Dark comedies, new Australian plays and Moby Dick onstage make up an exciting new season.

Promising its freshest, most exciting season to date, Sport for Jove’s 2018 line-up features the world premiere of two new Australian works, an iconic American play, new partnerships with regional theatres, and two classic productions performed in the outdoors.

Festival season. Photo © Zelko Nedic.

Shakespeare’s satirical masterpiece Measure for Measure and an adaptation of Goldoni’s comedy The Servant of Two Masters kicks things off as part of the Summer Festival, which takes place outdoors at Bella Vista Farm Park in Baulkham Hills and Everglades Gardens in Leura. Measure for Measure will be directed by Lizzie Schebesta, “one of the finest minds on Shakespeare’s writing that I have come across in 25 years of working on these plays,” said Festival Director and Sport for Jove Artistic Director Damien Ryan.

“She has extraordinary intuition with the language and the purpose of the writing, particularly seeing the plays in a daring new light. I am extremely excited to have her directing for us this season, and to work on one of Shakespeare’s most surprising and subversive plays is an added treat for audiences who have enjoyed Lizzie’s `remarkable work on stage at the Festival since its inception.”

Adapted from Carlo Goldoni’s 18th century Italian comedy by Francesca Savige and George Banders, The Servant of Two Masters tells the story of a perpetually hungry servant who works for two masters in order to earn twice the meals.

“Francesca and George have been comic and dramatic stalwarts of our company and its outdoor season,” Ryan explained, “with a particularly extraordinary record of producing wonderful shows for young people every Christmas as part of our Second Age Project. I laughed myself silly at their terrific new adaptation of Goldoni’s irrepressible masterpiece and can’t wait for audiences to revel in their inventiveness and the chaos of this spectacular play. It will be a real festival treat.”

Ryan himself directs Caleb Lewis’ The River at the End of the Road, inspired by the Murray River and the culmination of a two-year collaboration between HotHouse and Sport for Jove. Described as an epic ‘Huck Finn-style’ adventure, it is a touching quest story featuring Stacey Duckworth, Gabriel Fancourt, Mark Lee, Drew Livingstone, Amy Usherwood and the HotHouse Studio Ensemble.

Sport for Jove is also opening up its Education Season productions to the general public, with The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth. Meanwhile, Adam Cook adapts Orson Welles’ Moby Dick for the stage, exploring the vagaries of the human condition and demonstrating once again the majesty of Melville’s novel.

Then in October, Alana Valentine’s new work Ear to the Edge of Time directed by Nadia Tass has its world premiere. Inspired by radio astronomers working in the field of neutron star physics, Valentine’s play explores gender politics, the culture of contemporary science, and the nature of collaborative discovery. Ear to the Edge of Time opens a window into the world of space and time as a metaphor for the relationship of art and science.

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