FEATURE | Artshub, MKA Team

MKA Theatre announce new line up

MKA Theatre farewell co-founder Glyn Roberts and announce a bold expansion of their directorial team.

MKA Theatre of New Writing pride themselves on artistic bravery. The end of 2013 will see the farewell of co-founder, Glyn Roberts, and a bold expansion of their directorial stables.

Roberts, one half of the original creative nucleus of the company, has accepted a position at La Boite Theatre in Brisbane. The other half, Creative Director Tobias Manderson-Galvin will take up the MKA leadership reigns and oversee a significant expansion of the company.

The trajectory of MKA is quite remarkable; what started as a tiny theatrical seed in Richmond has expanded into a company with their sights squarely set on, as they put it, ‘Northcote to New York’.

A focus on the craft of writing shall remain the company’s ethos. ‘The vision is maybe greater, but the essence of the company and the idea behind it is the same,’ Manderson-Galvin tells ArtsHub, ‘the core is writers and looking after writers is still the same focus.’

Invited to be the Theatre Company in Residence at the recent Melbourne Writers Festival, at one point Manderson-Galvin grabbed one of the microphones at a public policy panel and began reciting from Nineteen Eighty Four.

‘It was visceral,’ he says of the reaction. ‘I don’t think everyone got it…I thought it was a really insightful work of political satire myself.’ This kind of boldness is perhaps the main tenet of the company’s enduring success.

‘Melbourne kind of thinks of itself as kind of the literary city’ says Manderson-Galvin, ‘it makes sense that it should exist here,’ he says of MKA’s brand of literary theatre. ‘The city wants it to happen, and nationally as well, people are interested in it as an idea.’

Glyn Roberts says he is saddened to leave the company, but also equally as satisfied with the stature of MKA, ‘what started out as a churlish idea shared by two even more churlish playwrights has in the past 4 years developed into one the most impressive and important independent theatre companies in Australia and of this I am very proud.’

A talented crew will fill the MKA roster throughout 2014. New Co-Creative Director, John Kachoyan, is coming from a year as resident director at Bell Shakespeare. He is also responsible for the tireless promotion of new Australian work throughout the UK via his company Iron Bark.

‘I’m thrilled to be joining the company as it continues to place playwrights at the centre of brave new works,’ says Kachoyan. ‘Writers are what keep me coming back to the theatre…they’re at the centre of the work I make and the theatre I see.’

Critic and academic, Jana Perkovic will remain as MKA’s Literary Manager. Director Kat Henry (About Tommy, Foxfinder) will join MKA as Resident Director.

International Fellow of Shakespeare’s Globe Mark Wilson joins the company as newly announced position, Resident Dramaturg. David Finnigan, former director and founder of Crack Theatre Festival will join MKA as International Creative Associate. Eric Gardiner will join the company locally as Creative Associate.

Roberts will not disappear from the company completely, ‘MKA has been such a huge part of my life for the last 4 years,’ he says, ‘I shan’t be pulling my finger all the way out just yet but shall stay attached to the company…keeping an eye on the big picture for MKA from my new perch up north.’

(Pictured: The new MKA team shall take up the artistic reigns by the end of 2013.)