What a way to bow out: Armfield’s Finale


Company B Belvoir has launched their 2010 season – it is Neil Armfield’s last after 15 years as Artistic Director, and marks the Company’s 25th anniversary.

True to form, the selection of plays will take audiences on a journey across some of the best contemporary playwriting to emerge in Australia and internationally, as well as rediscovering some major classics.

The season kicks off with British playwright Polly Stenham’s celebrated debut That Face, and goes on to explore the work of Australian playwrights Tom Holloway, Tommy Murphy and Scott Rankin, as well as bringing the wit and satire of David Hare back to the Belvoir St stage. Benedict Andrews will present a challenging and contemporary view of Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure, and the year will climax with Neil Armfield’s swansong as Artistic Director of Company B – Diary Of A Madman starring Geoffrey Rush.

Armfield said: “I’m delighted with the 2010 season, one of our strongest in years. A great balance, I think, of new writing, thrilling directorial debuts and the best from the past – what a way to bow out!”

The season is :

6 February – 14 March 2010. Written by Polly Stenham. Directed by Lee Lewis
That Face follows two teenagers struggling to deal with their absent father and an alcoholic, manicdepressive mother. It deals with the age-old power struggle between parents and children with an unsettling combination of humour, cruelty, wisdom and insolence. It was written by British playwright Polly Stenham when she was just 19 and premiered at London’s Royal Court to great critical acclaim.

A co-production with Griffin Theatre Company and ThinIce
18 March – 11 April 2010. Written by Tom Holloway. Directed by Matthew Lutton
Set in an Australian backyard, Love Me Tender is a tragedy about leadership and sacrifice that sees five actors teasing out the story of a father and daughter.

17 April – 30 May 2010. Written by David Hare. Directed by Sam Strong
Following on from Stuff Happens and GethsemaneThe Power Of Yes crowns a Company B/David Hare trilogy about the power players of the new millennium. The Power Of Yes puts the giants of finance on stage in their own words, to look for where it all went wrong. Featuring Rhys Muldoon and Luke Mullins in the cast, Company B’s Literary Associate Sam Strong makes his mainstage directing debut with this terrifying and funny account of the global financial crisis.

5 June – 25 July 2010. Written by William Shakespeare. Directed by Benedict Andrews
Measure for Measure is Shakespeare’s great dark comedy about the interplay between sex, power and justice. Following their success with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Benedict Andrews reunites with actress Robin McLeavy to present a visceral and confronting production of this great play.

31 July – 19 September 2010. Written by Tommy Murphy. Directed by Neil Armfield
90-year old Gwen is in the process of settling her affairs before she dies. She has sold the family home to move into a brand new house on the edge of an estate in Queanbeyan, surrounded by technology she’s struggling to make sense of – air conditioners, microwaves, cordless phones and automatic doors.

25 September – 7 November 2010. Written by Scott Rankin. Co-directed by Wayne Blair and Scott Rankin.
Company B Belvoir and Big hART team up to tell the story of Indigenous watercolourist Albert Namatjira, played by Trevor Jamieson. It follows his life from his birth in the desert to the height of his fame, and traces his struggle to bridge Black and White Australia.

4 – 23 December 2010
Written by Nikolai Gogol. Directed by Neil Armfield. Starring Geoffrey Rush
Geoffrey Rush returns to his theatrical home to revive his landmark 1989 collaboration with Neil Armfield: Gogol’s comic masterpieceDiary Of A Madman. Rush brings to life the diaries of Poprishin – a low-ranking Russian civil servant – as he descends into insanity driven by his unrequited love for a beautiful woman he’s never spoken to. Diary Of A Madman is Neil’s parting feast of laughter, rage, sadness,
loss, love, joy and hope. This production, which toured Australia and to Russia in the early 1990’s, will have a set designed by Catherine Martin, costumes by Tess Schofield and live music by Alan John.

In addition, Company B will present The End at the Downstairs Theatre, and The Sapphires at the York Theatre.

Erin James

Erin James is AussieTheatre.com'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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