Australian works set for 2012 season

After 2011’s focus on European dramas, Sydney Theater Company artistic directors Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton are returning to Australian works for the 2012 season.

More than half of next year’s main stage season will be comprised of plays from Oz, including new works by Hilary Bell, Jonathan Biggins and Tim Winton.

Bell will world preem “The Splinter,” starring Erik Thomsen and Helen Thompson as parents trying to reconnect with their young daughter who comes home after a mysterious nine-month absence.

“Australia Day” is a laffer based on the real-life experiences of scribe Biggins who has been an Australia Day ambassador.

In Winton’s new drama, “Signs of Life,” Greta Scacchi plays a widow who lives on a remote farm and is visited by a pair of mysterious Aboriginal siblings. The play examines themes of grief and loss and is a distant relative to the Aussie author’s popular tome, “Dirt Music.”

Elsewhere in the season, Hugo Weaving will take to the stage in a new adaptation of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” with Pamela Rabe while Jack Thompson and Sandy Gore will lend their voices to Thomas Dylan’s “Under Milk Wood,” directed by Upton.

After a busy couple of years on the boards, Blanchett is taking a break from acting in the new season.

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