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Canberra Theatre Centre launches 2018 season

HerCanberra Team

2017 has been an epic year for Canberra Theatre Centre

With a stellar season that has brought us Ladies in Black1984, Talk, Orb and Crazy Horse Paris (with MAMMA MIA! still to come), Canberra Theatre Centre certainly faced a challenge in meeting (let alone raising) the bar for the 2018 season.

However, the team have managed to achieve just that, bringing an impressive array of shows that will please all kinds of Canberrans, from theatre newcomers to afficianados.

The Collective Works 2018 lineup is:


1_Masterclass with Amanda Muggleton_credit Richard De Chazal

Image credit: Richard De Chazal

The astonishing Amanda Muggleton IS the original diva. She creates fireworks on stage as the greatest dramatic soprano of her time – Maria Callas.

After a sensational career that saw her become the undisputed star of the world’s best Opera Houses, Maria Callas conducts a series of master classes to a select group of young vocal students at the Juilliard School in New York.

In Terrence McNally’s extraordinary theatrical tribute, Callas takes centre-stage one more time, as she passes on to her students, and to us, the experiences and lessons of a lifetime.

Andrew Kay & Associates

The Playhouse, 22 – 24 February

A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer

2_A Pacifists Guide To The War On Cancer. Image Courtesy_of_Malthouse_Theatre. Photo_Zan_Wimberley

Bryony Kimmings wants to talk about cancer but she’s not getting very far. Instead, she keeps hearing about battles, survivors, fun runs and new leases of life. What’s everyone so scared of?

Kimmings’ latest highly acclaimed collaboration with Complicité will blow everything the movies have taught you about cancer out of the water. This funny and moving show will look behind the poster campaigns and pink ribbons at the reality of cancer: newfound friendships, pain and death, mundane treatment cycles, hairlessness and scars… with songs.


The Playhouse, 28 Feb – 3 March

Oedipus Schmoedipus

Image credit: Ellis Parrinder

Image credit: Ellis Parrinder

Oedipus Schmoedipus takes dozens of the great theatre classics, picks out the death scenes, mixes them together and hands them back to the people. Created by Australia’s silliest and smartest performance makers, this is clever theatre with an outrageous sense of humour.

An ambitious epic and an intentionally impossible task, Oedipus Schmoedipus compiles all the death scenes ever written and will intertwine them with a Canberra cast of 25 volunteers. When it comes to engaging with communities, there’s nothing like it.

Post and Intimate Spectacle

The Playhouse, 14 March

Black is the New White

Image credit: Rene Vaile

Image credit: Rene Vaile

Love, politics and other things you shouldn’t talk about at dinner. At the centre of this production is Charlotte Gibson, a lawyer with a brilliant career ahead of her. But she has other ideas. First of all, it’s Christmas. Second of all, she’s in love.

The thing is, her fiancé, Francis Smith, is not what her family expected – he’s unemployed, he’s an experimental composer… and he’s white! Inviting him and his conservative parents to Christmas is a bold move that has all sorts of unintended consequences.

With a toe-tapping soundtrack and an array of brilliant, eccentric, loveable characters, this is a great night in the theatre and a thoroughly beguiling, very Australian story from award-winning playwright Nakkiah Lui.

Sydney Theatre Company

The Playhouse, 28 – 31 March

Antony & Cleopatra

Image credit: Pierre Toussaint

Image credit: Pierre Toussaint

The most famous couple that ever lived. Antony and Cleopatra.

In the ruthless, ever-expanding empire of Rome, Shakespeare creates an astonishing portrait of a love too great for the world.

Witness the insight and power of AFI and Logie winner Catherine McClements (Rake, The Time of our Lives) as she returns to Bell Shakespeare for one of the greatest roles ever written.

Bell Shakespeare

The Playhouse, 12 – 21 April

The Aspirations of Daise Morrow

Image credit: Tim Standing

Image credit: Tim Standing

Australia’s towering literary genius Patrick White had a well-documented love for the theatre. His language is pure performance and we tap into its power in Brink’s richly theatrical adaptation.

Actors, musicians and audience share the space in a circle of burnt earth beneath a canvas of Australian sky. The work shifts and swirls, drawing the audience into the immediacy of a strangely familiar world – the suburb of Barranugli – where the Whalley family are getting ready for a day at the dump, while next door the Hogbens prepare to bury the scandalous Daise Morrow.

Brutally funny, profound in its understanding of human nature, and filled with magic and wonder, the brilliance of White’s writing is tender in its humour, unforgiving and wise, accompanied with haunting music from Zephyr Quartet.

Brink Productions

The Playhouse 1 – 5 May

The Bleeding Tree

Image credit: Brett Boardman

Image credit: Brett Boardman

In a dirt-dry town in rural Australia, a shot shatters the still night. A mother and her daughters have just welcomed home the man of the house… with a bullet. The only issue now is disposing of the body. Will they get away with it? And do we want them to? The man was monstrous.

Triggered into thrilling motion by an act of revenge, The Bleeding Tree is an Australian murder ballad powerfully crafted for the stage, with three strong women fighting back. Throughout, Cerini’s writing is powerfully lyrical, bracingly funny and a highly original take on Australian gothic.

Griffin Theatre Company

The Playhouse, 8 – 12 May

Quiet Faith

Image credit: Heidrun Lohr

Image credit: Heidrun Lohr

Contemporary Christianity is far more complex than Fred Nile and Tony Abbott would like us to think. In a gentle exploration of faith, the words of everyday Christians are woven into this verbatim theatre work, their views taken from hours of interviews.

From award-winning documentary theatre maker David Williams (Smurf in Wanderland, Grace Under Pressure, The Table of Knowledge), comes a surprising journey into the world of the quietly, progressively faithful.

Quiet Faith offers a beautiful, immersive and heartfelt portrait of the different ways that faith can underpin civic life.

Alternative Facts

The Courtyard Studio, 15 – 18 May

Sense & Sensibility

Image credit: James Hartley

Image credit: James Hartley

Kate Hamill’s sparkling adaptation of Sense and Sensibility is Jane Austen on theatrical steroids. In the hands of the State Theatre Company Ensemble it will be a night at the theatre that you won’t want to miss.

Jane Austen’s masterpiece is a precision guided literary missile of wit and warmth. In playwright Kate Hamill she’s found her theatrical match as verve and invention is brought to bear on the Dashwood’s every move.

 State Theatre Company South Australia

The Playhouse, 29 May – 2 June

The Beginning of Nature

Image credit: Chris Herzfeld

Image credit: Chris Herzfeld

Weaving together live music and astonishingly powerful contemporary dance, The Beginning of Nature is a compelling work from the world-renowned Australian Dance Theatre.

The Beginning of Nature explores life cycles and themes of metamorphosis and transformation and the complex symphony of rhythmic patterns within nature – flocking and herding, day and night, the changing seasons, growth and decay, tidal patterns. This extraordinary work explores the integral forces that nature asserts over humankind despite our continued efforts to see ourselves as separate. The dance explores the idea that our bodies are inscribed with the same rhythms that underpin nature itself. 

Australian Dance Theatre

Canberra Theatre 14 – 15 June


Image credit: Dominic Northcott

Image credit: Dominic Northcott

Patricia Highsmith, the famous, and eccentric, author of The Talented Mr Ripley, and Carol is living in seclusion in Switzerland with just her books and antique guns for company. When she is visited by an eager and naive editor from her publishing house, who has been tasked with convincing her to write one last Ripley, a thrilling game begins.

Starring Canberra’s own Karen Vickery (Winner Best Actress in a Leading Role in the 2014 Canberra Area Theatre Awards) and Lachlan Ruffy (Channel 9’s Quartermaine) it’s a rollercoaster ride that will take you right to the edge.

Pigeonhole Theatre

The Courtyard Studio, 3 – 14 July

Dark Emu

12_Bangarra Dark Emu_credit Daniel Boud

Using a compelling mix of contemporary dance and uniquely Australian stories, Bangarra’s Dark Emu challenges long-held myths in the company’s distinctive style. In superb form after the sold-out 2017 production of Bennelong – widely acclaimed by critics and audiences alike – this latest work will nourish your spirit and connect you with Country.

Inspired by Bruce Pascoe’s award-winning book, which describes how our landscape was cultivated by Indigenous Australians long before European settlement, Dark Emu features dance stories directed by Stephen Page. Each one explores the vital life force that flora and fauna has played in its creation and redefines the narrative around the myth of the ‘hunter-gatherer’. 

Bangarra Dance Theatre

Canberra Theatre, 26 – 28 July

Calamity Jane

Image credit: John Mcrea

Image credit: John Mcrea

This whip-cracking, rollicking, rough-and-ready reimagining shucks off the buckskin and brings a barrelful of dirt and grit to the classic musical. Starring Virginia Gay (Channel 7’s All Saints and Winners & Losers) as the magnetic, masculine heroine, joined by a ragtag band of acclaimed comedic actors and musicians who share all the other roles.

Become immersed in the world of the Golden Garter Saloon and expect an unruly and unpredictable ride. In particular dozens of audience members seated onstage at saloon tables will be a part of the action when they least expect it!

One Eyed Man Productions and Neglected Musicals

The Playhouse, 15 – 19 August

ab [intra]

Image credit: Pedro Greig

Image credit: Pedro Greig

Explore the depth of human impulse with the world premiere of award winning choreographer Rafael Bonachela’s ab [intra], meaning ‘from within’ in Latin.

ab [intra] is Bonachela’s latest collaboration with composer Nick Wales and his first full-length work since the epic masterpieces 2 One Another and the critically acclaimed Project Rameau with ACO in 2012.

A dynamic work of exquisite athleticism, ab [intra] exposes the shared instincts that drive us apart and bring us back together.

Sydney Dance Company

Canberra Theatre, 30 August– 1 September

Madame Butterfly

Image credit: Georges Antoni

Image credit: Georges Antoni

A man enchanted by the beauty of the East. A woman in love with the promise of the West.

Separated by a vast ocean and many years, what will become of their love?

Puccini’s popular opera inspired the musical Miss Saigon and is filled with gorgeous music, from the lovers’ first rapturous embrace to the intense finale. It features the famous aria ‘One Fine Day’ and the Humming Chorus.

Opera Australia

Canberra Theatre, 6 – 8 September

The Season

Image credit: Simon Pynt

Image credit: Simon Pynt

Meet the Duncans, a mob as funny as they are unforgettable. Back home on Tassie’s Dog Island for birding season, and the threat of snakes and Pop’s explosive temper, the family reunites with a country and culture still very much alive.

But their long memories and smart-arse streak mean it’s not just the birds sticking their beaks where they’re not welcome. Old secrets are dug from their burrows and fledgling rivalries begin to take flight – it might all fall apart if it wasn’t for the fierce love that holds this bunch together.

Directed by Isaac Drandic and featuring a stellar cast including Tammy Anderson, Trevor Jamieson and Luke Carroll, this national tour of the original acclaimed production is a raucous and rowdy celebration of tradition and the bonds that unite us. 

Tasmania Performs and Performing Lines

The Playhouse, 13 – 15 September


Image credit: Darcy Grant

Image credit: Darcy Grant

Two blokes in an office: one an old rooster, one a young cockerel.

With a flash of bared teeth, and territorial disputes, Cockfight explores and questions the power play between men, the frailty of the ageing body and our culture’s desperate struggle for achievement.

Skilfully depicting a full-throttle mashup of extreme physical risk-taking, graceful movement and slow-mo fight sequences, this is a darkly humorous and surprisingly tender piece of dance theatre. 

The Farm

The Playhouse, 26 September

Julius Caesar

Image credit: Pierre Toussaint

Image credit: Pierre Toussaint

Julius Caesar is Shakespeare’s political thriller, a masterpiece of intrigue and treachery. Stand witness to the assassination that leads to a life and death struggle for power in the Republic. Citizens mutiny, Mark Antony schemes, and the fate of Rome hangs in the balance.

Experience the tension between aspiration and ambition, the triumphal entrances and brutal exits, as it is all laid on the line for Rome.

Bell Shakespeare

The Playhouse, 12 – 20 October

The Wharf Revue

Image credit: Rene Vaile

Image credit: Rene Vaile

Those indefatigable kings of comedy, sorcerers of satire and masters of mockery, Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsythe are back in the saddle and gearing up for another glorious year of political satire – the stage will be bigger and so will the laughs. We like to think of it as continuity with change.

So, politicians take cover, pundits stand back, and public servants melt away because there will be songs, there will be dance, and there will be some very funny impressions.

Join us as we sort the wets from the dries, the leaks from the fakes, and the factions from the fictions in this bigger, better and wharfier Revue than Canberra could ever handle.

Sydney Theatre Company

The Playhouse, 23 October – 3 November


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