When I sat down to write a note for our season book at this time last year, I really had no idea what lay ahead of us. To tell the truth we were making it up as we went along – programming the season by gut instinct, bluffing our way through. Now, as I write, we have just passed the halfway point in that first season. Already six shows have come and gone, and two more are currently playing. I cannot tell you how pleasurable it is to see a production come to life, to watch something that began as an idea in the mind of a playwright or a director be played out by living breathing people on one of our stages.
But it is also sad; theatre is the most ephemeral of art forms, and those six shows are now just memories living in the minds of those of us who were lucky enough to see them. I’ll never forget Ewen Leslie’s devastating realisation that Hedvig is not his natural daughter in Simon Stone’s beautiful The Wild Duck. Or Emily Barclay’s breakfast of vodka and cornflakes in Benedict Andrews’ The Seagull. Or Robyn Nevin’s extraordinary embodiment of Ana in Lally Katz’s touching and original Neighbourhood Watch. But unlike a great film or a beautiful painting there is no way of revisiting those moments. They were the fleeting confluence of those particular actors on that particular stage saying those particular lines at that particular time. Like life, theatre must be enjoyed in the moment, because there is no going back.
I’m enormously pleased that audiences have responded so enthusiastically to the 2011 Season so far. Several of our shows virtually sold out to subscribers before they went on sale to the general public, and others just after they had opened. Hopefully you’ll all like our 2012 Season just as much. If so, buying a subscription may be the only way to guarantee that you’ll get a chance to see our shows.
So, to 2012. We’ve kept our recipe intact: a mix of new plays by exciting local playwrights and classic plays re-imagined by the best and most original directors we could find. I’m excited about each and every one of the 14 projects. Programming a season is a ruthless process: we gather ideas and dreams from dozens of the country’s finest theatre-makers and then begin the painful process of culling that list down to fit into the time and space that we have in the year. Some beautiful ideas end up on the cutting room floor, but what remains, the season we present to you here in this book, are the most thrilling, the most original, and the most exciting projects that we could find. All bundled up into a delicious season, just for your dining pleasure.
See you at the theatre, I hope.
PS. I must add one thank you: led by my partner-in-crime General Manager Brenna Hobson is the most dedicated, passionate and hardworking team imaginable. You may not see them on stage, but what you do see certainly would never happen without them. Thanks, team.