The proposition: Book your Sydney Theatre Company tickets now.


Sometimes, to see the best things tonight, you have to plan. Otherwise organised people will end up sitting in your seats, which is terribly inconvenient. On today’s agenda: STC 2010.

Why? Because William Hurt is coming to town. But that’s just a revelation of personal bias (his brilliant performance in season 2 of Damages as a man torn between good and evil keeps swimming around in my head).

Until fairly recently, you could only buy season passes to the Sydney Theatre Company’s 2010 shows. Now that single tickets to performances are available, it’s worth getting out your diaries. It’s not exactly a subtle season of marginal works; instead, the Blanchett-Uptons are presenting a bumper crop, full of big hitters on stage and in the director’s chair.

It’s also so heavy with American influence that the STC will surely be getting its money’s worth from sponsor Qantas. Philip Seymour Hoffman is directing Sam Shepard’s True West. There’s also the Australian debut of Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening (which began life off-Broadway).

And, in a pretty sweet coup, Steppenwolf Theatre is flying in its production of August: Osage County, a quick-witted soap opera of a play, which documents a weekend in the life of a Southern family hell-bent on ripping itself apart.

Interestingly, the Melbourne Theatre Company put on the play last year, with Robyn Nevin in the lead as the acerbic, drug-addled matriarch Violet, a part she wore like a second skin. But rather than bringing the play from Melbourne, they’ve brought it in from Chicago. Somewhat controversial perhaps, but it does free up Nevin to play opposite Hurt in another story of addiction and dysfunction, Eugene O’Neill’s classic Long Day’s Journey into Night.

The details:
So what are the things to book right now? All of the above actually (everything seems to be selling quite quickly), with the Hurt-Nevin play as the must-see (starting July).

And then there’s Uncle Vanya at the end of the year, which has all the stars in the Australian firmament: John Bell, Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxburgh and Hugo Weaving. Tickets are almost sold out for the November show, so chop chop if you want to get amongst it.

Also of interest is Honour by Joanna Murray-Smith, the subject of much foyer gossip (it was felt that, til now, the playwright had been snubbed by the STC, or more specifically, Robyn Nevin). Will Honour make her a permanent resident?