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Marta in new play for 2016!

Benedict Andrews “misses terribly” the actors he has worked with in Australia. The 43-year-old Adelaide-born director and writer is now based in Reykjavik, with his partner, the Icelandic choreographer Margrét Bjarnadóttir.

So he is pleased that Marta Dusseldorp, who he directed as Queen Margaret in The War of the Roses for Sydney Theatre Company in 2009, sought the lead in his latest play, Gloria, which will open at Sydney’s Griffin theatre in 2016.

Gloria will premiere with an eight-strong cast directed by Griffin artistic director Lee Lewis. Dusseldorp, a “very brave and captivating and muscular actress”, plays a fading actor aloft in a penthouse as a civil war breaks out in the street below. The location is unspecified, with actors changing roles, says Andrews, in a kaleidoscopic rather than linear narrative.

Lewis insists Gloria is more than yet another meta play about theatre: for her, it’s an allegory for Australia’s “widening gap between the haves and have-nots”, and the potential of any society to tip into authoritarian control.

Andrews is less interested in binary debates or fashions for directors’ theatre versus writers’ theatre – Griffin hews to the latter, with its focus on exclusively Australian writing – aspiring instead to theatre that gives actors the chance to do “extreme and interesting” new work.

“I don’t write well-made, easily digestible plays,” he says. “All my plays have a kind of proposition about the theatre. The play will demand or suggest or invite with big questions from the people making it.”

Why premiere Gloria at the roughly 105-seat Griffin and not in bigger theatres such as Belvoir or STC’s Roslyn Packer?

“It’s been read by different companies. I think it’s important the play stand on its own two feet, so I don’t want to direct it in the first instance. I had conversations with other directors who really loved it, but Lee had a great passion for it and we both agreed the extreme intimacy of Griffin could offer wonderful things to the play.”

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ABC Announces A Second Season for Janet King

Image635712878997388598The ABC has announced that it has commissioned new series of five Australian dramas.

Word had already leaked that there would be a fourth season of The Doctor Blake Mysteries but now that series has been joined by more Jack Irish, Rake, Janet King, and The Code.

Crownies only lasted one season but spin-off Janet King, with Marta Dusseldorp as a Senior Crown Prosecutor, has been commissioned for a second season.

Last year’s first 8-part series rated strongly, averaging more than 800,000 viewers across the five capital cities.

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QVB in Sydney Celebrates Australian Arts & Culture Featuring Marta

The Queen Victoria Building (QVB) has released its most ambitious visual campaign to date.

The creative is part of a year-long campaign to celebrate Australian arts and culture communities.

The group portrait features a carefully curated range of key personalities, hailing from the realms of art, film, theatre, dance, writing and design.

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The cast includes actress Marta Dusseldorp, Archibald prize winner Vincent Fantauzzo, doyenne of Australian architecture Penelope Seidler AM and Artistic Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra Richard Tognetti AO.

From the Australian Ballet – Artistic Director David McAllister AM and Principle Dancer Amber Scott, feature alongside veteran actor Barry Otto and his daughter, film maker and actress Gracie Otto.

Author Miranda Darling, food writer and granddaughter of Margaret Fulton, Kate Gibbs, and representing the new generation of talent, young actress Miah Madden complete the group.

Ipoh Management GM Victor Gaspar said the campaign is in line with the centre’s positioning.

“The QVB’s iconic standpoint as the centre of Sydney CBD allowed us to reflect on what we feel is truly special about our city. Bringing together notable figures in the arts, whether they be established or up and coming, we hope to shine a light on the diversity of talent this country has to offer and to draw focus to the value culture adds to our society.”

Shot on location within the QVB’s The Tea Room, the group was photographed by Australian fashion photographer Georges Antoni.

Sydney Theatre Company’s esteemed set designer Alice Babidge created the elaborate backdrop.

The backdrop features an idyllic wooden rowboat named ‘Islay’ after Queen Victoria’s favourite canine companion, an ornate harp, trunks of ballet costumes, stacks of vintage books, towers of macarons and colourful peacocks.

To lead the arts and culture initiative, the QVB has partnered with the prestigious Australian Ballet and will host a costume exhibition later in the year, amongst other initiatives within the cultural schedule.

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Marta Wins AARCTA Best Actress Award for Janet King

Image635581990236412851Now that’s an award that’s richly deserved. Marta went up against some heavy duty Australian talent. It’s a shame they all couldn’t win because every single one of them is spectacular.

Congratulations Marta!

Janet King is a fantastic series and I hope it comes back from a second season. Marta is going to be busy with the new season of A Place To Call Home – Foxtel has picked up Season 3 and 4 so I’m not sure when/if Janet King will be back.