Our Country s Good Revived Ten Years OnDate: 3 August 1998
The Young Vic is preparing to revive Timberlake Wertenbaker s award-winning Our Country's Good for the play's tenth anniversary. The new production of the play, which celebrates theatre's ability to transform communities, runs 16 September to 24 October 1998 (with previews from 10 September).
In 1788, the first convicts arrived in Australia from England following eight months and one week at sea. Over the next year and a half, the first antipodean penal colony is settled and, to celebrate the King's birthday, a group of convicts sets to work on a production of George Farquhar s Restoration comedy The Recruiting Officer. But with only two copies of the text, a subversive and largely illiterate cast, and a leading lady facing the gallows, Australia's first theatrical production is in trouble from the start.
In 1988, Max Stafford-Clark commissioned and directed Our Country's Good at the Royal Court, where it played in repertoire with The Recruiting Officer before transferring to the West End's Garrick Theatre. That year, it won the Laurence Olivier Play of the Year Award. The following year, the two productions opened in Sydney on the 200th anniversary of the convicts original production and played at the Wharf Theatre, just half a mile from the hut where the convict production took place.
Stafford-Clark, now artistic director of Out of Joint Productions, returns to revive and reassess the play which has become a major text on ‘A Level Theatre Studies, Drama and English syllabi. This will be the first co-production between the Young Vic and Out of Joint.
Design is by Julian McGowan, lighting by Johanna Town and sound by Mic Pool. The cast will include Michelle Austin, David Beames, Stephen Beresford, Declan Conlon, Jonathan Cullen, Ashley Miller, Ian Redford, Sally Rogers and Howard Saddler.