Note from the Artistic Director

Programming an annual season of theatre is like doing a big jigsaw puzzle – there’s lots of pieces we have to try and fit together, and we never get to see the whole picture until it’s finished! So, here’s the brochure, sitting in front of me, and the picture is finally whole. This year, the one thing I see staring back at me is a collection of incredible characters.

In our 2017 Season, some great literary characters come to life. From two famous characters of classic French literature, the romantic Cyrano de Bergerac and the tragic Thérèse Raquin, to two Aussie teenagers searching for answers in a charming version of the classic Australian novel Jasper Jones, and a re-imagined version of Shakespeare’s ragtag troupe of amateur thespians in the silly romp The Popular Mechanicals.

There are characters that give us a window into the current issues of our society. The real-life (or is it urban legend?) Kurdish woman soldier ‘The Angel of Kobane’, is brought to the stage in the Edinburgh Festival hit, Angel. And a cavalcade of extraordinary characters shed light on everything from the centuries-long suffering of our First Nations people (The 7 Stages of Grieving), to how we think about the value of art (Bakersfield Mist), and how individuals deal with the changing face of a once-industrial community like Wollongong (Diving for Pearls).

A motley crew of characters will expose some fundamental human emotions. As one might expect, love gets quite an airing - a couple struggle with it in Shaun Parker’s hilariously physical Blue Love, and a surprising group of fantasy characters sing to us of love’s sweetness and heartbreak in our incredible new musical theatre work The Outside Man. Expectation, regret and joy are revealed through a series of significant birthday parties in the stunning ‘headphone verbatim’ piece Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday.

Oh, and then there’s also a big party in a tent! The inaugural Spiegeltent Wollongong season kicks off with the disco-fuelled VELVET, starring Australia’s much-loved diva Marcia Hines.

Theatre is very much a shared experience, so it isn’t only on the stage that you’ll find extraordinary characters. As you take your seat, look around you. Our community is filled with great characters, and a lot of them are Season Ticket Holders here at Merrigong!

So join us this year in celebrating the characters of the theatre – all of them, including you!

Artistic Director / CEO
November 2016

View the Merrigong 2017 Season Brochure here.