Cate Blanchett's Sydney stage company links to UK, U.S.

Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:32am EDT
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CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) - An Australian theatre company run by Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett is joining forces with a British theatre troupe and a New York group to collaborate on productions internationally.

The Sydney Theatre Company, which is run by Blanchett and her playwright husband Andrew Upton, will link with London's Trafalgar Studios and New York's LAByrinth Theater Company, co-founded by actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in 1992.

Tim McKeough, a spokesman for the Sydney Theatre Company, said under this relationship the theatre groups would jointly develop new work, forming "an international creative bridge".

They may also work on international co-productions, artistic exchanges, readings and events.

"Over the years we have toured internationally with productions but this is the first time we have had a relationship around being an associate company," said McKeough.

The first work to get the collaborative treatment is "Riflemind", a play written by Upton about the turbulent reunion of a once-great rock band, which opens on Thursday at the Trafalgar Studios in London's West End.

The play is directed by Hoffman.

Blanchett, 39, and Upton took over as artistic directors at the Sydney Theatre Company in January this year, with the actress making it known that theatre is her main passion.

Blanchett, who won a supporting actress Oscar for "The Aviator", will next year tour the United States with "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams, directed by actor and author Liv Ullmann.

This production will open at Sydney Theatre in September 2009 and run at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. next October before moving to New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music in November.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Miral Fahmy)

<p>Cast member Cate Blanchett attends a news conference for the film "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" by U.S. director Steven Spielberg at the 61st Cannes Film Festival May 18, 2008. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier</p>