Queensland Theatre has announced that it will return to the stage in November, when it presents the world premiere of David Megarrity’s The Holidays in the Bille Brown Theatre.

David Megarrity, Bryan Probets, Louise Brehmer and Bridget Boyle. Photograph courtesy of Queensland Theatre

It is the latest in a number of Australian theatre companies to announce a post-COVID season. State Theatre Company South Australia is already back on stage, having opened its production of Gaslight at Adelaide’s Her Majesty’s Theatre last night. Belvoir’s production of A Room of One’s Own, adapted for the stage by Carissa Licciardello and Tom Wright, begins playing tonight, Sydney Theatre Company is staging the world premiere of Angus Cerini’s Wonnangatta at the Roslyn Packer Theatre from September 21, while Griffin Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Mark Rogers’ Superheroes at Sydney’s Seymour Centre from September 25. All of these productions are being performed to socially distanced audiences.

Black Swan State Theatre Company in Perth will also return to the stage in November, when it presents Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical Oklahoma! at the Heath Ledger Theatre from November 28.

Sadly, Melbourne Theatre Company will not be back on the boards this year, having recently made “the heartbreaking decision” (as Artistic Director Brett Sheehy put it) to cancel the remainder of the 202o season because of the current lockdown in Victoria due to the coronavirus second wave.

Queensland currently has very few cases of community transmission so QT – which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020 – has been able to program Megarrity’s play The Holidays, which won the 2018–2019 Queensland Premier’s Drama Awards from a field of more than 90 entrants.

“The show will go on, rehearsals are about to begin, the set is ready for bump-in and our COVID-Safe plans are all in place. Queensland Theatre is back! What a brilliant way to end a tumultuous year, with a new work by an outstanding local playwright and starring some audience favourites,” said Queensland Theatre Artistic Director, Lee Lewis.

“Queensland Theatre will be providing a COVID-Safe theatre experience in line with Queensland Health guidelines. To comply with social distancing measures, our theatre capacity has been reduced, but we will run the season for longer so as many people as possible can see this beautiful story,” said Lewis.

Described by QT as “a disarming and lyrical chronicle about families, for families,” The Holidays will transport audiences to a quintessentially Queensland beach getaway. The Holidays are on holiday: 12-year-old Oliver has been pulled out of school for an unexpected trip with his mum and dad, to grandad’s seaside shack. But grandad, an eccentric artist, is not there. Combining live performance, music and projections, The Holidays is a wistful, touching portrait of memory and family connections.

Directed by Bridget Boyle, who directed QT’s award-winning production The Longest Minute, the cast will include Queensland actors Bryan Probets and Louise Brehmer.

“It is truly exciting to be staging The Holidays,” said Lewis. “There is magic inside David Megarrity’s words promising a journey filled with heart, in a time when we really need to celebrate being together.”

The Holidays was originally scheduled to be performed in the Bille Brown Theatre in July but had to be postponed when theatres were shuttered by COVID-19 restrictions. It will be QT’s final live show for the year.

Other plays in the 2020 season have had to be cancelled or postponed. Boy Swallows Universe has been postponed to Brisbane Festival 2021, Prima Facie has been postponed to the 2021 QT season, and Triple X, Othello, The Children, Phaedra and Fifty! have been cancelled.

The Holidays plays in the Bille Brown Theatre, Brisbane, November 14 – December 12.  A limited number of single tickets will be released for sale on October 15

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