. And so for us to look back to this play now, in the wake of Black Lives Matter, it’s a great privilege to be able to listen to this young, black female voice and to reflect upon what has changed since then, but I think also to recognise what hasn’t changed.”

The Lifespan of a Fact (Sep 20-Oct 15)

Another show rescheduled from last year, Sigrid Thornton makes her STC debut in this staggering true story-turned Broadway hit by David Murrell, Gordon Farrell and Jeremy Kareken. Directed here by Paige Rattray, the show unpicks fake news when a young intern fact-checking a feature by a writer he idolises realises that something has gone horribly awry.

“It’s one of those plays that you read and you go, ‘How did they hit the Zeitgeist in such an apt way?’” Williams says. “It speaks so directly to the post-truth era, of a time where the faith in journalism has been denigrated from all sides and the notion of truth has been turned upside down. It speaks to all of those phenomena in a searingly funny way. It’s gonna be a cracker.”

You can find tickets and further information about STC's 2022 Season at

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