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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sydney's Ensemble Thetare - New Artistic Director, New Season Schedule

Mark Kilmurry reveals first Ensemble season as solo artistic director

Mark Kilmurry has revealed an eclectic line-up of plays for his first season as the sole artistic director of Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre. After 30 years, artistic director Sandra Bates is retiring, leaving the company to Kilmurry, who was appointed her co-artistic director in 2011.
Ensemble’s audience mightn’t feel like anything has changed when the season kicks off with a new comedy by Ensemble mainstay David Williamson, Jack of Hearts. Directed by Williamson himself, it will be a star-studded production with Brooke Satchwell, Caroline Craig, and the Chaser’s Craig Reucassel and Chris Taylor (pictured above).
“It’s a good match and a good way of bringing different areas of entertainment together, and I really like that idea,” Kilmurry says.
The season also features a revival of Ensemble’s touring hit Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks with the company’s original cast Todd McKenney and Nancye Hayes. It will play a short season at the Chatswood Concourse theatre, a larger space than Ensemble’s Kirribilli theatre, which has been used by the company to extend in-demand seasons in recent years.
“I keep saying ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, which I think is right,” Kilmurry says. “At the same time, I’d like to explore developing the Ensemble into slightly different areas, especially with developments with other theatre companies, and just taking our product and see how we can expand and develop it into something a bit new without altering what we already do.”


There are the Sydney premieres of recent international critically-acclaimed hits: Nina Raine’s Tribes, James Graham’s A History of Falling Things and David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People. And in addition to new Australian plays The Big Dry and Jack of Hearts, the company is staging the Sydney premiere of playwright and journalist Jane Cafarella’s e-baby, starring Angie Milliken. The play, about surrogacy, had its world premiere at Melbourne’s Chapel off Chapel earlier this year to strong reviews.
In the mix are also several classics, including Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, Alan Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking and Harold Pinter’s Betrayal (below), which Kilmurry will direct.
He says that audiences don’t necessarily come to a Pinter play for a “fun night out”, but that they shouldn’t be too daunted by the playwright’s idiosyncrasies.
“He’s always thought of as being a stylised playwright, which of course he isn’t,” Kilmurry says. “His language is used in a particular way and fashion. When Pinter is done well, I think it’s relevant and you believe in the people speaking those lines .You don’t have to do anything with it. You don’t need to make it eerie or insert long pauses.”
Betrayal has a top-shelf cast with Guy Edmonds, Ursula Mills and Matthew Zeremes.


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