Performing arts companies unveil a scintillating 2018 season

Just as all the seasonal markers of spring begin to emerge, a swathe of Australian performing arts companies launch their 2018 programs, carrying the promise of hundreds of captivating stories with a cast of remarkable characters, each offering an intriguing perspective on the world.


Performing arts companies unveil a scintillating 2018 season


Bell Shakespeare reveals two shows for 2018. Shakespeare's astonishing portrait of loveAntony and Cleopatraexplored by Artistic Director, Peter Evans and Molière’s glorious satire of polite societyThe Misanthrope,a co-production with Griffin Theatre while six of our theatre companies have now launched their full season.

Melbourne Theatre Company, has unveiled 13 productions that will inspire, entertain and challenge in equal measure. Among the highlights — Gina Riley and William McInnes lead an all-star cast in Oscar Wilde’s effervescent society drama,An Ideal Husband, directed by Dean Bryant. To close MTC’s 2018 Season, stage and screen luminary Geoffrey Rush reunites with director Simon Phillips to star as Malvolio in Shakespeare’s exquisite comedy,Twelfth Night.

Six new Australian stories and four world premieres headlineQueensland Theatre's 2018 season. The plays traverse centuries of time, the breadth of our country, the expanse of the globe, and the inner workings of diverse and brilliant minds. The rich and diverse program includes the much anticipatedTwelfth Night, including a suite of new original songs by maestro Tim Finn, and the world premiere of acclaimed playwright David Williamson’sNearer the Gods, with Matthew Backer, William McInnes and Rhys Muldoon.

2018 will mark the State Theatre Company of South Australia’s most ambitious program yet, with two additional productions, its highest number of commissioned works, and four premieres in South Australia. Ones to watch include Justin Monjo and Richard Roxburgh’s stage adaptation of Tim Winton’s That Eye; The Sky directed by Kate Champion;Faith Healer, which will see Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Judy Davis directing her husband Colin Friels; andThe Gods Of Strangers, a new large-scale dramatic work drawing on the stories of two of SA’s migrant communities in a regional centre. The Company is also embarking on its largest ever state-wide touring program taking productions to 14 venues across South Australia.

Belvoir's 2018 season boldly attempts to reconcile and reframe the unfathomable state of the world with a joyous celebration of the human spirit. Kicking off the season in partnership with the Sydney Festival, will be the return of Jimi Bani (Title and Deed, ABC’s Mabo) in My Name is Jimi, a Queensland Theatre production with music, dance and stand-up storytelling. Judy Davis recruits an electrifying cast – Colin Friels, Pamela Rabe and Toby Schmitz – forThe Dance of Death. Kate Mulvany tackles a timely classic in An Enemy of the People, the premiere ofThe Sugar House, a story of Sydney- work and corruption, family and massive social changeby award-winning Australian playwright Alana Valentine. Together with Malthouse, Belvoir will present an adaptation of Peter Carey’s debut novelBliss.

Malthouse Theatre’s Season 2018 will present a series of epic confessions, hilariously mad entanglements and beautiful consequences, includingBlackie Blackie Brown, a superhero comic book spectacle by Nakkiah Lui; the world premiere ofTrustees by Belarusian ‘enemies of the state’ Belarus Free Theatre; a reimagined stage play based on Lars von Trier’s epic cinematic masterpieceMelancholia by ground-breaking playwright Declan Greene; and the unflinching revival of UK playwright Sarah Kane’s controversial playBlasted.

Black Swan State Theatre Company’s 2018 Season entitled, The Conversations, is staged across four pairings of plays that probe the deeper questions of existence at a time of global uncertainty. FromThe Events – a sleeper hit of the 2013 Edinburgh Festival starring one of Australia’s foremost actresses Catherine McClements– toSky Lab – a world premiere of a sci-fi comedy created in partnership with Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, the program sees Black Swan State Theatre Company build on its enviable reputation of world-class theatre made in WA.


Dramatic stories continue withOpera Australia unleashing one of its most inspired and innovative programs to date when it returns to its Sydney home in the Joan Sutherland Theatre in 2018. The company will present grand operas and intimate, contemporary work, and play host to some of the most outstanding artists of our time singing roles they have made their own around the world. These artists include Leo Nucci and Ferruccio Furlanetto who bring their celebrated interpretations ofRigoletto andDon Quichotte to Australia for the first time, and sopranos Nicole Car, Danielle de Niese and Jessica Pratt. Director Barrie Kosky’s production of Shostakovich’sThe Nose will be a highlight of Sydney’s summer season, while Puccini’s much-loved La Bohème is expected to draw huge crowds as the 2018 Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour.

Opera Queensland's,out going Artistic Director Lindy Hume has unveiled her final program before she hands the reins to Patrick Nolan in November 2017.The season includes two mainstage Brisbane productions – an old-school Hollywood glamour take on Franz Lehár’sThe Merry Widowstarring much-loved Australian tenor David Hobson and effervescent soprano Natalie Christie Peluso, and Mozart’sDon Giovanni,featuring rising international star Duncan Rock. The 2018 season will also reveal a new collaboration with QAGOMA; an exclusive project with Brisbane Festival and an epic regional tour offering everyday Queenslanders the opportunity to perform in an opera.


Queensland Ballet plan to energise and challenge their dancers as much as they will entertain and thrill audiences in the year ahead.La Bayadèrewill open in March, followed by a powerful double-bill of works from two of ballet’s most remarkable creative artists Carlos Acosta’sCarmen, and Liam Scarlett’sFirebird. Back by popular demand, Ben Stevenson’sCinderella, and a bold newBespoke in collaboration with Expressions Dance Company and guest choreographers. Ben Stevenson’s acclaimed production ofSwan Lake will tour regional Queensland and later in the year QB heads to Melbourne with Liam Scarlett’s whimsical ballet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


Musica Viva’s 2018 International Concert Season glitters with dazzling talent and unexpected gems, with an exceptional quality of both performance and repertoire. Superstars of the Baroque,Tafelmusik, deliver an incredible theatrical expedition inBach and His World, legendary German clarinettist Sabine Meyer makes a surprising appearance in the company of the remarkable Alliage Quintett for a program of orchestral favourites especially arranged for this unusual ensemble. A leading virtuoso fêted the world over, violinist Ray Chen undertakes his second national tour for Musica Viva with pianist Julien Quentin.

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s 2018 Season Tales of Baroque presents six programs, each revealing a story, a baroque or medieval tale, and a link from past to present to connect, intrigue and inspire. The international cast includes a French classical harpist, an explosive Italian violinist, a Cuban viola da gamba player, a French 'medieval world folk' ensemble and of course, the delicious Brandenburg Orchestra and Choir, promising lavish, multisensory experiences for music lovers.

Marking theWest Australian Symphony Orchestra's 90th year, the 2018 program features 75 dazzling performances, from superstar soloists to emerging new talents, from the greatest repertoire of all time to world premieres. The centrepiece of WASO’s 90th anniversary celebrations will be two performances of Richard Wagner’s ground-breaking opera Tristan und Isolde. These concerts will be conducted by Principal Conductor Asher Fisch, one of today’s supreme Wagner interpreters, and feature the finest cast ever assembled in Australia, including heldentenor Stuart Skelton and soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek.

With Principal Conductor Nicholas Carter at the helm, theAdelaide Symphony Orchestraplans to broaden their horizons and explore new territories in 2018. As the start of a new Adelaide tradition, the orchestra begins their year by bringing in the Year of the Dog with a concert of popular masterworks and traditional Chinese favourites performed by artists direct from China: Muhai Tang, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Tianjin Opera and Orchestra, and Artistic Director of the Shanghai Philharmonic and Zhenjiang Symphony Orchestras. The year ahead also features Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No 3, the Organ Symphony, –alongside Leonard Bernstein’s violin concerto, Serenade, after Plato’s Symposium— one of several works across the season celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the composer’s birth. Among the more contemporary highlights, ASO is presenting a tribute to the music of George Michael, as well as events celebrating the musical scores ofStar Wars,Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Beatles and Studio 54.