HomeThings To DoQueensland Theatre announces 2021 Season as the stage curtains open once again!

Queensland Theatre announces 2021 Season as the stage curtains open once again!

The stage lights have been turned back on, the curtains have been reopened, the foyer is buzzing, the sets have been prepared, the costumes have been steamed, and the actors have gathered in the green room once again as Queensland Theatre makes its return! 

After a tumultuous year, Queensland Theatre’s 2021 Season is the new and exciting adventure that we are all in need of. Artistic Director Lee Lewis and Queensland Theatre are set to bring the house down with their bold program for 2021 that will see four world premieres take the stage, including the much-anticipated presentation of Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe.

“This year, we have all learned how much we need theatre. Thank you for staying with us through this dark age. We cannot wait to turn the lights back on in our theatres in 2021,” says Lewis. The 2021 Season is set to host: Our Town, Triple X, Taming of the Shrew, White Pearl, Prima Facie, Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe, Return to the Dirt, and Robyn Archer: An Australian Songbook!  

Our Town by Thornton Wilder
30 January — 27 February at the Bille Brown Theatre

Queensland Theatre 2021 Our Town Banner

The 2021 Season opens on January 30 with the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Our Town, by Thornton Wilder and directed by Lee Lewis. “I think Our Town is the most beautiful play to come back to the theatre with after a long time of darkness…It’s an extraordinary reminder that it’s the small things in life that matter in the face of big tragedy,” explains Lewis.

Life in a small town. Babies are born. Children go to school and play and dream. People grow up, fall in love, get married, hold down a job, and grow old. The same surnames last down through the years, but the faces change. There are inevitable tragedies and triumphant joys. As we come to know the people in this town, we see how the threads of their everyday lives are gently woven into the rich and complex, funny and heartbreaking fabric that is community. And for all its simplicity, this play reveals a great truth at its heart: deep meaning and startling value are in every moment of existence. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Triple X by Glace Chase
6 March — 1 April at the Bille Brown Theatre

Queensland Theatre 2021 Triple X Banner

Next to grace the Bille Brown Theatre stage is the world premiere of Triple X, directed by Paige Rattray and written and lead by Australian-born, New York-based playwright, comedienne and performer Glace Chase. Triple X is a hilarious, honest and an emotionally affecting look at entitlement, hypocrisy and the realities of true love in the 21st century.

Scotty has it all: a multimillion-dollar loft in downtown Manhattan, a high-flying Wall Street job and he’s about to marry the perfect fiancée, who also happens to be loaded. But when he meets trans performance artist Dexie, he discovers he wants something more. A friend? A confidante? A lover?
When the secret of their affair gets out, it’s sure to shock not only his dude-bro Jase, his highly-strung mother Deb and his lesbian activist sister Claire, but also a theatre audience strapped in for the ride of their lives.

Taming of the Shrew
8 May — 12 June at the Bille Brown Theatre

Queensland Theatre 2021 Taming of the Shrew

In May, the Compay is set to present their first Shakespeare in the Bille Brown Theatre, Taming of the Shrew, directed by Damien Ryan. “With a sprinkle of old-time movie magic, this classic love story is transported to 1920’s Italy,” explains Lewis, “This may not be the Shrew that you were expecting, but it will be an irresistible night in the theatre filled with glamour, romance, song, and laughter.”

Welcome to 1920s Italy. Two sisters. One wants to marry, one doesn’t. What could possibly go wrong? The suitors are lining up to woo movie mogul Baptista’s enchanting film star daughter, Bianca. But there’s a catch: Bianca can’t marry until her elder sister is wed. Enter Kate — bold, free and fierce, the last thing she wants or needs is a husband. Men conspire to marry this wild woman off to any man who will have her.
Enter Petruchio — Navy captain, in need of a wife. The stage is set for one of the most powerful clashes of wills in history!

White Pearl by Anchuli Felicia King
17 June — 10 July at the Bille Brown Theatre

Queensland Theatre 2021 White Pearl Banner

Next is Anchuli Felicia King’s new play, White Pearl, a ruthlessly entertaining portrait of toxic corporate culture, casual racism and the complexity of pan-Asian relations, directed by Priscilla Jackman.

In the boardroom of Clearday cosmetics, beauty is only (white) skin deep. In Singapore, it’s just another day at the office of Clearday cosmetics. That is, until they discover that their new TV commercial has been leaked online. The video goes viral for all the wrong reasons. Someone is definitely going to get fired. Can the high-flying team at Clearday rise above their personal squabbles to save the company? As they scramble to contain the fallout before the American market wakes up, the open-plan, glass-door office proves to be a nest of secrets, lies and resentments.

Prima Facie by Suzie Miller
14 Jul — 14 Aug at the Bille Brown Theatre

Queensland Theatre 2021 Prima Facie

Gracing the Bille Brown Theatre for four weeks is the Griffith Award-winning, Prima Facie, by playwright Suzie Miller and directed by Lee Lewis. An urgent, gripping one-woman show which mounts to an irresistible call for change through its powerful story of a defence barrister who finds herself on the wrong side of the system. 

One woman stands centre stage: Tessa, a criminal lawyer at the top of her game, who knows the law permits no room for emotion. To win, you just need to believe in the rules. And Tessa loves to win, even when defending clients accused of sexual assault. Her court-ordained duty trumps her feminism. But when she finds herself on the other side of the bar, Tessa is forced into the shadows of doubt she has so ruthlessly cast over other women.

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton
Adapted by Tim McGarry
30 August — 18 September at the Playhouse Theatre, QPAC

Queensland Theatre 2021 Boy Swallows Universe Banner

Then from August, one of the most anticipated events of the year, the world premiere stage production of Trent Dalton’s wildly successful novel Boy Swallows Universe. Adapted by Tim McGarry and directed by Sam Strong, the play will bring 1980’s Brisbane unforgettably to life. “In exciting news, the role of Eli Bell will be performed by Joe Klocek in this once-in-a-lifetime role at the Playhouse. It’s a wonderful reflection of the pathways open to young artists,” explains Lewis.

Eli Bell’s childhood in the outer Brisbane suburbs is far from the idyllic 1980s haze some kids would remember. His alcoholic dad has shot through, his mum is in jail, his stepfather’s dealing heroin, his brother Gus is a mute who swirls cryptic messages in the air with his finger, and his babysitter Slim is a convicted killer and infamous escapee from Boggo Road Gaol. Beset by chaos on all sides, it’s a run-in with the local crime king and his henchman that sets the 13-year-old with the old soul on a journey to find out what kind of man he is going to be.

Return to the Dirt by Steve Pirie
16 October — 13 November at the Bille Brown Theatre

Queensland Theatre 2021 Return to the Dirt

Immediately following is another world premiere, the first staging of the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award-winning play, Return to the Dirt, written and starred by Steve Pirie. Set in a funeral home in Toowoomba, the play is an honest and surprisingly uplifting invitation to start conversations that we try to avoid. “With respect, wit and a nod to pop-culture, Steve takes us on a journey that celebrates finding your place in the world, the power of personal redemption and humility in the face of the big questions,” says director Lewis. 

In a year spent tending to the dead, a young man learns to live. Steve never imagined he’d end up working in the funeral industry. But when he finds himself living back home in Toowoomba to save up for his wedding, it’s the only job he can get. The year he spends working among the dead opens his eyes to what awaits us at the end and what it means to live.

Robyn Archer: An Australian Songbook by Robyn Archer
20 November — 4 December at the Bille Brown Theatre

Queensland Theatre 2021 Robyn Archer: An Australian Playbook

For the cracking finale of the 2021 Season is a very special theatre experience, the world premiere of Robyn Archer: An Australian Songbook, commissioned by Queensland Theatre for an exclusive, strictly limited season in the Bille Brown Theatre, and available only for subscribers.

A trio of Australia’s finest musical artists will join Robyn to transform the Bille Brown Theatre into a cabaret stage: piano accordion virtuoso George Butrumlis, actor and multi-instrumentalist Cameron Goodall of The Audreys on guitar, and composer Enio Pozzebon on keyboards.

Robyn’s wealth of musical knowledge is distilled into a fearless, political and personal celebration of the way song has shaped Australian identity. It’s a melodic road trip through more than 150 years of ‘other’ Australian song, as she explores the music of her upbringing and the countless rhythms and voices that are woven into the unique sonic fabric of this country.

With an absolutely show-stopping line-up from some of Australia’s most talented directors, writers, and actors, the 2021 Season is set to the perfect comeback for Queensland Theatre. Be sure to get in early! With theatre capacity reduced to 50% in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Season Ticket holders get the best available seats before single tickets go on sale to the public, you can click here to secure your season ticket today!

Looking for more fun things to do in Brisbane? Check out our list of 25 of Brisbane’s best dog-friendly bars where you can enjoy a drink with your dog!

Ashleigh Holland
From Townsville, to Mackay, and now located in Brisbane, Ashleigh is the poster girl for the Queensland life-style; an avid beach-goer, water-sport enthusiast, wine aficionado, and camping queen. After catching the writing bug at an early age she has since lived in Bali for an extensive journalism program, studied a bachelor of Mass Communications, and contributed to a variety of lifestyle publications over the years. And she will take a soy flat white to go, thanks!

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