Blanchett plans ‘Magical’ season

Actress joins cast of Shakespeare's 'Roses'

SYDNEY — In her first season as co-artistic director of the Sydney Theater Co., Cate Blanchett will direct her first full-length production, Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking,” and join the cast of a new adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “The War of the Roses” play cycle.

The 2008 season for Australia’s preeminent subsidized theater company has 11 new productions, including seven new Australian plays. STC traditionally produces three a year, and only from well-established scribes.

The bold program, which includes historical epics and a handful of contempo plays, is the last for artistic director Robyn Nevin. Nevin will star in Blanchett’s “Magical Thinking” and a new adaptation of “The Women of Troy” by Barrie Kosky and Tom Wright, with Kosky to direct.

Other plays include scribe Daniel Keene’s new play “The Serpent’s Teeth,” performed by the STC Actors Co.; Tony McNamara’s “The Great,” following the rise and reign of Catherine the Great; Nigel Jamieson’s “Gallipoli,” which will incorporate the graduating class of the National Institute of Dramatic Arts; comic John Doyle’s political drama “Pig Iron People,” starring Max Cullen; and Nine Raine’s twentysomething tale “Rabbit,” with Brendan Cowell making his mainstage directorial debut.

Tom Stoppard’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll” and David Hare’s “The Vertical Hour” will be directed by Simon Phillips and Julian Meyrick, respectively.

STC will also stage the La Boite Theater Co.’s production of “The Narcissist” by Queensland scribe Stephen Carleton.

Blanchett’s husband and co-artistic director, Andrew Upton, has opted for a backroom role in 2008. Scribe’s second play, directed by Phillip Seymour Hoffman and starring Hugo Weaving, is playing STC’s Wharf 1 Theater.