A LETTER FROM AUSTRALIA: Love Never Dies, Annie, Cate Blanchett, David Williamson and More

By Mark Shenton
01 Feb 2012

Greta Scaachi

But there are also many more smaller theatre companies operating out of permanent homes elsewhere in the city, including the Ensemble Theatre (across the bay at Milson's Point), Australia's longest, continuously running professional theatre company, specializing in promoting local playwrights, including Australia's longest-serving and most prolific international writer David Williamson. Greta Scaachi recently starred there in his most recent play Nothing Personal, and the upcoming season has yet another Williamson play, When Dad Married Fury, opening in May in between revivals of plays by Neil Simon and David Hare.

A more adventurous repertoire is pursued by the Griffin in their upstairs warehouse Stables Theatre in King's Cross, and the Belvoir at their two-theatre home in Surry Hills, a building partly funded by none other than Russell Crowe.

And here's a contrast, too, and source of the problem for commercial theatre operators in Sydney: as in London and on Broadway, regular theatregoers are simply being priced out of the commercial offerings. Tickets for Annie run to $135 and for Love Never Dies to $145 (and with the Australian dollar having rough parity to the U.S. one, that means that those shows are running almost equal to the current ducat for regular, non-premium Broadway seats). By contrast, tickets for a play at the Griffin are just $49. In other words, you can see three plays there for the price of one ticket to Love Never Dies.

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