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Big launch for Queensland Theatre’s 2018 program

Above some of the patrons gather. Below Right: Artistic Director Sam Strong launches the new season. Photos by Deanne Scott. More photos follow story.

There were 600 guests at the launch of the Queensland Theatre’s 2018 launch at Rydge’s

Hotel and they did some cheering as Artistic Director Sam Strong introduced the list of plays.

“ The 2018 Season transports us to places we wouldn’t otherwise encounter (or even imagine). The eight plays traverse centuries of time, the breadth of our country, the expanse of the globe, and the inner workings of diverse and brilliant minds.

“In the coming year, you can be at the centre of a food fight at the Christmas dinner from Hell, evade pursuers across the Scottish Highlands, wrestle with a Kafkaesque bureaucracy in Iran, help solve a 1960s murder mystery in the Western Australian Wheatbelt, become entangled in a 17th Century scientific feud, or sing melancholy love songs to the exotic Duke of a mythical realm.”

After the launch the guests mingled with some of the stars for the next year - Hugh Parker, Brian Probets, Christen O’Leary, Rhys Muldoon, Danielle Cormack, Joss McWilliam, director Paige Rattray and writers Nakkiah Lui and David Williamson.

First up from February 1-17 in the Playhouse, QPAC is Black is the New White by Nakkiah Lui and directed by Paige Rattray.

Two politically powerful families at war: a son and daughter helplessly in love, defying their parents. You’ve heard this story before – but what if Romeo was white, Juliet was black and the war mainly fought on Twitter?

After a whirlwind romance, hotshot lawyer Charlotte Gibson and penniless avant-garde cellist Francis Smith are engaged. One thing stands in the way: Charlotte’s the favourite daughter of Australia’s most charismatic Aboriginal politician, and Francis is the son of his dour and stridently conservative rival. It’s been mutual hatred for decades, sparked by an infamous shoe-throwing incident on the floor of parliament.

As the two bitterly entrenched families collide in the Gibson’s glitzy holiday mansion over an Aussie Christmas dinner, the long-standing feud comes to a head. Cue a sharp-witted and riotously funny struggle for dominance where barbed insults fly, secrets come flooding out and hypocrisies of all kinds – race, gender, religion, status – are mercilessly skewered. Black is the New White sold out its world premiere season at Sydney Theatre Company in 2017. Now it’s coming to Brisbane.

Cast Includes Kylie Bracknell, Tony Briggs, Luke Carroll, Vanessa Downing, Geoff Morrell, Melodie Reynolds-Diarra, Shari Sebbens, Tom Stokes and Anthony Taufa.

Next from 24 February - 24 March 24 in the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC is The 39 Steps Adapted by Patrick Barlow from the movie by Alfred Hitchcock and the novel by John Buchan directed by Jon Halpin.

A night at the theatre goes spectacularly wrong for dashing adventurer Richard Hannay, ending with a glamorous secret agent dead in his arms. Stiffening his upper lip, our handsome hero dives straight into a thrilling wartime conspiracy in this ripping laugh-a-minute romp.

Classic film noir melds seamlessly with zany comedy as Hannay clings to trains, dangles from bridges and is harried across the moors by machine-gun fire – all recreated through fiendishly inventive stage wizardry. With just four actors playing a titanic cast of 139 characters, this riotous retro spy caper is performed at breakneck speed with a knowing wink to the audience and a tip of the hat to Alfred Hitchcock and Tony Hancock.

After a record-breaking season at State Theatre Company South Australia, former Queensland Theatre Associate Director Jon Halpin returns to Brisbane to direct an all-Queensland cast - Liz Buchanan, Leon Cain, Hugh Parker and Brian Probets.

From April 28- May 19 at the Playhouse, QPAC comes Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Sam Strong with new songs from Tim Finn for Shakespeare’s dark comedy

A shipwreck sets in motion a wild and whimsical tale of mistaken identities, separated twins, rebellious servants, unrequited love, and a pair of ridiculous yellow stockings. After the twelfth night, the land of Illyria will never be the same.

Washed ashore and separated from her twin brother, the plucky Viola must learn to survive alone in an exotic foreign country. Disguising herself as a man, she quickly becomes entangled in a web of amorous pursuits gone awry. As Cupid’s arrows send dukes and countesses running in disastrous directions, a wacky entourage of servants and drunken freeloaders watch on in amusement. All the while, Viola must fight to ensure nothing blows her cover.

Shakespeare’s hilarious and lovable characters are brought to life through all new songs by legendary composer Tim Finn (Ladies in Black, Split Enz, Crowded House) and a cast of comedic greats including Jason Klarwein, Christen O’Leary and Jessica Tovey.

Here’s one for Rugby League – The Longest Minute written by Robert Kronk and Nadine McDonald-Dowd Directed by Bridget Boyle from 26 May 26 - 23 June 23 in the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. This was inspired by the amazing last minute Grand Final win for the North Queensland Cowboys over the Brisbane Broncos in 2015.

One football club, one family, and one unforgettable NRL grand final

Where were you the night of the 2015 NRL Grand Final? The night when long-time underdogs the North Queensland Cowboys won in an all-QLD nail-biter that changed the game, and the state, forever. For one family of Cowboys diehards, their whole lives have led up to this moment.

Jess was born on the night of the North Queensland Cowboys’ first game in Townsville. Daughter of Foley Shield legend Frank ‘Black Flash’ Wright, she grew up as a footy fanatic with big dreams, silky skills and boundless ambition to play. But as a girl in a male-dominated sport, she faces more than her fair share of knockbacks, just like the luckless Cowboys. Despite their relentless string of losses, Jess still dares to believe in her team, and herself.

Queensland Theatre joins forces with debase productions and JUTE Theatre Company in Cairns to bring this Queensland story to audiences across the state.

Good Muslim Boy is an irreverent but tender memoir of a father, a son and a question of faith by Osamah Sami, adapted for the stage by Osamah Sami and Janice Muller, directed by Janice Muller. It will play from 2 July 2 - 28 in theCremorne Theatre, QPAC

What does it mean to be a good Muslim boy? You probably shouldn’t gawk at girls in bikinis or fake a medical degree. If you must be an actor, you shouldn’t play a gay man on television, or Saddam Hussein in a post 9/11 American musical. And you definitely, definitely shouldn’t leave an arranged bride at the altar.

Meet Osamah Sami. He’s done all of the above. Interesting, considering his father is one of the leading Islamic clerics in Australia, having pulled his family out of war-torn Iran to settle in suburban Melbourne.

But when his kindly and unorthodox dad dies suddenly during a trip to Iran, Osamah must grapple with an inscrutable and corrupt bureaucracy in his fight to bring his father’s body home to Australia – all the while looking back on his life in a haunting, hilarious and heart-wrenching retrospective.

Cast Includes Rodney Afif, Veronica Neave, Osamah Sami.

From July 28 - August 18 in the Playhouse, QPAC is Jasper Jones, based on the novel by Craig Silvey, adapted by Kate Mulvany and directed by Sam Strong.

The smash-hit stage adaptation of the classic Australian coming-of-age mystery

In the sizzling summer of 1965, a bookish 14 year-old boy flees from the boredom and bullying of small-town life by burying himself in stories of epic adventure. He never thought he’d find himself living one.

Charlie Bucktin lives in a tiny, insignificant bush town where nothing happens. Nothing, that is, until the town’s own Huckleberry Finn – the light-fingered and dark-skinned Jasper Jones – stumbles upon a gruesome crime out by the dam. Who else would he call on for help but the sharpest kid around? A midnight tap at Charlie’s window sparks a race to solve a murder and clear Jasper’s name.

Somewhere between Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and classic movie Stand by Me, Kate Mulvany’s adaptation of Craig Silvey’s novel is a bittersweet, joyous coming-of-age yarn set in a community where every weatherboard house hides a dark secret.

David Williamson meets Isaac Newton on the verge of his greatest scientific discovery in Nearer the Gods, his latest play, which plays October 6 - November 3 in the Bille Brown Theatre, Queensland Theatre and will be directed by Sam Strong.

Isaac Newton’s laws of motion are the foundation of countless human advancements. This is the story of how one of the greatest moments of scientific illumination almost didn’t happen.

It’s 1684, the dawn of the Enlightenment. Bright young astronomer Edmund Halley must somehow wrangle the secrets of the universe from the brain of fickle and contrary Isaac Newton. At the same time he must wrestle with his faith and risk his home, family and reputation to find the money and means to share this beautiful, powerful theory with the world at large.

For all the celestial bodies and scientific laws named after them, it’s easy to think of our 17th Century giants of science as infallible geniuses. But here are our most powerful minds laid bare: riddled with self-doubt, squabbling over fame, and ensconced in bitter intellectual rivalries.

Williamson brings us a gripping and blackly funny drama about ideas that would change the world. The all-star cast includes Matthew Backer (Switzerland), William McInnes (Sea Change, Time of our Lives) and Rhys Muldoon (House Husbands).

The final play of the year from November 10 - December 8 in the Bille Brown Theatre, Hedda, a re-imagining of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler by Melissa Bubnic, directed by Paige Rattray.

Ibsen’s fiercest leading lady lands poolside on the Gold Coast

Hedda Gabler is railing against her life. She didn’t marry bogan drug slinger George Tesman so she could play housewife in a monstrous Gold Coast mansion with white leather couches, blingy chandeliers and endless rounds of Aperol Spritz.

She wants something much more. Now her old flame, Ejlert Løvborg, is out of prison and off the junk. Is he about to slice off a piece of George’s empire? Maybe Hedda can pull some strings to work this to her advantage.

Logie Award-winning actor Danielle Cormack (Wentworth, Rake) is the new Hedda. Melissa Bubnic gives us a local version of the Henrik Ibsen classic that is as dangerous and surprising as its heroine.

More stories in Showbiz News.

Left: David Williamson. Right Danielle Cormack

Bridget Boyle and Hugh Parker

Kristen O'Leary, Eric Scott and Danielle Cormack.

Joss McWilliam and Eric scott

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