A LEADING British theatre producer is in discussions with Sydney Theatre Company’s Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett about a London season of Upton’s play, Riflemind.
Howard Panter, creative director of the Ambassador Theatre Group, has also seen West End potential in plays at Sydney’s Belvoir Street Theatre.
The STC production of Riflemind – an existential drama about a once-great rock band – opened in Sydney last October, directed by American actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and with a cast led by Australia’s Hugo Weaving.
"It’s a great human story about people trying to find redemption," Mr Panter said in Sydney yesterday. "I believe the play would work really well in London and in New York."
Panter said he also was talking to Upton and Blanchett – the artistic directors of STC – about co-productions of other plays. He said he could present a London season of Riflemind as early as September. A spokesman for STC said there had been "preliminary discussions".
Mr Panter is a co-founder of ATG, which owns 23 venues in Britain and is also a creative production company.
Its West End co-production of Guys and Dolls opens in Melbourne in April, with an Australian cast, and the company is behind a new staging of The Rocky Horror Show, opening in Sydney next week.
Mr Panter said he had up to $6 million in Australian productions and was considering an Australian office for ATG.
Australia suffered from a "play gap", he said, meaning an absence of commercially produced theatre.
He was considering Australian productions of a Harold Pinter double bill, The Lover and The Collection; and a Norwegian play, Elling.
Hybrid productions between commercial producers and subsidised arts companies could work if they were transparent and mutually beneficial, he said.
"By working together, you can create something that otherwise might not happen," Mr Panter said.
He also proposed international seasons of two Belvoir Street productions directed by Neil Armfield: Toy Symphony with Richard Roxburgh, and Exit the King with Geoffrey Rush.