After a shaky two years, with myriad cancelled performances, millions in lost box-office takings and constantly rescheduled performances, Sydney Theatre Company (STC) has announced the triumphant first act of its 2022 season. Its first six shows of the year include performances rescheduled due to cancellations during Sydney’s lockdown, as well as a handful of new shows.
It’ll kick off with Triple X, which was originally scheduled for both the 2020 and 2021 seasons but cancelled due to lockdowns. The semi-autobiographical love story was written by playwright and trans performer Glace Chase, and follows a Wall Street banker who’s about to marry his fiancée – but has a secret relationship with a trans drag artist (Chase).
“It’s the first trans love story on the Australian mainstage, which is something we’re very proud of, and a piece of writing that’s one of the best-crafted new plays thatcs come across my desk,” STC creative director Kip Williams told Broadsheet’s Jane Albert in March.
That groundbreaking work is set to be followed by an extraordinary collaboration with Bangarra Dance Theatre, Wudjang: Not the Past, as part of Sydney Festival. Featuring 17 dancers, four musicians and five actors, it will be multi-dimensional, with poetry, live music, dance and spoken word in Mibinyah language from choreographer and director Stephen Page’s home on Yugambeh Country.
Next up is Grand Horizons, starring Australian stage icons John Bell and Linda Cropper as a couple in their seventies who end a 50-year marriage to explore their sexuality. It began its run earlier this year, but the season was cut short due to Sydney’s Delta outbreak. In March, Williams described it as “a very funny piece but quite radical in the way it looks at romance and sexuality in people who we don’t typically consider to be romantic”.
STC’s 2019 Patrick White Playwrights Fellow Anchuli Felicia King’s work White Pearl will head to the Wharf theatre. This satire of toxic workplaces explores racism within the beauty industry. And drag superstar Courtney Act makes her STC debut in Noël Coward’s farce Blithe Spirit. In this camp romp, a novelist enlists a medium to conduct a séance in the hopes of contacting his deceased first wife – but ends up with much more than he expected.
And finally, the sell-out, one-person adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray makes its triumphant return. Eryn Jean Norvill performs all 26 characters in this smash-hit; its 2020 season was extended twice, and it was set to begin again in July of this year before stay-at-home orders kicked in.
“In putting together the 2022 season, I wanted Act One to be a theatrical treat to unleash some much-needed joy after the year we’ve had,” said Williams in a statement. “It’s time for our city to start a new chapter, and what better way to do so than together in the theatre.”
STC’s 2021 season restarts on November 15 with Julius Caesar, and will wrap up with Death of a Salesman from December 6 to 23.
Sydney Theatre Company’s 2022 Act One begins with Triple X on January 11. Ticket packages go on sale on November 19. Single tickets for Triple X and Wudjang: Not the Past are on sale from November 29. And tickets for Grand Horizons, White Pearl, Blithe Spirit and The Picture of Dorian Gray are released on December 16.
Additional reporting by Jane Albert.