In his second year as sole Artistic Director, Andrew Upton assembles impressive collection of works and Australian talent.

The wharf theatres are set to come alive again next year with tales old and new, as Andrew Upton presents his seventh annual program at the helm of Sydney Theatre Company. The season opens in mid-January and will feature an exciting list of Australia’s top theatrical talents and a total of 15 productions. 2015 will see the return of actors such as Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh in Chekhov, Geoffrey Rush and Robyn Nevin in Shakespeare’s King Lear, Hugo Weaving in Beckett and Susie Porter in Dorfmann.

“Sydney Theatre Company’s 2015 program has some great alignments, many of which have been touched on before,” said Andrew Upton, of his second program as solo Artistic Director. “Some of our greatest theatre artists are returning to the wonderful, fertile, creative ground to be found inside the canon for reinterpretation and reinvention.”

Not only has Upton assembled an impressive collection of creative talent, but he has also chosen a well-rounded program of works from the classic and contemporary canon. Of this decision, he said: “a number of works kept coming to the fore that presented fresh angles on familiar material, or that used language in ways that suggest more experimental theatrical form”. Admirably, Upton’s next season will also feature even more female voices, with almost half the program consciously providing a platform for female theatre-makers and actors.

Hugo Weaving (photo: James Green)

As well as his curatorial role, Upton is set to take his place in the director’s chair, alongside other celebrated directors like Neil Armfield, Sarah Goodes, and Kip Williams. Together, they will explore classic works by Shaw, Beckett and Shakespeare, as well as works by contemporary writers Caryl Churchill, Melissa Bubnic and Sarah Ruhl.

The 2015 season kicks off with the rediscovery of Andrew Bovell’s very first play, After Dinner. In the work, which was written in 1988, Helen Thomson, Anita Hegh, and Rebecca Massey try to escape their interminable nine-to-five routine with a night out on the town. As the group of lonely singles let loose, the night becomes increasingly (and hilariously) messy.

In what will become one of the most anticipated theatre events of the year, Geoffrey Rush will take to the stage in the title role of Shakespeare’s King Lear. This will be his first appearance with the Company since performing opposite Cate Blanchett in the 1993 production of Oleanna. Former Artistic Director, Robyn Nevin, will also make her return as The Fool in King Lear, and the formidable Violet in Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer.

Geoffrey Rush (photo: James Green)

Left undiscovered until after his death, Platonov – Chekhov’s first play – will be given a modern treatment by Upton in a version entitled The Present. Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh play two soul mates, whose explosive passion is fuelled by all the wrong reasons. This production also sees the Australian debut of Irish director John Crowley, who is renowned for his work on the West End and Broadway.

Richard Roxburgh and Cate Blanchett (photo: James Green)

After his acclaimed performances in Waiting for Godot and Macbeth, Hugo Weaving will return as actor and collaborator in Beckett’s Endgame. Weaving will play the monstrous Hamm, and will also be Andrew Upton’s associate director. Nick Schlieper will also contribute to the production as set and lighting designer.

A co-production with Melbourne Theatre Company will see Susie Porter perform in the heart-stopping thriller, Death and the Maiden. The hit play by Ariel Dorfman was given its Australian debut by the Sydney Theatre Company two decades ago, and returns with Leticia Cáceres as director.

Susie Porter (photo: James Green)

Other seasoned Australian performers including Andrea Demetriades (Crownies), Mitchell Butel (Angels in America), and Jane Turner (Kath & Kim) have also been confirmed for next year’s season. Melissa Bubnic, winner of the Sydney Theatre Company 2010 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award, will also make a welcome return with her testosterone-fuelled play Boys Will Be Boys.

Completing next year’s season is the return of The Wharf Revue, celebrating 15 years of satire. The team’s (Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Limelight regular Phillip Scott) distinct form of irreverent comedy is sure to gain both cringes and laughs. The very final touch to an impressive program is Tom Holloway’s adaptation of Colin Thiele’s Storm Boy. The perennial favourite, about a boy and a family of orphaned pelicans, will fly all the way from South Australia’s Coorong, to theatres in metropolitan and regional New South Wales.

2015 Season Tickets are on sale from 9am on 9 September. To receive a 2015 season brochure call (02) 9250 1777