View in browser

Bessie Holland, Courtney Act, Brigid Zengeni and Matt Day in STC's Blithe Spirit. Photo: Rene Vaile Download images

9 February 2022

International drag sensation Courtney Act will make her Sydney Theatre Company debut alongside a spectacular cast of Australian comedy legends in STC’s upcoming production of Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the Sydney Opera House from 21 March.

STC Associate Director Paige Rattray is at the helm following the critical success of her recent productions Death of a Salesman and Triple X. Rattray’s production of Blithe Spirit promises to take Coward’s camp sensibilities to a whole new level in a contemporary take on this witty, hilarious classic.

Rattray has assembled a stellar cast to bring her vision to life, including stage and screen star Matt Day (The Deep Blue Sea), Nancy Denis in her STC debut, Bessie Holland (Cosi), Tracy Mann (Home, I’m Darling), Megan Wilding (Blackie Blackie Brown) and Brigid Zengeni (Death of a Salesman) alongside Courtney Act.

While staying true to Coward’s signature wit and its setting in the English countryside, Rattray said her production of Blithe Spirit was inspired by the "Met Gala crossed with Keeping Up With The Kardashians, a healthy dose of Will & Grace and big sprinkle of RuPaul’s Drag Race".

“We’re giving this play a facelift complete with botox and fillers,” Rattray said. “Originally written and staged in the 40s, our production is set in the present day to resonate with a contemporary audience but we haven’t lost any of the Coward flair, all of that fabulousness is still there."

Courtney Act said, after years of performing on stages and television screens the world over, it was about time she did a play and couldn’t think of a better fit than STC’s Blithe Spirit.

My acting career has peaked at its debut - I’m on a slippery slope to community theatre after this,” Courtney said.

“This play, cast and creative team are anything but blithe, audiences are in for a riotous and side-clenching night at the Sydney Opera House.”

Matt Day said he was “extremely excited to be working with Paige and this amazing cast, bringing this comedic gem to life and conjuring up as many laughs as humanly possible”.

Day plays Charles Condomine, a novelist who’s recently married his second wife Ruth after the tragic death of his first, Elvira (played by Act). In the hopes of gathering some material for his new book, Charles invites eccentric medium Madame Arcati (Zengeni) to his house. The couple and their droll friends expect a lark, and perhaps a few cheap scares. But the ritual goes mysteriously awry and Charles ends up with much more than he bargained for.

Ghostly, glamorous and more than a little mischievous, Elvira returns from the world beyond the veil, ready to wreak havoc on the ‘happily’ married couple.

STC’s Blithe Spirit is on at the Sydney Opera House’s Drama Theatre from 21 March to 14 May.


Media Enquiries:
Helene Fox, PR Manager
(02) 9250 1705
Emily Ritchie, Publicist (02) 9250 1703

Notes to Editors

Season dates and tickets

21 March - 14 May
Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House

Mon – Thu performances
Adult A Reserve $104
Seniors cardholder $99
Concession $78
Under 30 $54

Fri & Sat performances
All tickets $109

Preview performances
All tickets $54


Cast & crew credits

Director Paige Rattray
Designer David Fleischer
Lighting Designer Damien Cooper
Composer & Sound Designer Clemence Williams
Assistant Director Tait de Lorenzo

With Courtney Act, Matt Day, Nancy Denis, Bessie Holland, Tracy Mann, Megan Wilding, Brigid Zengeni

About Blithe Spirit

Blithe Spirit was written by Noël Coward. The play was first seen in the West End in 1941, creating a new long-run record for non-musical British plays of 1997 performances. It also did well on Broadway later that year, running for 657 performances. Coward adapted the play for film in 1945, starring Rex Harrison, and directed a musical adaptation, High Spirits, on Broadway in 1964. It was also adapted for television in the 1950s and 1960s and for radio. The play enjoyed several West End and Broadway revivals in the 1970s and 1980s and was revived again in London in 2004, 2011, 2014 and 2020. It returned to Broadway in February 2009 and was turned into a film in 2020.

About Paige Rattray 

Paige Rattray is STC Associate Director and has been since 2018. In 2022, Paige directed Glace Chase’s heart wrenching trans-love story Triple X and in 2021 she directed Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Paige has previously directed The Deep Blue Sea, How to Rule the World, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Black is the New White, Power Plays and Boys will be Boys for STC. Other work for STC includes being dramaturg on The Golden Age, Assistant Director on Speed-the-Plow, Arms and the Man, Battle of Waterloo and Travelling North and Director on the script workshops Rough Draft #31: Martyrs and Rough Draft #13: Underland. Rattray has also directed Scenes from a Marriage and Switzerland for Queensland Theatre.  

Paige is co-founder of independent theatre company Arthur, and was the 2011 Resident Director at Griffin Theatre Company as well as its 2010 Affiliate Director. Paige won Best Direction of a Mainstage Production in 2019 for The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Best Mainstage Production at the 2016 Matilda Awards for Switzerland, Best Production at the 2013 VCE Drama Awards and was the recipient of a 2015 Glorias Fellowship and a 2016 Mike Walsh Fellowship. She is a graduate of NIDA.

STC 2022

Blithe Spirit is part of STC’s Act 1 2022 season which also includes Triple X (at The Wharf until Feb 26) Grand Horizons (at the Roslyn Packer Theatre 18 Feb - 5 Mar), White Pearl (at The Wharf 11 Mar - 22 Apr) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (at the Roslyn Packer Theatre 28 Mar - 7 May). The 2022 Act 2 season will be launched on Thursday 17 February via livestream. Join us for the virtual launch here:

Australia Council for the Arts       NSW Government