September 19, 2012
The hit National Theatre production is to visit major festivals in Asia and New Zealand, before taking up residency as part of Cate Blanchett’s final season as co-artistic director of Sydney Theatre Company
Having just finished a successful five months on Broadway, Nicholas Hytner‘s production will visit major festivals in Hong Kong, Adelaide and Auckland from February, before playing six-week runs in each of Australia’s two cultural capitals, Sydney and Melbourne. The transfer might require playwright Richard Bean to tinker with the script a second time, to smooth some of the particularly British terminology for a new audience.
With James Corden due to film his latest self-penned BBC sitcom, The Wrong Man, in early 2013, the cast will be led by Owain Arthur. Corden’s former understudy has played Francis Henshall in the West End since March to great acclaim.
Arthur joins a starry lineup for Cate Blanchett‘s final season as co-artistic director of Sydney Theatre Company, which will bring Hugo Weaving,Isabelle Huppert, Richard Roxborough and comedian Tim Minchin to the main stage.
Blanchett will star in a “fresh exploration” of Jean Genet’s The Maids, adapted by her husband, Andrew Upton, who will continue to run the company from 2014, and director Benedict Andrews. She and French actor Huppert, star of The Piano Teacher, will play two sisters repeatedly enacting the murder of their mistress.
It will be the third time Blanchett has collaborated with Andrews, whose Three Sisters is currently at the Young Vic in London, following The War of the Roses and Gross und Klein (Big and Small), seen at London’s Barbican earlier this year.
Minchin, who makes his UK theatre debut this month in Jesus Christ Superstar, will return to Australia next summer for Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildernstern Are Dead. The comedian, who also wrote the music for Matilda: The Musical, started his career acting in Australia, where he played Amadeus and Hamlet for the Perth Theatre Company. He will star alongside playwright Toby Schmitz, whose latest play is titled I Want to Sleep With Tom Stoppard.
The season ends with Waiting for Godot next winter, starring Weaving as Vladimir and Moulin Rouge star Roxborough as Estragon. Tamás Ascher, who directed Blanchett in the acclaimed Uncle Vanya that has just finished at New York’s Lincoln Centre, will direct.
Blanchett and Upton took over at Sydney Theatre Company in 2009 andannounced their departure in January. In a joint statement, the pair described how the season “had a lot of our passions and favourite artists and is brimming with some of the relationships and partnerships that have inspired us during the last five years”.
Their final joint season also includes new productions of Romeo and Juliet, Mrs Warren’s Profession and Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal, as well as a collaboration with LIFT regulars Back to Back Theatre.