Best State Theatre Company shows to see in 2023

The State Theatre Company South Australia has a stellar lineup for their 2023 season. FIFTY+SA has compiled a list of their top five to see.

Edward Albee’s The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?

10 Feb — 25 Feb 2023
Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre

Martin has a marriage and life to envy. A loving wife, a loving teenage son and a celebrated career as an architect that is about to bloom even brighter with an offer to design a 27 billion-dollar dream city in the American Midwest.

Stevie loves Martin, deeply and their house is filled with wit and joy. Until…

As Martin prepares for a TV interview to salute his brilliance, he reveals a secret that could cause the pillars of that house to fall.

Edward Albee’s Tony Award-winning dark comedy masterpiece was a huge and Helpmann Award-winning success for State Theatre Company South Australia in the early 2000s but its tales of transgression, desire and betrayal still startle as if they were written yesterday.

In this shattering new production directed by Mitchell Butel (Girls & Boys), we welcome Don Hany, the star of Offspring and White Collar Blue, in the role of Martin, and in her first stage appearance in 25 years, the beloved Logie and AACTA award-winning star of Love My Way, The Secret Life Of Us and Bump, Claudia Karvan, as the fabulous and ferocious Stevie.

The Dictionary of Lost Words

22 Sep — 14 Oct 2023
Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre


n 1901, the word bondmaid was discovered to be missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. The Dictionary of Lost Words is the story of the girl who stole it.

South Australian novelist Pip Williams’ internationally bestselling book, comes to vivid life in this world premiere stage adaptation by South Australian playwright, Verity Laughton.

A best-selling multi-award winner (including the People’s Choice Award at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards) and chosen for the Reese Witherspoon Book Club, the book has been lauded as an “absorbing, quietly revolutionary novel”, “deeply, intrinsically kind (and) a profoundly comforting place to dwell” (The Age) and “a captivating and slyly subversive fictional paean to the real women whose work on the Oxford English Dictionary went largely unheralded.” (New York Times).

Motherless and ever curious, Esme spends her childhood in the Scriptorium – the “Scrippy”, a converted garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of lexicographers guided by Dr James Murray are gathering words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. She hides beneath the sorting table and catches a word on a “slip” as it falls and soon, she finds other words that have been neglected by the men. Here begins Esme’s collection of her own: the Dictionary of Lost Words.

As the years pass, Esme realises that little importance is placed on recording the words and meanings relating to women’s experiences and as her world expands and her circle of friends grows – actresses, suffragettes, market traders, workers, she realises the power in their silenced voices and decides to lend them hers. And on the way, she comes to understand the many meanings of the word “love”.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

25 Aug — 9 Sep 2023
Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre

It’s 1959. In a small bar in Philadelphia that’s seen better days, one of the greatest jazz singers of all-time, Billie Holiday walks onstage. Unbeknownst to her audience, it will be one of her last performances. The jazz trio start to play, her incomparable voice fills the room. The songs flow – Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do, What a Little Moonlight Can Do, Strange Fruit, Don’t Explain, God Bless the Child – but so do the stories. Tales of her youth and her heroes – of Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and her beloved mother, the Duchess. Hard times, happy times. Love, oppression, addiction but survival, courage and grace. And to the music she keeps returning: “Singin’ is livin’ to me”. With signature charm and wit, she laughs more than she cries, as she tells us how she came to be known as the great Lady Day.

It takes an extraordinary talent to capture another extraordinary talent and in Zahra Newman, audiences will find just that. After delighting audiences in leading roles onstage in shows like The Book of Mormon and A Raisin in the Sun and on-screen in Wentworth, Neighbours and Rosehaven, Newman’s talent and musical mastery takes full flight.

Prima Facie

28 Apr — 13 May 2023
Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre


Tessa is a gun. And at the top of her game.

A brilliant barrister who defends men charged with sexual assault, she is a gladiatorial master of emotions who can work a courtroom like no other.

But when the tables are turned, her words are called into question and her accusations are now in doubt. The legal system’s failure to provide a solid road to justice for women is exposed. And now it’s personal.

After gripping audiences all over Australia and recently, in the West End with Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer, South Australia gets its very own production. Fresh from his acclaimed version of Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mealor directs Caroline Craig (Underbelly and Eureka Day) in this heart-stopping one-woman tour de force.

Every Brilliant Thing

28 Apr — 13 May 2023
Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre


Sometimes the little things can create something big and beautiful.

A young boy attempts to bring his mother out of depression by making her a list of every brilliant thing in the world. Decades pass, the list grows and what was once a game eventually becomes a new way of looking at the world – a world where there is joy to be found in every corner of our world, if we can open ourselves to the possibility.

If you had to make a list, where would you start?
#1 Ice cream
#2 Water fights
#5 Things with stripes
#25 Wearing a cape
#314 The way Ray Charles sings the word ‘You’
#319 Laughing so hard you shoot milk out of your nose
#823 Skinny Dipping
#9998 Watching someone watch your favourite film

Duncan Macmillan’s acclaimed interactive comedy about family, love, loss and hope has delighted and moved audiences across the globe and heads to Adelaide in a new production helmed by Yasmin Gurreeboo (Decameron 2.0) and starring Jimi Bani (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Mabo).

It’s raw, real and intimate and although it may seem like a solo work, this is a show that involves all of its audience (in a non-scary way, you’ll love it!) to build bridges and mend hearts.

State Theatre Company South Australia


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    Made up of a small, tight knit team of writers and contributors who are passionate about all things FIFTY+ and the New Age. We love Adelaide and wider South Australia and sharing with you all of the l...


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