Highlights include a new play by Patricia Cornelius, an adaptation of a Tim Winton novel and Judy Davis in the director’s chair.

State Theatre Company of South Australia welcomes its biggest season yet in 2018, with an additional two productions and its highest number of commissioned works, with four out of nine productions having their premiere in South Australia. Artistic Director Geordie Brookman has said that the theme belief runs through the upcoming season, as well as a number of stories set in regional communities as the Company renews its focus on South Australia.

“2018 represents another ambitious step in the Company’s aspiration to deliver international class theatre all over South Australia, the country and the world,” said Brookman. “I’m delighted that four out of our nine works come from our commissioning programme, reaffirming our commitment to being one of the best new work companies in the country.”

The 2018 season opens with In The Club, the first of State Theatre Company’s commissioned productions. Written by one of Australia’s most celebrated playwrights Patricia Cornelius, the work explores the off-field culture of AFL players, highlighting the treatment of women and the sexual violence they are subject to in “the club behind the club”. Directed by Brookman, who describes the play as “powerful, unforgiving and unashamedly high risk”, the cast is made up of the State Theatre Company Ensemble in their second year.

In The Club. Photo supplied.

Andrew Bovell’s beloved early comedy After Dinner comes next in the season, telling the story of five eccentric lonely hearts in a 1980s pub bistro. Directed by Corey McMahon and led by a cast that includes Jude Henshall, Elena Carapetis, and Rory Walker, After Dinner is a beautifully observed work about the travails of friendship and singledom.

In May, Jane Austen’s evergreen comedy of manners Sense and Sensibility comes to SA by way of Kate Hamill’s internationally lauded adaptation, seen in New York over the last few years. Set to delight both Janeites and new audiences, Brookman returns to direct the State Theatre Company Ensemble in what he calls “pure theatrical joy” in this story of human weakness, love, and second chances.

Also in May, STCSA sees the world premiere of Fleur Kilpatrick’s Terrestrial. Set in Leigh Creek, the Jill Blewett Playwright Award winner explores the decline of a community dependent on its mine, now set for closure, through an intense friendship between two teenagers. Directed by the Company’s former Resident Director Nescha Jelk, the cast is headed by Annabel Matheson.

Terrestrial. Photo supplied.

Following Kilpatrick’s new work is a STCSA coproduction with Malthouse Theatre, Brothers Wreck, written and directed by Jada Alberts. A tender and humane piece, it tells the story of a young man forced into a journey of self-discovery in the wake of his cousin’s suicide. Brookman promises that “no audience member will leave the theatre with a dry eye or indeed without hope in their heart.”

Duncan Graham’s new version of Strindberg’s classic emotional thriller Creditors arrives in July, directed by David Mealor and starring stage and screen favourite Caroline Craig. Graham’s adaptation has “taken the tricky but brilliant bones of Strindberg’s minor classic and turned it into a sizzling thriller”, according to Brookman.

Creditors is followed by another stage adaptation, this time of Tim Winton’s 1986 novel That Eye, the Sky. Adapted by writer Justin Monjo and actor Richard Roxburgh, it focuses on a 12-year-old trying to make sense of life in a small country town, one of a number of works in the season set in small regional communities. Award winning director and choreographer Kate Champion directs a cast that includes Elena Carapetis and Christopher Pitman, marking her second stage adaptation of a Winton novel after choreographing the internationally acclaimed Cloudstreet.

That Eye, The Sky. Photo supplied.

Next in the season is Faith Healer, which comes to Adelaide in a highly awarded hit production by beloved actor Judy Davis. Davis directs her husband, Colin Friels, as well as Alison Whyte and Paul Blackwell in this 20th-century classic about the vagaries of the itinerant life and the complexities of faith. Described by Brookman as “theatrical dynamite”, it is sure to be one of the season’s biggest draws.

The 2018 season ends with The Gods of Strangers by Elena Carapetis, who brings the stories of her Greek and Cypriot family to the stage in a new work that explores the immigrant experience in post-war Australia. Brookman directs a cast including Rosalba Clemente and Renato Musolino in this play written for STCSA, inspired by the rich oral histories of migrants to regional South Australia.

Full season