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Australia’s Fastest Growing Theatre Company Launches 2019: A Season of Dreamers

A record five world premieres, a record number of interstate performances through co-productions, Queensland exclusives, Australia’s newest theatre - the Bille Brown Theatre - industry leadership via gender parity of writers and directors and four new women in artistic leadership positions, the first Principal Partnership in the Company’s history, and eight unforgettable shows. 2019 will be Queensland Theatre’s biggest year yet.

Artistic Director Sam Strong has taken Queensland Theatre to unprecedented levels of success and 2019 will be even better.  “In 2017 Queensland Theatre was the fastest growing major theatre company in Australia and the most watched performing arts company in Brisbane. In 2018, we grew our audience again and will open Brisbane and Australia’s newest theatre. And now, in 2019, we will take shows across Australia while also creating Queensland exclusives that will be the envy of the rest of the country,” said Strong.

“Queensland Theatre will present an unprecedented five world premieres in 2019.  We begin with the world premiere of Hydra, award-winning playwright Sue Smith’s portrait of writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston. This is followed by the world premiere of the most provocative play to hit the Australian stage in years, City of Gold by electric young actor Meyne Wyatt. Next, in a coup for Queensland, we will be home to not just the world premiere of Joanna Murray-Smith’s latest play, but her world directorial debut, with the wickedly funny L’Appartement.  Add to this the world premiere of hilarious new musical Fangirls by the unfairly talented Yve Blake, and the world premiere of award-winning Brisbane writer Merlynn Tong’s adaptation of Antigone, and you have Queensland Theatre’s most urgent, ambitious, and entertaining season yet,” said Strong.

The season is rounded out by one of theatre’s biggest classics, Death of A Salesman, performed by an all-star cast of Queenslanders (both resident and returning), the rock’n’roll family reunion Barbara and the Camp Dogs by the brilliant Ursula Yovich and Alana Valentine, and a landmark new production of Tom Holloway’s adaptation of Colin Thiele’s cherished story Storm Boy, bringing together the creative forces behind Jasper Jones and The Wider Earth.

Season 2019 features the best local talent like David Morton of Dead Puppet Society, Emily Burton, Ray Chong Nee, Jason Klarwein, Thomas Larkin, Pacharo Mzembe, Christen O’Leary, Hugh Parker, Bryan Probets, and Melanie Zanetti. It also continues Strong’s ‘State of Origin’ approach of attracting leading Queensland talent home, actors like John Batchelor, Peter Kowitz, Angie Milliken and Anna McGahan, and one of Australia’s most in demand directors, Leticia Caceres.

Strong said 2019 was a season defined by the variety of experiences it gives audiences. “Between the book-ends of two of the greatest plays ever written, we have an exquisitely observed relationship portrait, a rock and roll road trip, a provocative political battle cry, a heart-warming family classic, a wicked social comedy, and even a joyous new musical. Theatre-goers can be part of the extreme passion that only teenage years can induce, the disillusion that can accompany the end of a working life, the idealism of young adulthood, the ebbs and flows of a long relationship, and the bittersweet passage from childhood to adulthood.”

Strong said it is a “season full of dreamers – of people who confront even the darkest of times with a faith that life can be better. If there is diversity across the eight shows, they are unified by a spirit of optimism. Even if the stories occasionally break our hearts with tragic circumstances, they are all shot through with hope.”

In 2019 Queensland Theatre will once again traverse the rest of the country. Through co-productions with the state theatre companies in Adelaide and Melbourne, as well as two companies in Sydney, the work of Queensland Theatre will be seen on interstate stages for a record 129 performances.

2019 is a significant year for many reasons. Next year Queensland Theatre will start the celebrations for the company’s 50th anniversary season in 2020, and it will see the first full year of programming in its own home theatre. The Bille Brown Studio is currently undergoing a $5.5million-dollar transformation and in October 2018 will take on a new life as the 351 seat Bille Brown Theatre – a state-of-the-art corner stage, designed to be the perfect place for stories, artists, and most importantly – audiences. “We are tremendously proud of the community effort that has made the dream of our own theatre a reality,” said Executive Director Amanda Jolly. “We set ourselves our most audacious fundraising target ever, and with the help of the Queensland Government’s Arts Infrastructure Fund and our many generous and visionary donors we have succeeded. We thank each and every supporter. We can’t wait to share one of Australia’s best theatres with our audiences.”


In a continuation of the Company’s national industry leadership, Queensland Theatre has once again programmed a season that has achieved gender parity of writers and directors. In addition, in 2019, Queensland Theatre will add to its reputation for revolutionising artistic leadership by appointing award winning Brisbane independent company, Belloo Creative, as resident company. All four women who make up Belloo -? Caroline Dunphy (co-artistic director, director and performer); Katherine Lyall-Watson (co-artistic director and writer); Kathryn Kelly (dramaturg), and Danielle Shankey (producer and general manager) - will become an integral part of Queensland Theatre’s leadership team. They will also create a work for the 2020 season. In a final coup for the Company, Queensland Theatre announced that from 2019 RACQ will become Queensland Theatre’s Principal Partner (the first for the Company). According to Strong, “Such partnerships are only possible when two companies share a profound alignment of purpose. Both of us are about improving the lives of Queenslanders.”

Join us for a season of dreamers in 2019 at Queensland Theatre.


9 Feb to 2 Mar:            Death of a Salesman

9 Mar to 6 Apr:            Hydra

1 May to 25 May:         Barbara and the Camp Dogs

29 Jun to 20 Jul:          City of Gold

29 Jul to 17 Aug:           Storm Boy

3 Aug to 31 Aug:           L’Appartement

7 Sept to 5 Oct:            Fangirls

26 Oct to 16 Nov:         Antigone



  • Suscriptions on sale Monday 20 August 2018 at 8.30pm.
  • Single ticket sales for Death of a Salesman, Hydra, Barbara and the Camp Dogs and City of Gold on sale from 9am Monday 3 December 2018.
  • Single ticket sales for Storm Boy, L’Appartement, Fangirls and Antigone on sale 9am Monday 29 April 2019.


Online at

Telephone 1800 355 528


Postal via PO Box 3310, South Brisbane 4101

In person at 78 Montague Road, South Brisbane

For more information, artist interviews or imagery, contact Kath Rose on 0416 291 493 or email

Death of a Salesman

By Arthur Miller

9 February to 2 March, 2019 at the Playhouse, QPAC


It’s the requiem for the American dream that defined the 20th Century. Arthur Miller’s towering classic is a timeless meditation on the human need to feel special, a withering commentary on capitalism, and a tragic portrait of a fallout between father and son. The play won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play and has gone on to win three more Tony Awards for Best Revival on Broadway. Now it comes to Brisbane, directed by stage powerhouse Jason Klarwein.

The Cast includes: Charles Allen (True West, Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story), Kevin Hides (Composing Venus, A Conversation), Peter Kowitz (Janet King, Crownies), Thomas Larkin (The Wider Earth, Macbeth), Jackson McGovern (The Owl and the Pussycat, Rent), Angie Milliken (The Effect, Rake) and Ilai Swindells (Redfern Now, Open Slather) and more.

The Story: As the death-rattle of American optimism echoes through the land of the Free Market, travelling salesman Willy Loman loses himself in the halcyon haze of the past. Once the king of the road, Willy is veering off it. Time was, he could sell anyone anything, and his reward was the whole package: wife, two sons, the car, the white picket fence. But now he’s feeling his years. He’s behind on the mortgage, he’s sidelined by his wet-behind-the-ears boss, and the final straw is when his adult son Biff – once a sporting prodigy, now a directionless disappointment – lands on the doorstep, further loosening Willy’s grip on the reality of his broken-down life.


By Sue Smith

9 March to 6 April, 2019 at the Bille Brown Theatre

A State Theatre Company of South Australia co-production

Award-winning Sue Smith weaves the original writings of two of Australia’s literary icons into a moving relationship drama. She conjures the passion and intensity of the near mythical ‘King and Queen of Hydra’ as they follow their dream, only to end up in a Greek tragedy of their own making. A co-production with the State Theatre Company of South Australia, Hydra will be directed by Queensland Theatre’s Artistic Director, Sam Strong and is a world premiere. 

The Cast includes: Anna McGahan (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Underbelly, The Doctor Blake Mysteries), Nathan O’Keefe (Alexandra’s Project, Balloon Man), Hugh Parker (Noises OffThe 39 StepsThe Family Law),  Bryan Probets (The 39 Steps, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) and more. 

The Story: They were writers, dreamers and free spirits. In the 1950s, Australian authors Charmian Clift and George Johnston* fled halfway across the world to the idyllic Greek island of Hydra, determined to carve out a bohemian living as artists. As they revel in their picturesque community, far off the world’s literary map, inspiration for the great Australian work strikes. But a many- headed monster of jealousy, infidelity, illness and alcoholism also rises from the crystal blue waters of their sun-kissed island home.

*While living on Hydra, George Johnston wrote his 1964 Miles Franklin award-winning novel, My Brother Jack.


Barbara and the Camp Dogs

By Ursula Yovich* and Alana Valentine

1 to 25 May, 2019 at the Bille Brown Theatre

A Belvoir production in association with Vicki Gordon Music Productions

Part madcap buddy comedy, part electrifying rock gig, and part clarion call against the taint of inequality, this vibrant play with songs sold out its original season at Sydney’s Belvoir, and now it’s set to charm the pants off Brisbane! A rock’n’roll family reunion that will break your heart and fill it with song, it is directed by Leticia Cáceres.


The Cast includes: Troy Brady (Black Arm Band), Elaine Crombie (Top of the Lake, An Octoroon), Ursula Yovich (Mother Courage and Her Children, Australia) with musicians Sorsha Aluquerque (Guitar), Jessica Dunn (Musical Director and Bass Guitar), Michelle Vincent (Drums).

The Story: Hitting the big time is tough when the only booking your kick-ass band can score is a pub gig. But the boisterous, bolshie Barbara and her rockers the Camp Dogs are in it for the long haul. When a family tragedy beckons, Barbara and her sister (and fellow muso) René set off on a long and winding motorbike adventure from Sydney, through Darwin, and finally to Katherine – where the bickering pair come face to face with some home truths.

*Ursula Yovich was recently named as one of the Top 21 most iconic Women of Australian Stage, Page & Screen by The Age.

City of Gold

By Meyne Wyatt

29 June to 20 July, 2019 at the Bille Brown Theatre

A Griffin Theatre Company co-production

Rising star Meyne Wyatt’s debut play is as riveting and unflinchingly honest as his stage presence. Urgent, wryly funny and politically provocative, City of Gold is a call for change that will sound out for years to come, it’s a battle cry from the front line of Australian identity. A Griffin Theatre co-production and world premiere, City of Gold will be directed by Queensland Theatre’s Resident Dramaturg, Isaac Drandic and stars Meyne Wyatt (The Sapphires, Mystery Road).

The Story: All Breythe ever wanted was to be an actor, but this isn’t how he imagined his first big television gig – as a young Aboriginal man, being the face of a disastrous misfire of an advertisement that will get him roasted by his mob. When a messenger bird suddenly brings Breythe tragic tidings from his family, it spurs him on a journey of grief and duty. Returning home to Kalgoorlie, he is thrust headlong into family conflict and the reality of what it means to be an Indigenous youth in today’s Australia.

Storm Boy

By Colin Thiele Adapted for the stage by Tom Holloway

29 July to 17 August, 2019, at the Playhouse, QPAC

A Melbourne Theatre Company co-production in association with Dead Puppet Society

Set to be a mainstage must-see, this landmark new production of Colin Thiele’s cherished yet bittersweet coming- of-age story brings together the creative forces behind Jasper Jones and The Wider Earth. It will touch the hearts of young and old with its masterful puppetry and boundless imagination. A Melbourne Theatre Company co-production in association with the multi-award-winning Dead Puppet Society, Storm Boy will be directed by Sam Strong with David Morton as Associate Director/Puppet Designer. 

The Cast includes: John Batchelor (Sea Patrol, Red Dog), Tony Briggs (Black is the New White, The Sapphires) and Emily Burton (The Wider Earth, The Seagull) and more. 

The Story: Young Storm Boy lives a simple yet free life on the coastal wilds of the South Australian Coorong, combing the beaches with his reclusive father, Hideaway Tom. During a long summer, he makes two friends who will shepherd him from childhood into adulthood: the jester Fingerbone Bill, who teaches him about his country; and Mr Percival, an orphaned pelican who prepares Storm Boy for the wider world with a poignant lesson about love, loss and letting go.


By Joanna Murray-Smith
3 to 31 August, 2019 at the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC

Razor-sharp and whip-smart, this edgy new comedy marks the directorial debut of one of Australia’s most accomplished storytellers, Joanna Murray-Smith. A world premiere, this is a comedy that asks if good intentions are the ultimate crime of the middle class and will be directed by the writer in her directorial debut.

The Cast includes: Pacharo Mzembe (Safe Harbour, The Mountaintop), Melanie Zanetti (Jasper Jones, Romeo and Juliet) and more.

The Story: It’s a dream holiday for Aussie couple Meg and Rooster – a decadent getaway in Paris in a swanky Airbnb, with fine wine, lavish food, and best of all, no three-year-old twins in

tow – a chance for these parents to look after themselves, kick back and reconnect. But when they pick up the keys from their departing hosts – an achingly cool, overachieving young French couple – all it takes is 15 minutes for the trip to be derailed. And when they crack open a mysterious package that arrives on the doorstep, it throws up the biggest ethical dilemma they’ve ever faced.


Book, music & lyrics by Yve Blake

7 September to 5 October, 2019 at the Bille Brown Theatre

A Belvoir and Brisbane Festival co-production in association with Australian Theatre for Young People

This world premiere by gifted young comedian, singer and playwright Yve Blake is stacked with insanely catchy numbers that will take you straight back to your first crush and make you feel ALL THE FEELS! A new musical comedy about a poorly understood force of nature and directed by the acclaimed Paige Rattray, Fangirls is a Belvoir and Brisbane Festival co-production in association with the Australian Theatre for Young People and will star the Yve herself (THEN, The Race Was On) among others.  

The Story: Meet Edna, she’s 14, chronically awkward, and everyone thinks she’s a serial liar. But none of this will matter when her REAL life starts. With Harry. There’s just one problem, Harry is in True Connection - the world’s biggest boyband. When True Connection announce a tour stop in Edna’s city, she realises that this is her one chance to meet Harry and convince him of their destiny. But just how far is she prepared to go in the name of love? Edna takes her obsession to unforeseen heights in this thrilling and hilarious musical comedy about first love, fan culture, and the danger of underestimating teenage girls.


Adapted by Merlynn Tong, after Sophocles

26 October to 16 November, 2019 at the Bille Brown Theatre

A formidable and powerful finale to Season 2019 - in this lyrical adaptation of Sophocles’ timeless tragedy, award-winning Brisbane playwright Merlynn Tong adds an urgent modern twist, reuniting Christen O’Leary and Jessica Tovey after their triumphant pairing in Twelfth Night under the directorial hand of Travis Dowling. 

The Story: A great city has been torn apart by a civil war between two brothers. In the aftermath, both lie dead – one hailed as a hero and lying in state, the other condemned as a traitor and dumped in a carrion pile. From the ashes of their conflict rises a dystopian state under a new leader – a career politician who rose to power by dint of her ruthlessness. Grieving and heartbroken, their sister Antigone challenges the leader for the right to bury and mourn her dead brother with dignity, sparking a furious act of rebellion that will shake the city to its foundations.


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