Belvoir’s new Artistic Director says 2016 will be about theatricality, variety of life and faith in humanity.
When the announcement was made earlier this year that Eamon Flack would take over as Belvoir’s third Artistic Director in January 2016, the incumbent Ralph Myers described him as a dreamer and a pragmatist. He described Flack as someone, “with a great sense of social responsibility who is able to combine emotional sensitivity with inner toughness.”
At that time, giving a hint of his vision, Flack claimed, “A theatre is one of society’s test cases. If a rich, liberal country can’t find a way to include the full variety of life in the model of itself on stage, then how can we hope to include the full variety of life in the real society off stage?” Announcing his first season of work, it seems he has found a way to realise just that.
Amber McMahon, Matthew Whittet and Eamon Farren star in Girl Asleep
“There are angry plays, political plays, celebrations,” revealed Flack. “There are splendid big acts of community, and solo feats of daring. There are comedies, romances, fables, epics, whodunnits. All must be included, all must be spoken for, and spoken for brilliantly, with the full force of human impressiveness – spoken for theatrically.”
Running through his rich offerings, there is a clear sense of family and community throughout. It’s notable not just in the stories being told, but also in the audiences he’s appealing to. It all has an undeniable and proud Australian identity too.
Colin Friels stars in Fatih Healer
He’s assembled some great actors in great roles: Colin Friels will be much anticipated as Francis Hardy in Faith Healer, as will Peter Carroll playing Malvolio in Twelfth Night. In vogue playwrights, such as Lally Katz and Kate Mulvany, and notable directors, including Anne-Louise Sarks and Leticia Cáceres are playing their parts too. Anticipation and expectation will be high for the productions that Flack will craft himself too.
With a respectful nod to those who’ve come before him and helped shape his career, Neil Armfield and Ralph Myers, Flack has made his first season his own. With an ambition of inclusiveness, his 2016 offers Belvoir audiences, old and new, a collection of great work.
The Great Fire
But of course, this announcement is just the beginning. The real test of making it all happen still lies before him. The role of Artistic Director, according to Myer, throws up major challenges, “It’s about holding your nerve, not being too daunted by the impossibility of what it is you’re trying to do.”
But that’s where Flack’s depth of understanding of the Company and what its audiences want will undoubtedly come into its own. Of his new season he claims, “they are all foolhardy undertakings, it wouldn’t be Belvoir otherwise.”
Production images by Brett Boardman