AS the Sydney Theatre Company’s play Riflemind opens in London, co-artistic directors Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton have entered into an international theatrical alliance with parties in Britain and the US.
The jetsetting couple have joined the alliance with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s LAByrinth Theatre Company in New York and the Ambassador Theatre Group, based in London.
The alliance is an initiative of ATG, a leading theatre owner and producer that is looking to invest in Australia’s entertainment sector.
Upton said the STC’s relationship with ATG was about a pooling of resources that could lead to Australian plays being staged in Britain.
"It would definitely benefit writers, but hopefully it would also benefit directors and actors," Upton said in London yesterday.
Riflemind, Upton’s drama about a once-great rock band, is an example of the ventures that may follow.
The play had its Sydney premiere in October last year, directed by Hoffman and with Hugo Weaving in the lead role.
It is now being staged in London at ATG’s Trafalgar Studios, with British actor John Hannah in the lead, and original cast members Susan Prior, Steve Rodgers and Jeremy Sims.
The theatre alliance was announced at Century, a members’ club in London, on the day of thefirst preview performance of Riflemind.
Upton said he had taken several other scripts to London – including Tommy Murphy’s recent play Saturn’s Return – which he intended to discuss with ATG.
"When we come across another Australian play that’s got international connections and legs, we would send them a copy of the script," Upton said.
"It’s a pooling of script resources, initially, which may then be about taking whole productions (to Britain).
"I think that would be our ambition, to get more of our work seen over here."
The relationship would work in both directions. STC’s 2009 season includes the play Elling, adapted from a Norwegian novel and produced in London by ATG.
ATG produced the recent production of the musical Guys and Dolls in Melbourne, due to open in Sydney next year.
ATG’s joint chief executive and creative director, Howard Panter, is looking to buy Australian theatres and has said he also wants to present the Company B/ Malthouse production of Exit the King on Broadway with Geoffrey Rush.