New artistic director Gareth Machin opens his inaugural season at Southwark Playhouse with Toby Farrow's Kangaroo Valley, a production that transfers to the south London venue from Machin’s old haunt, Bristol Old Vic. Other season highlights include a visit from Tour de Force and Machin's own Southwark directorial debut, a revival of Arthur Miller's The Archbishop's Ceiling.

Written and directed by Farrow, Kangaroo Valley runs at Southwark from 24 March to 10 April 2004, following a season at the Bristol Old Vic studio earlier this year. It tells of pro swimmer, Jez Brenneman, who arrives from Cape Town and checks into an Aussie-filled Earl's Court hostel, where he prepares to embark on a whistle-stop tour of self-destruction.

After Kangaroo Valley Tour de Force's staging of Jean Genet's The Maids will visit Southwark from 13 April to 1 May 2004. This production sets the 1947 classic in a contemporary setting, exploring modern desires for those with money fame and glamour.

Tour de Force Theatre Company was founded by Peter Joucla has been touring new physical theatre productions of classic texts in both French and English for the past six years.

Machin's first production as artistic director of Southwark runs from 5 to 29 May 2004. In Miller’s The Archbishop's Ceiling, first staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1986, a leading dissident writer must decide whether to remain in the country after the only copy of his new novel is stolen by the secret police. Miller's play examines the erosion of personal integrity in the face of an overwhelming, unseen power.

Machin comes to Southwark after several years as an associate director at Bristol Old Vic, where he also served as acting artistic director before David Farr and Simon Reade took over in 2003.

- by Hannah Kennedy