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Tim Finn Leads Malthouse Theatre 2016 Season Announcement

31 August 2015 | 8:00 pm | Staff Writer

Tim Finn, porn and Tolstoy

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The full Malthouse Theatre program for 2016, and the first from incoming Artistic Director Matthew Lutton, has been announced tonight, and includes a Helpmann Award winner, the music of Tim Finn, teenagers, porn and much more.

"It's a season that will ignite heated debate about sex, death and revolution, and bring a wide range of communities together through new works created by independent and international artists," said Lutton.

The centrepiece of the program is The Fiery Maze, 18 August - 4 September at Beckett Theatre, which pulls together the music of Tim Finn with the poetry of Dorothy Porter, and was originally conceived bythe pair in 1994 as a 'rock concert album'. Finn performs on stage with Brett Adams and singer-songwriter Abi Tucker, under the direction of Anne-Louise Sarks.

The season opens with the world premiere of cabaret Meow Meow's Little Mermaid, the second part in Meow Meow's 'Little' trilogy, after 2011's Meow Meow's Little Match Girl. Acting alongside Meow Meow at Merlyn Theatre will be a collection of cardboard cut-out princes, as well as Packed To The Rafters' Hugh Sheridan. 28 January - 14 February.

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Picnic At Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay is adapted by Tom Wright, and directed by Malthouse Artistic Director Matthew Lutton. This world premiere at Merlyn Theatre follows five performers attempting to solve the mystery of three schoolgirls and a teacher who vanished in 1900. 26 February - 20 March.

The one-man show starring British comedian Jonny Donahoe, Every Brilliant Thing, by UK playwright Duncan MacMillan, will be the first production to grace the Beckett Theatre stage. The hit on Edinburgh and New York stages follows a young boy, and the man he will become, processing tragedy, and finding the joy in the seemingly insignificant. 8 - 20 March.

The Glass Menagerie makes it way from a critically acclaimed, Helpmann Award-winning season at Sydney's Belvoir Street Theatre in 2013 to Merlyn Theatre. Starring Luke Mullins and Pamela Rabe in Tennessee Williams' what The Music described as "part-theatre, part-cinema, thick with tension and a sense of mood, of futility", 18 May - 5 June.

The Australian premiere of Scottish playwright David Greig's The Events takes place 21 June - 10 July at Merlyn Theatre. The acclaimed play is a response to the tragic events in Norway in 2011, when a white supremacist bombed government buildings in Olso, and shot and killed 69 adolescents on Utøya island.

From 5 - 24 July at Beckett Theatre, Come Away With Me To The End Of The World by independent theatre group Ranters Theatre invites audiences to eavesdrop on the intimate conversations of three characters. The production features design from award-winning artist Callum Morton.

Edward II by Anthony Weigh revitalises Christopher Marlowe's 16th century play, discarding the Elizabethan language in which the original was written and taking the play into the 21st century. The story of a leader comes under fire for his relationship with another man is directed by Malthouse AD Matthew Lutton.

Developed from interviews with anonymous boys aged between 12 and 16, Gonzo explores the relationship of teenage boys to internet porn, and what the effects of its accessibility and increasingly graphic content. Directed by Clare Watson, and created with St Martins Youth Arts Centre, the work is recommended for ages 18 and over, and runs at Beckett Theatre, 21 September - 1 October.

As part of Melbourne Festival 2016, from 18 - 30 October at Merlyn Theatre, War And Peace (Around A Kitchen Table) is Berlin theatre collective Gob Squad's take on the classic work by Leo Tolstoy. The live video performance incorporates footage from inside and outside the theatre in order to illuminate just how much the actors and audience resemble Tolstoy's characters.

The final production of the season, Blaque Showgirls stars Love Child's Miranda Tapsell and runs 11 November - 4 December at Merlyn Theatre. It's the latest work from Nakkiah Lui, the writer of Blak Cabaret and Black Comedy, and also features dramaturgy from Declan Greene of DIY theatre collective Sisters Grimm, exploring issues of race, culture cache and show business.

On top of the theatre program is a series of artist-curated events, designed to jump off of the themes in the main program: David Schlusser's Valentine's Day piece, Schmaltz, running 12 - 14 February; Female Director In Residence Samara Hersch's The Dybbuck, a piece inspired by Jewish folklore, 12 - 14 April; Felix Ching Ching Ho's Approximate Translation, a combination of Cantonese opera, Chinglish and poetry, on 25 May; and The Rabble, off the back of a successful run at Dark Mofo, performing "extreme acts of magic" In The Bleak Midwinter, 16 - 18 Jun.

And if that wasn't enough, there'll be three talks from local writers: Brian Lobel's Purge, about unfriending your Facebook friends, 30 Mar - 3 Apr; Ross Mueller's I Can't Even, monologues written in preparation for the Federal election, 28 Apr - 1 May; and Hannie Rayson's Hello, Beautiful!, selected stories from her memoir, 12 - 15 May.

For more information, or to buy a 2016 subscription, head to the Malthouse Theatre's website.