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Orange Is The New Black's Yael Stone To Appear In Belvoir's 2016 Season

5 September 2015 | 5:00 pm | Staff Writer

No prison oranges in this one.

Belvoir's first season under new Artistic Director Eamon Flack features Orange Is The New Black's Yael Stone and comedian Hannah Gadsby.

"There are angry plays, political plays, celebrations,' says Flack. "There are splendid big acts of community, and solo feats of daring. There are comedies, romances, fables, epics, whodunnits. There are lonely tales, vast canvases, humble undertakings, foolhardy undertakings - look, they're all foolhardy undertakings, it wouldn't be Belvoir otherwise."

Before the film adaptation, which begins production next month, Kate Mulvany's take on Craig Silvey's award-winning novel Jasper Jones, will be brought to the Upstairs theatre by director Anne Louise-Sarks, 2 January - 7 February. The play follows two teenage boys as they attempt to solve a crime. The Australian play confronts issues of racism and coming-of-age, featuring Mulvany herself, as well as Helpmann nominee Lasarus Ratuere, Tom Conroy and Matilda Ridgeway.

The Tribe, a 2015 Urban Theatre Projects production which debuted at Sydney Festival this year, will make its way to the literal backyards of Surry Hills, 19 January - 7 February (Belvoir are currently looking for host backyards). Based on Michael Mohammed Ahmad's book of the same name, and adapted by Ahmad and Janice Muller, who also directs, this production features Hazem Shammas (Mother Courage And Her Children) and Oonagh Sherrard, who will also compose the score, and tells the story of a young boy navigating a new country, with the assistance of his grandmother.

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Flack is at the helm of The Blind Giant Is Dancing by Stephen Sewell, 13 February - 20 March, Upstairs. The production, which grimly pulls a play which premiered in 1983 into the present, stars Stone and Dan Spielman, and its story of power struggles and dispassionate politics is looking particularly pertinent in the political climate of Australia in 2015/16.

The Great Fire by Kit Brookman will premiere Upstairs, 2 April - 8 May, featuring an ensemble cast that includes Peter Carroll, last seen in this year's Seventeen. The play depicts a family on Christmas, three generations clashing over changing social politics and expectations, and the shift in the Australian dream.

The Events will run Upstairs, 12 May - 12 June, before a run at Melbourne's Malthouse Theatre. Mid-season, droll, critically celebrated comedian Gadsby (Please Like Me), will temporarily take over the Upstairs theatre for four one-woman Dogmatic shows only, 20 - 22 May.

Lally Katz, whose The Cat played Belvoir Downstairs this year, wrote a role specially for Luke Mullins, last seen in The Glass Menagerie (which also receives a Malthouse run this year), in Back At The Dojo, 18 Jun - 17 July, Upstairs. The story is inspired by Katz' own parents, and her father's sensei.

Carroll will play Malvolio in Shakespeare's cross-dressing Twelfth Night, 23 July - 4 September, Upstairs, as directed by Flack, the third Shakespearean comedy he has produced for the company after 2010's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and 2011's As You Like It.

Leah Purcell's Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright's Award commission is Henry Lawson's The Drover's Wife, 17 September - 16 October, Upstairs, in which Purcell will star. Directed by Leticia Cáceres, this adpatation changes the story to one of woman-versus-fugitive, rather than the original woman-versus-serpent, illuminating uncomfortable truths about our colonial history, and its present.

Ruby's Wish, a success in 2014, has been revived for a Downstairs season, 21 September - 9 October. Recommended for ages six and up, the production is about finding your imagination, and features puppets, magic, beatbox and all the whimsy that fills little girls' heads. Downstairs will then host Title And Deed: Monologue For A Slightly Foreign Man by Will Eno, 13 October - 6 November, directed by Jada Alberts, and starring Jimi Bani as the titular man, The Traveller.

Colin Friels stars in 'the Irish Chekhov' Brian Friel's Faith Healer, directed by Judy Davis, 22 October - 27 November, Upstairs, as 20th century healer Francis Hardy whose healing touch is less than reliable. "He might be just another shyster, more showman than shaman...but sometimes Fantastic Francis actually does bring the healing touch."

To close the season, Seventeen playwright Matthew Whittet's Girl Asleep, runs 2 - 24 December, Upstairs, fresh from its season at Adelaide Festival. With director Rosemary Myers overseeing the action, Amber McMahon plays a teenager escaping the present and coming of age in her dreams. McMahon will be accompanied on stage by Whittet himself and Eamon Farren.

For more information, or to purchase a subscription, head to Belvoir's website.