Out of Joint Artistic Director Max Stafford-Clark will revisit Timberlake Wertenbaker's Olivier Award winning play, OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD, in a new production touring the UK this autumn. Looking at the first British convict colony to land in Australia, OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD will launch at the Octagon Theatre Bolton today, 3 September. The production will also visit London's newest venue, St James Theatre, in early 2013.
OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD takes place in Australia 1789: A boat full of murderers, thieves and marine officers arrive on a distant shore. Cast out from their native land, and forced to build a new country, the convicts and their jailers quickly learn that the shadow of home is never far away. In the midst of this, an ambitious young lieutenant, RalpH Clark, is set the task of directing a cast of dispirited convicts in the Restoration comedy 'The Recruiting Officer'. But with growing suspicion from his fellow officers, just two copies of the script, his leading lady facing the gallows, and an uncontrollable passion for one of his convict players, Ralph's – and Australia's – first theatre production is in trouble from the start.
OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD premiered at The Royal Court in 1998 under its then Artistic Director Max Stafford-Clark. Timberlake Wertenbaker was commissioned to write a play that would complement a revival of George Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer. Depicting true events, and based on Thomas Keneally's best selling novel The Playmaker, Our Country's Good received great critical acclaim, transferring to the West End and Broadway and winning the Olivier Award for Play of the Year and the New York Drama Circle Award for Best Foreign Play.
Max Stafford Clark is Artistic Director of Out of Joint, which he founded in 1993. He also formed Joint Stock Theatre group in 1974 following his Artistic Directorship of The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. From 1979 to 1993 he was Artistic Director of The Royal Court Theatre.
His work as a Director has overwhelmingly been with new writing, and he has commissioned and directed first productions by many of the country's leading writers including Caryl Churchill, David Hare and Mark Ravenhill.
Timberlake Wertenbaker is renowned as an experimental dramatist, adaptor, translator, and radio dramatist. Her plays include The Third, Abel's Sister, The Grace of Mary Traverse, Our Country's Good, The Love of the Nightingale, Three Birds Alighting on a Field, After Darwin, Galileo's Daughter, Jenufa and The Line. Her translations and adaptations include Marivaux's False Admissions, Sophocles' The Thebans, Euripides' Hecuba, De Filippo's Filumena and Anouilh's Wild Orchards.