Brenton Thomas, Cr Samantha McIntosh, Malcolm Roberts and Her Majesty’s Theatre manager Graeme Russell look forward to 2016.

ON FRIDAY Her Majesty’s Ballarat launched the new theatre season for 2016. From February to October, Her Majesty’s will present 21 events with something for everyone including theatre, music, family shows and drama.

Great drama runs throughout the 2016 Theatre Season. The drama starts with a production of the Obie Award winning 4000 Miles (18 and 19 March) a poignant and unsentimental family drama from one of America’s brightest playwrights Amy Herzog.

Queensland Theatre Company’s Country Song (22 April) a rollicking, toe-tapping celebration tells a fictionalised story wrapped around the life of Indigenous singing legend Jimmy Little pure escapist entertainment, revelling in the healing power of music. With a talented cast of six, who double up as a rocking band, this warm and witty yarn peppered with classic hits will make you laugh, cry, dance and sing along. Emily Brontë’s gothic masterpiece Wuthering Heights storms into her Majesty’s Ballarat (17 May) in a new adaptation from shakes & stir theatre co, the company behind the critically acclaimed productions of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. Featuring a breathtaking design and a stellar cast, shake & stir invites you to drop by the Heights and settle in for this classic story, retold. Bell Shakespeare has proven to be a success in Ballarat, and they return this year with a new production of one of Shakespeare’s most revered tragedies, Othello (28 July). A violent exploration of the thin line that separates love and jealousy, Othello is a relentless journey of vicious passion. Directed by Bell Shakespeare’s Artistic Director Peter Evans, this is a gripping production that will touch audiences to their core, as envy is a weapon wielded with brazen savagery, and the complex contradictory nature of humanity is tested. Opera is always popular in Ballarat and we are thrilled to announce that Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is returning to Her Majesty’s Ballarat on 30 October. Opera Australia also returns with The Marriage of Figaro (23 July) and The Chinese Tenors take to the stage to celebrate a mid-year Christmas on 30 June.

The theatre season wouldn’t be complete without a mix of musical theatre and spectacular local productions. Watch This’ production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company comes to Her Majesty’s Ballarat from the 3-4 June following a successful run at 45 Downstairs, Melbourne; and local talent shines with Ballarat LYRIC Theatre’s Rock of Ages (313 March) and BLOC Music Theatre’s new production of Mary Poppins (5-15 May)! Following the success in 2015 of The Boys in the Band, The Diamonds (2 April) bring the classic songs of songs Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, The Supremes, Donna Summer, The Pointer Sisters, Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and the Spice Girls alive with a live band and soaring vocals! On the other end of the musical spectrum, Joe Creighton steps Into The Mystic (15 April), exploring the work and music of Van Morrison.

Standup comedy returns to Her Majesty’s with the Aboriginal Comedy Allstars (13 February); the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow (27 May); and Class Clowns (March 7). These shows offer audiences a great chance to see not just some of Australia’s finest comics, but also watch brand new comic talent treading the comedy boards for the first time!

The season features three daytime music performances that includes: Big, Blonde and Beautiful (5 April) featuring the music of Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Doris Day and Dolly Parton; Night and Day (30 May), Gina Hogan return to Ballarat to perform the songs of Doris Day and Shirley Bassey; and Athol Guy – The Seekers Story (26 July), a personal, musical journey through the life and music of one of the founders of Australia’s most celebrated musical groups – The Seekers. Families and young people can enjoy shows throughout the season with performances for younger children that include: the third stage instalment of Andy Griffiths’ Treehouse series – The 52-Storey Tree House (15-16 March); Patch Theatre’s the mOOn’s a balloon (25 – 26 May) and a stage production of bestseller Hippo! Hippo! A BIG NEW Musical Adventure (27 – 28 June)

Following its incredibly successful 2015 as part of Ballarat’s’ ‘Season of the Arts’, the Ballarat Cabaret Festival will return during October 2016 Launching with another spectacular gala and some the best names Cabaret has to offer! Chair of Her Majesty’s, Cr Samantha McIntosh added it had been an exciting 2015 and looking to being an amazing 2016.

“There is a broad selection of events and it’s a season that i know we will all be enjoying as many parts as we possibly can,” she said.