Black Swan State Theatre Company unveils 2019 program

Ian Michael in Our Town.
Ian Michael in Our Town.

BLACK Swan State Theatre Company artistic director Clare Watson has programmed a 2019 season of theatre that is full of big ideas, speaks to who we are and who we want to be.

Launched at Heath Ledger Theatre last night, and streamed live on Facebook, the 2019 season ‘Where The Heart Is’ is about family and belonging.

“As the house on the hill over in Canberra has been in complete disarray, we invite you into our house,” Watson said.

“There is always a place at our table for you.”

The first production of 2019, Our Town, will be presented in the State Theatre Centre courtyard, under the stars as part of Perth Festival.

Our Town is the most produced play in America and one of my personal, all-time favourites,” she said.

“It takes us through the daily lives of residents of the small town of Grover’s Corner.

“We’re giving this production of Our Town a particularly local flavour where three sensational actors will be joined by a community of citizens. We’ll have a member of the WA Police Force playing a policeman, a funeral director playing a funeral director and a soldier playing a soldier.”

You Know We Belong Together is back by popular demand in March following a sold-out season this year at Perth Festival.

The tell-all production starring Julia Hales follows her life living with Down syndrome and her 20-year acting career with a dream to be on Home and Away.

May brings Jane Bodie’s new play Water, which could not be more timely given Australia’s current political climate.

“When we select a play for you, we know it’s important and pertinent, but none of us could have predicted just how topical this play would be this week,” Watson said.

“In Water the father was a Prime Minister and he was responsible for stopping the boats. We meet them at their family holiday house for a birthday party. They are in drought, there are no birds in the sky and the sins of the past are about to come home to roost.”

The Torrents will be presented in June as a co-production between BSSTC and Sydney Theatre Company starring a funny cast including Celia Pacquola, before it transfers for a season at Sydney Opera House.

The 1955 play by Oriel Gray was a joint prize winner with Summer of the Seventeenth Doll which went on to have much more success.

“Why? Was it because the playwright was a woman or could it be because she was a member of the Communist Party?” Watson said.

Medea will run in August, written by Kate Mulvany and Anne-Louise Sarks who have taken inspiration from the Euripides famous Greek tragedy and brought it to present day.

Contemporary Australian writer Nakkiah Lui’s Black is the New White will be presented in September, deemed by Watson as “a play that will be a classic in years to come”.

“It’s hilarious and about an Indigenous family who get together for a Christmas party and one of the daughters brings home her boyfriend to join the festivities, the only problem is, he’s white,” she said.

“This is Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner meets Meet the Fockers.”

Finishing the year in October is Barking Gecko co-production Fully Sikh by slam poet Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa who performed on Australia’s Got Talent and reflects on how she got there.

“She grew up in the suburbs of Perth in a Sikh household,” Watson said.

“We learn about her culture, her faith and her family. She invites us to be part of her world that is more tolerant and full of colour.”

BSSTC chair Nicola Forrest commended Clare Watson after her first year as artistic director and paid tribute to State Theatre Centre WA award-winning architect Kerry Hill who had died on the weekend.