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State Theatre brings Tim Winton novel to the stage


A stage adaptation of Tim Winton’s 1986 novel ‘That Eye, The Sky’ will be among highlights of the State Theatre Company’s biggest ever season in 2018.

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The program will feature a total of nine productions, including the company’s highest number of commissions, with four shows premiering in South Australia.

That Eye, The Sky, to be presented in the Dunstan Playhouse from August 14 next year, is based on an adaptation by actor Richard Roxburgh (of TV series Rake) and writer Justin Mongo.

Described by State Theatre as “a meditation on life, loss, and the redemption that love allows us all, if we let it”, the story was Winton’s third novel, written five years before Cloudstreet. It centres on a 12-year-old boy, Ort, whose father is hurt in a car accident and who has his life further shaken by the arrival of a mysterious stranger.

“I’ve been wanting to program That Eye, The Sky for years but have been waiting for
 the perfect team to come together,” State Theatre artistic director Geordie Bookman said.

“Being able to reunite the visionary director/choreographer Kate Champion [who choreographed Neil Armfield’s production of Cloudstreet] with designer Geoff Cobham to create a rich landscape for Tim Winton’s beautiful words is tremendously exciting.”

The cast will include company artist-in-residence Elena Carapetis.

Carapetis, whose writing credits include the recent adaptation of A Doll’s House, has also penned a new work, The Gods of Strangers, for the 2018 season.

The Gods of Strangers, to be presented at the end of 2018, draws on Carapetis’s stories from her own Greek and Cypriot family.

“The debut of a large-scale new dramatic work is always to be celebrated but in this case we also celebrate the fact that we are premiering a work made through drawing on the stories of two of our migrant communities and their experiences in one of our regional centres, Port Pirie,” Brookman said.

Rosalba Clement will be part of the cast of The Gods of Strangers.

Other State Theatre 2018 season highlights include:

In the Club (February-March): Written by Patricia Cornelius and exploring the off-field culture surrounding AFL players and clubs.

After Dinner (April): A new comedy by SA writer Andrew Bovell which follows five lonely hearts in a 1980s pub bistro.

Faith Healer (September-October): A Belvoir Theatre production of Irish playwright Brian Friel’s classic play; directed by Judy Davis and starring her actor husband Colin Friels.

Sense and Sensibility (May): A new adaptation written by Kate Hamill and directed by Geordie Brookman, described as “Jane Austen on theatrical steroids”.

State Theatre will also extend its touring program next year, visiting 14 towns and regions across South Australia.

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