The company’s announced a bumper, big-name season of largely internationally-proven hits. It looks set to be a lucrative year but the STC’s hardly going out on a limb to support the locals.
There are only two new Australian plays on the roster, one that Hoffman’s set to direct and another by Michael Cove, Troupers. The STC’s also picked two time-tested Aussie works: David Williamson’s Don’s Party and Patrick White’s The Season at Sarsaparilla – hardly risque fare there.
Nonetheless, it’s tough not to be excited by Hoffman and Blanchett’s upcoming projects, especially compared to the Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2007 season of classics. Announcing next year’s season last night, STC artistic director Robyn Nevin said Hoffman didn’t need any persuading.
"He just wanted to come and do a project in Sydney. He has wanted to come for a long time. You have to realise people are very excited about Sydney, they really want to come and work here."
He was apparently also keen on working with Blanchett’s hubby, Andrew Upton, whose play, Riflemind, Hoffman is set to direct. Hugo Weaving is slated to star in the story of a fomer supergroup battling with the prospect of a comeback.
In her second stab at directing, Blanchett will take on a controversial play by Scot David Harrower that wowed audiences at the Edinburgh Festival last year.
The award-winning play, Blackbird, is about the reunion of a man and a woman 15 years after their affair when he was 40 and she was just 12.
The STC will take on another controversial production, American author Don DeLillo’s Love-Lies-Bleeding and Stephen Jeffreys’ The Art of War, to be directed by the acclaimed co-founder of the Theatre de Complicite company, Annabel Arden.
A bonkers British hit set in an asylum and in Spike Milligan’s mind, Roy Smiles’s Ying Tong: A Walk with the Goons, is set to be a success, and it seems no theatre program can be without a Shakespeare – this year, it’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream… again.
Should the STC take more risks or is its program of crowd-pleasers and big names what Sydney’s little theatre culture needs? Tell us what you think.
If you need some inspiration, check out the SMH’s theatre blog for a lively blogging debate about the company’s direction.