Sydney theater company kicks off 2023 season with 16 productions showcasing Australian drama

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Sydney Theater Company Artistic director Kip Williams has announced a full 16-production season for 2023 which he says will “see the company operating at full steam and deliver an incredible range of theatrical experiences”.

The 2023 season will champion new Australian writing, with ten plays written by Australian playwrights and six world premieres of new Australian works. It will also preview some of the best new international offerings, with the Australian premiere of two incredible overseas writings, plus some classics and the return of an audience favourite: The Picture of Dorian Grey.

“As an art form, theater has the singular ability to combine intimate connection with far-reaching, and in 2023 we are escaping to distant places and traveling deep into the human experience,” Williams said.

“I wanted to curate a season of stories that would take audiences to new environments and experiences outside of themselves, that would show them something new, or allow them to identify with or empathize with an experience beyond of themselves – whether on an expedition to Antarctica, to China at the turn of the 20th century, to the shores of Gadigal Land in January 1788, to the heart of Parliament ten years ago. also wanted to create a season that would feature the most incredible acts in live performance, from some of Australia’s best actors.”

Strong points:

  • Sixteen pieces in total, including ten works by Australian writers, six world premieres of new Australian writing and four STC commissions
  • Two commissions from STC Patrick White Fellowships: an adaptation of Nevil Shute’s On the beach by Tommy Murphy (STC Commission, 2015 Patrick White Fellow) will be led by Kip Williams and; Anchuli Felicia King (Patrick White Fellow 2019) adapted The Poison of Polygamy by Wong Shee Ping – the very first Australian novel by a Sino-Australian author when it was published in 1910 – which will be directed by the former Richard Wherret Comrade Courtney Stewart
  • STC orders for the world premiere of Julia by Joanna Murray Smitha play about the life of Australia’s first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, with Justine Clark and directed by Sarah Goodes and; the world premiere of an adaptation of Chekhov The Seagull by the former artistic director of STC Andrew Upton with Sigrid Thornton
  • From former Patrick White Award winner Lewis Treston and featured as part of Sydney World Pride – hubris and humiliation – which has undergone development under STC’s Rough Draft program in 2021
  • After winning the Patrick White Playwright Award in 2006, Patricia Corneliusdon’t be nice will make its STC stage premiere with an all-star cast including John Bell, Peter Carroll and John Gaden – who have been mainstays of the theater scene for decades and will be performing together for the first time – with vanessa downing and Brigid Zengeni, led by STC Associate Director Paige Rattray
  • World premiere of the stage adaptation of Australian author Pip Williams’ bestselling novel The dictionary of lost wordsadapted by Verity Laughton and co-produced by State Theater Company South Australia
  • In a co-production between STC and Moogahlin Performing Arts, a new production by Jane Harrison Visitors directed by Wesley Enoch as part of the Sydney Opera House’s 50th anniversary celebrations
  • The best in international contemporary playwriting, including: award-winning American playwright Aleshea Harris‘burst Is Godco-directed by Zindzi Okenyo and Shari Sebbens, Resident Director of STC; Richard Wherret Fellow, Ian Michael’s debut directing STC with Nick Payneit is Constellations with Catherine Văn-Davies and; Ella Hickson’s Time Saga Oilwith Brooke Satchwell (The Twelve) in her STC debut
  • The Australian premiere of August Wilsonit is Fences directed by STC Resident Director Shari Sebbens and featuring returning duo Bert LaBonté and Zahra Newman
  • Claudia Karvan (Bump) and Don Hany (Offspring) in Edward Albeeit is The Goat or Who is Sylvia?a co-production with State Theater Company South Australia
  • Helen Thomson returns to the STC stage in Oscar Wildeit’s hilarious The importance of being seriousdirected by Sarah Giles
  • Another season of encores of STC’s film theater success, Dorian Gray’s photoadapted and directed by STC Art Director Kip Williams
  • A special offer for the Easter school holidays: Roald Dahlit is Fantastic Mr Fox adapted for the stage by award-winning producers Shak & Stir Theater Co

Williams says the 2023 season will begin on an “outrageously funny and bombastic” note with former STC Patrick White Playwrights Award winner Lewis Treston’s Hubris & Humiliation. Presented as part of Sydney World Pride, this modern tribute to Jane Austen will stage a hilarious critique of the institution of marriage and poke fun at contemporary values ​​around money, property and class.

This will be followed by performances by two of the country’s biggest actors – Claudia Karvan (Bump) and Don Hany (Offspring) – in Edward Albeeis electric La Chèvre or Qui est Sylvia?. Realized by Michael Butel and co-produced by the State Theater Company South Australia, it is a provocative and funny play which, according to Williams, “examines societal taboos and asks questions about love, sex and what is allowed” .

After the first Australian maintenance of Lorraine Hansberryfrom A Raisin in the Sun in 2022, Bert LaBonté and Zahra Newman will return to perform in August Wilson‘s Fences – another iconic African-American work that has yet to see the Australian main stage – under the direction of STC Resident Manager Shari Sebbens.

A historical quintet will play in Patricia Cornelius‘Do Not Go Gentle: John Bell, Peter Carroll, vanessa downing, John Gaden and Brigitte Zengeni; and Justine Clark will give a theatrical entry into the life of our first female Prime Minister in Julia, written by an award-winning playwright Joanna Murray Smith and co-produced by the Canberra Theater Centre.

Former STC Playwrights Fellow Patrick White Anchuli Felicia King (White Pearl) returns with a stage adaptation of the very first Sino-Australian novel The Poison of Polygamy, a co-production with La Boite Theater and STC Richard Wherret His companion Ian Michael will make his directorial debut with Nick Payne‘s Constellations with Devon Terrell (Barry) and Catherine Văn-Davies (Playing Beatie Bow).

Following their critically acclaimed collaboration on No Pay? Certainly not! in 2020, the powerful duo of Helen Thomson and Sarah Giles return for Oscar Wildefrom The Importance of Being Earnest, and Sigrid Thornton will also be back in a new adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull by the former artistic director of STC Andrew Upton.

Pip Williams’ best-selling novel The Dictionary of Lost Words has been adapted for the stage by South Australian playwright Verity Laughton in a co-production with State Theater Company South Australia, and Jane Harrison’s recently updated The Visitors , will have a new production as part of the Sydney Opera House’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Brooke Satchwell (The Twelve) will make her STC debut in Ella Hickson’s epic Oil, directed by STC Associate Director Paige Rattray, the Melbourne Theater Company will co-produce a production of Aleshea Harris‘ Is God Is, and Eryn Jean Norvill will return for a limited encore season of her “tour de force” performance in Kip Williams’ adaptation of Oscar Wildeis The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Former Patrick White Playwrights Fellow Tommy Murphy wrote an adaptation of Nevil Shute’s On the Beach, which will be directed by Kip Williams, and the last of our pandemic-postponed productions – shake & stir’s Fantastic Mr Fox – will finally see the stage at the Roslyn Packer Theater during the April school holidays.

The remaining shows of STC’s 2022 season – the Australian premiere of Lorraine Hansberryit is A raisin in the sunSigrid Thornton’s STC debut in Broadway hit The lifetime of a factAngela Betzien’s teacher’s room comedy chalk faceby Susie Miller RBG: Many, one performed by Heather Mitchell and william shakespeareit is Storm directed by Richard Roxburgh — are already on stage or are due to open in the coming weeks.

Check out STC’s 2023 season and ticket information at

Marjorie N. McClure