Story of Murdoch takes MTC overseas for first time in 30 years

For the first time in 30 years, the Melbourne Theatre Company are touring a production internationally.

Rupert MTCDavid Williamson’s play Rupert, the story of Rupert Murdoch will be the third play the flagship theatre company has taken abroad in its 60 year history, and rehearsals began for the work today in Melbourne.

The 8 hander play, directed by Griffin Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Lee Lewis, will be taken to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts World Stages: International Theater Festival next month and will be on stage in the Eisenhower Theater from Wednesday 12 – Saturday 15 March. This production, whose sell-out debut season played in Melbourne last August was seen by over 30,000 people.

Guy Edmonds and Sean O’Shea will play the younger and older versions of Rupert Murdoch while Marg Downey, Daniela Farinacci, Simon Gleeson, Bert LaBonté, HaiHa Le and Scott Sheridan play the host of powerful characters featured in the play including Margaret Thatcher, David Frost, Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, Tony Blair, Wendi Deng, Rebecca Brookes, Barry Diller and Roger Ailes.

MTC’s Artistic Director Brett Sheehy is proud to be bringing the story of Murdoch to Washington, and even more thrilled that it is the work of an Australian playwright.

“I am proud that Washington joins Melbourne as the only cities so far to tell the stage story of Melbourne’s most famous son, and I’m proud too that the subject of the play was tackled by another of Melbourne’s famous sons, David Williamson” he said.

“I still don’t know how to describe the mix of cabaret, drama, vaudeville and comedy that Rupert is, but I do know that its form and its characters will give American theatregoers an evening of theatre quite unlike any they’ve seen before.”

Sponsored by NewSat, The Australian Government through the Australia Council and the University of Melbourne, the tour will depart for the United States on 9 March.

MTC Executive Director Virginia Lovett says the company is honoured to be part of the festival in Washington. 

“Being asked to present a show like Rupert in America’s political heartland is a high altitude occasion in anyone’s language”, she said.  

“Although MTC has toured internationally just three times in its 60-year history, we are proud that on each occasion the company has taken the work of Australian playwrights.  We hope to share Australian stories with international theatregoers more often,” Ms Lovett said.

For more information on the World Stages International Theatre Festival visit 

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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