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Exciting 2016 for Queensland Theatre Company

Photos by Deanne Scott.

Wesley Enoch talks with Andrew McFarlane and Kate Wilson, stars of Quartet at the

launch and with Thomas Larkin from The Wider Earth.

After launch party pics follow the story

Queensland Theatre Company’s Season 2016 features 10 productions, including the world premiere of The Wider Earth, a collaboration between QTC and Dead Puppet Society. From Molière and Shakespeare, to local stories, international masterpieces and the Australian writing, QTC is set to celebrate ambition and achievement.

In unveiling his final season before he leaves for Sydney Festival, Artistic Director Wesley Enoch said 2016 would engage and challenge on the need for bravery and moral fortitude in shifting times, providing a forum for debate, diversity and the driving of change.

Season 2016 opens in January at the Playhouse with the comedy that journeys into old age, Quartet. Writer Ronald Harwood takes on retirement in this tale of the frustrations and fears of getting old. Andrea Moor, fresh from directing the smash hits Grounded and Venus in Fur fronts actors Christine Amor, Andrew McFarlane, Trevor Stuart and Kate Wilson thoroughly enjoy themselves in this bawdy romp through the golden years. The show will then go on to tour regional Queensland.

Based on the award-winning novel by Kate Grenville, The Secret River, winner of six Helpmann Awards including Best Play, Best Direction and Best New Australian Work, is a story of the beginnings of colonial Australia, when pardoned convicts clashed with the traditional owners of the land they settled. The Sydney Theatre Company production brings together Australian director Neil Armfield and adaptor Andrew Bovell, with actors Nathaniel Dean, Trevor Jamieson, Matthew Sunderland and Ningali Lawford-Wolf to tell the tale of two families divided by culture and land.

In April, QTC presents Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Jason Klarwein, with Ellen Bailey and Tama Matheson as the young starry-eyed couple, leading a cast featuring Christen O’Leary, Hugh Parker and Bryan Probets.

In May, QTC leaves the Playhouse until October, making its home in the Bille Brown Studio (BBS). From award- winning Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith comes Switzerland, a new two-hander starring Andrea Moor, in a move from director to on-stage lead. This is a theatrical thriller with author Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley) centre stage, having to pen one last brilliant book.

In July, QTC and Dead Puppet Society will stage the world premiere of The Wider Earth, a coming-of-age story about science and faith that recounts the tale of a younger Charles Darwin’s voyage on the HMS Beagle.

“The Wider Earth will be a piece of visual theatre, placing strong emphasis on the staging and use of theatrical devices to paint our own vision of Darwin’s world. That means puppets – a lot of them. More than we’ve ever made before. At the moment, our plans for the production include more than 30. From tiny beetles to southern right whales, to the iconic Galapagos turtles. We’re excited that this work will bring human performers and our trademark puppet characters together in a meaningful way that isn’t often seen in mainstream theatre,” said David Morton from Dead Puppet Society, who penned The Wider Earth and will also direct and design.

St Mary’s in Exile opens at the Bille Brown Studio on August 27 and is a true story. The play tells the story of parish priest, Father Peter Kennedy, excommunicated from St Mary’s in South Brisbane for preaching acceptance and equality. Written by Brisbane playwright David Burton, the show’s cast includes Chenoa Deemal and Caroline Kennison, under director Jason Klarwein.

Novelist and screen writer Ayad Akhtar’s theatrical debut, Disgraced, comes to the Playhouse from Melbourne Theatre Company in October. The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is a tale that poses challenging questions about identity, tribalism and the fragility of friendships and will be directed by Nadia Tass, and the cast includes Mitchell Butel.

Proving that centuries old tales still have the power to resonate with audiences, Tartuffe is a bawdy play about power, hypocrisy and gullibility, pillorying religious fanaticism and moral weakness. Adapted by Justin Fleming from French playwright Moliere’s 17th century comedy, it demonstrates that perhaps modern attitudes haven’t changed as much as we think. Ribald and irreverent, Tartuffe is a co-production with Perth’s Black Swan Theatre Company and features Darren Gilshenan, Hugh Parker, Rose Reilly, Steve Turner, Alison Van Reeken and Alex Williams.

A little newer to Australian theatre is Bastard Territory. This new Australian play from Brisbane-based writer Stephen Carleton mixes humour, insight and a 60s and 70s soundtrack, along with the talents of Benhur Helwend, Suellen Maunder and Peter Norton, and directed by Ian Lawson.

The finale for the 2016 Season is from Brisbane-based writer Katherine Lyall-Watson. Based on fact, Motherland was recognised as a Patrick White Playwright’s Award Finalist. A tapestry of displacement and identity, it explores the casualties of love, ambition, and politics.

Now in its 45th year, QTC has a long history of performances that have engaged, entertained and sparked debate, and Season 2016 promises to celebrate diverse ideas. The season announced today leads a full program of touring, education, children's shows and more.

Season Tickets on sale from Monday 14 September – 5 pm via

Phone sales available from Tuesday 15 September – 9 am by calling 1800 355 528.

Barbara Lowing, Darren Gilshenan and Margi Brown Ash

Below: Andrew McFarlane and Hugh Parker wikth son Tom

Below right: Wesley Enoch and Eric Scott hare a joke.

Right: Darren Gilshenan with Jason Klarwein

Kristen O'Leary and Eric Scott

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