All-star cast for mainstage debut of Patricia Cornelius’ Do Not Go Gentle

An all-star cast featuring Peter Carroll, Vanessa Downing, John Gaden, Philip Quast and Brigid Zengeni will bring to life the long-overdue mainstage debut of Patricia Cornelius’ Do Not Go Gentle directed by STC’s Paige Rattray (Death of a Salesman, Triple X) at Roslyn Packer Theatre this May.

Borrowing its title from the affecting Dylan Thomas poem, Do Not Go Gentle uses Robert Scott’s historic attempt to reach the South Pole as a metaphor for the fleeting and precious nature of life. A poetic and moving story of resilience, Cornelius’ Do Not Go Gentle won STC’s Patrick White Playwrights Award in 2006.


This is an apt time for the show to be produced, given the stories about the treatment of our elderly citizens in recent years.

This production is most timely having endured a cruel and miserable pandemic which revealed the vulnerability of our aged,” “I loved writing within the perfect metaphor of the famous Scott expedition. I loved writing a work that squares off against the stigma of ageing, that gives ageing well-earned consideration and is both playful and portentous. I’m sure that under the direction of Paige Rattray and her team, and with such a magnificent cast, the production will soar.

Paige Rattray, who is also STC’s Director of New Work and Artistic Development:

She has always admired Patricia Cornelius but has never had the chance to work with her until now.

The first Australian play I ever worked on was as an Assistant Stage Manager for Patricia’s Love in my first year of University. I’ve been a massive fan of hers since then and the fact that I am now working with her is a dream come true

Patricia’s voice and examination of class, in particular the working class, is one that I had not experienced or associated with theatre before. My limited access to theatre at an early age centred around Shakespeare and well-known musicals. Very early on in my career her work made me feel like I could have a place in the theatrical landscape – whatever that was or could be.

it will be a “masterclass” to work with the incredible cast.

The lived experience and knowledge in that room is incredible. I know I will come out of this a changed person – let alone a changed director.

STC has today announced that Philip Quast (Waiting for Godot, Death of a Salesman) and opera singer Marilyn Richardson (in her STC debut) have joined the cast, and will take the stage alongside Peter Carroll (The Tempest), Vanessa Downing (Grand Horizons), John Gaden (Saint Joan), and Brigid Zengeni (Blithe Spirit). John Bell was initially cast in the production but has since withdrawn due to injury.

The creative team bringing this modern Australian classic to the mainstage for the first time includes designer Charles Davis (No Pay? No Way!), lighting designer Paul Jackson (The Lifespan of a Fact), composer/sound designer James Brown (Home, I’m Darling) and assistant director Bruce Spence (Death of a Salesman).


Audiences will be moved by Do Not Go Gentle’s poetic examination of death, imagination and the precious nature of life.

When we were programming this production, it felt so vital because so many of our elderly people had been so isolated, especially during the successive lockdowns.

Working on this show has re-energised my love of life. Quite often people speak about the light at the end of the tunnel when talking of death, but this play inspires me to think that the light is actually your life. It’s your greatest achievement, it’s not what comes before or after – it’s what we have right now that matters most.

Season Details

Venue: Roslyn Packer Theatre
Date: 23 May – 17 June 2023

For more information click HERE

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