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14 November

14 November

Sounds of Musical Theatre

Belvoir has announced the first part of its 2021 season, running from January until the beginning of September. It includes three new Australian plays by Michelle Law, Nathan Maynard and Sally Sara, the return of A Room of Ones Own and the musical Fangirls, as well as a production of The Cherry Orchard. Artistic Director Eamon Flack says that the program was only finalised about a month ago: We went down so many paths.

As long as COVID is around were just not making any assumptions. We know could come back at any time. But having said that, we think its really crucial that we dont get small-minded right now, that we dont start thinking small.

I think that Belvoir must remain a company of ambition, no matter what. Naturally, with reduced seating capacity due to COVID restrictions, there had to be some adjustments to the budget. But Flack says that they have not reduced cast sizes in fact they have increased the cast size for Fangirls.

We dont want to hire fewer artists we want to hire as many artists as we possibly can, otherwise, why do we exist? So thats not where were making our savings, were keeping our cast sizes as large as we possibly can. The Cherry Orchard is an 11-hander, thats big for us. FANGIRLS The season opens at the end of January with the return of Yve Blakes musical Fangirls, which had its world premiere at Queensland Theatre followed by a sold out season at Belvoir in 2019.

The show returns to Belvoir as part of a national tour, having won Best Production of a Mainstage Musical at the Sydney Theatre Awards and Best Musical or Cabaret at the Queensland Matilda Awards. Bringing it back was a no brainer, says Flack. The cast will be bigger than when the show premiered.

We wanted more bodies on stage. Dance routines are always better when theres more bodies, says Flack. Directed by Paige Rattray, the cast will include Karis Oka (who replaces Yve Blake), Chika Ikgowe, Shubshri Kandiah, Ayesha Madon and James Majoos.

Fangirls: 30 January 20 February STOP GIRL In March/April, Belvoir premieres a new play by Walkley Award-winning ABC foreign correspondent Sally Sara. Sally is a great theatre lover. She brought the play to us a couple of years ago, and weve been just working with her on it.

Shes one of our great journos, so she knows what a story is, and she knows what details are tell that story. Shes a natural playwright, says Flack. It begins overseas, but its really about what normal life means, and when youve been ripped apart from it and life been turned upside down, how you get back to that.

Its a question not just for people who have experienced trauma in war zones, its a question for people whove had to leave their country, its a question for people who have been through small traumas inside normal life, so its very beautiful, I think, a kind of portrait of how people help get each other through in life here. Its a good play for COVID in that sense. Directed by Anne-Louise Sarks, the cast includes Sheridan Harbridge.

Stop Girl: 20 March 25 April A ROOM OF ONES OWN Anita Hegh reprises her role in a return season of A Room of Ones Own, adapted by Carissa Licciardello and Tom Wright from Virginia Wrights text. The play, which also includes actor Ella Prince, was the first production Belvoir staged post-COVID and quickly sold out, with so many people waiting for tickets that a return season was an obvious choice. A Room of Ones Own: 6 23 May THE CHERRY ORCHARD In May/June, Flack directs a production of Chekhovs great, last play.

An ambitious undertaking given the size of the cast, the themes in the play, which centre around change, make it incredibly timely. The cast will include Nadie Kammallaweera, Pamela Rabe and Keith Robinson. The Cherry Orchard: 29 May 27 June MISS PEONY Michelle Laws new play Miss Peony was programmed for 2020 but had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, so it has been rescheduled for 2021.

Law wrote the smash hit Single Asian Female. Her new play is described as a glitzy, glamorous and slightly unhinged comedy about a Chinese-Australian beauty pageant, the competitive advice of a ghostly grandmother and being caught between two generations and two cultures. The cast includes Michelle Law herself, as well as Mabel Li and Shirong Wu.

AT WHAT COST? The first part of the 2021 season ends with Nathan Maynards new play At What Cost? Maynard, who wrote the play The Season and was the winner of the 2019 Balnaves Fellowship, is a Trawlwoolway, Pakana man from Lutrawita/Tasmania. At What Cost? is set in Tasmania and centres on a man called Dan, who has enough on his plate between a young family and managing his responsibilities to land and people. But every year more and more folk are claiming to be Palawa.

Folk no ones heard of until now. Are they legit? Who decides? And how? Isaac Drandic will direct. At What Cost? 7 August 5 September Flack will announce the programming for the rest of the year when the time is right.

Were watching and learning, like everyone is, were not going to rush, he says. This season gets us through to the start of September so its most of the year. So we wont hurry.

Thats just going to be the way of the future for now, isnt it. .

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