With his trademark wit and sharp observations, David Williamson exposes the abrasive personalities of revered scientific giants – even geniuses are not infallible!

Overview

Petty politics, inflated egos and fierce rivalries almost jeopardise one of the greatest discoveries in human advancement; Sir Issac Newton’s laws of motion.

Under the orders of pompous King Charles II (Sean O’Shea, THE RASPUTIN AFFAIR), determined young astronomer Edmund Halley (Rowan Davie) must wrangle the secrets of the universe from the brain of capricious and contrary Newton.

It may be 1684, the Dawn of Enlightenment, but Williamson’s comic re-imagining through a contemporary lens puts the focus firmly on the human tale of rivalry and discovery, of personal trials against a corrupt establishment, of self-doubt versus arrogance, and faith versus reason. NEARER THE GODS is a gripping and blackly funny drama about how one of the greatest moments of scientific illumination almost didn’t happen.

Ticket Prices

For group bookings of 10+, please call Box Office (02) 8918 3400 or email boxoffice@ensemble.com.au.

Prices correct at the time of publication and subject to change without notice. Exact prices will be displayed with seat selection. $6 transaction fee applies.

2021 SINGLE TICKETSPREVIEWSIN SEASON
FULL PRICE$77$82
SENIORS CARD$74$79
PENSIONER$70$75
30 OR UNDER$38$43
FULL-TIME STUDENT$38$43
MEAA/AWG$38$43
SCHOOL GROUPS$25$25
GROUP 10-19$74$79
GROUP 20+$70$75
Reviews

"Enchanting" "Sometimes a single performance lights up a theatre ... and Sean O’Shea revels in Williamson’s ripest wit as King Charles" "A worthy production of a play that animates the pivotal interaction between some truly fascinating people." Sydney Morning Herald

"Highly entertaining" "Walking out of Kirribili’s bustling Ensemble Theatre atrium ... ‘I loved it’ was heard rebounding eagerly from all directions." Limelight Magazine

★★★★★ "sharp and highly nuanced" "unfrilly and truly witty ... a dark comedy" Arts Hub

“Chalk it up alongside brecht’s life of galileo as one of the greatest in the science-play genre. it’s that good.” The Australian

“[Williamson is] our greatest dramatic entertainer.” The Australian Financial Review

"Director Janine Watson doesn’t miss a beat in ensuring that the black humour of Williamson’s lines is delivered forcefully ... the Ensemble made the small space work its magic." City Hub Sydney

Cast & Creatives
David Williamson

David Williamson

Playwright

David Williamson is Australia’s best known and most widely performed playwright.

Some of his more than forty-five produced plays include THE REMOVALISTS, DON’S PARTY, THE CLUB, TRAVELLING NORTH, THE PERFECTIONIST, SONS OF CAIN, EMERALD CITY, MONEY AND FRIENDS, BRILLIANT LIES, DEAD WHITE MALES, AFTER THE BALL, THE JACK MANNING TRILOGY, THE GREAT MAN, UP FOR GRABS, SOULMATES, SCARLETT O’HARA AT THE CRIMSON PARROTT, NOTHING PERSONAL, WHEN DAD MARRIED FURY, MANAGING CARMEN, CRUISE CONTROL, RUPERT, DREAM HOME, JACK OF HEARTS and ODD MAN OUT. His plays have been translated into many languages and performed internationally, including major productions in London, Los Angeles, New York and Washington (THE CLUB in 1979 and RUPERT in 2014 at the Kennedy Centre as well as a season at the Theatre Royal, Sydney). UP FOR GRABS went on to a West End production starring Madonna in the lead role. David’s screen adaptations of his own plays include THE REMOVALISTS, DON’S PARTY, THE CLUB, TRAVELLING NORTH, EMERALD CITY, along with his original screenplays for feature films including LIBIDO, PETERSEN, GALLIPOLI, PHAR LAP, THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, and BALIBO (as co-writer) and for television he adapted ON THE BEACH.

Some of David’s many awards include 12 Australian Writers’ Guild Awards, 5 Australian Film Institutes’ Awards for Best Screenplay and, in 1996, the United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Award. David has been named one of Australia’s Living National Treasures.

Janine Watson

Janine Watson

Director

Janine was a recipient of the inaugural Sandra Bates Directing Award. For Ensemble Theatre she was Assistant Director on Nina Rayne’s TRIBES and Alan Ayckbourn’s RELATIVELY SPEAKING. She also directed a rehearsed reading of Michael Gow’s AWAY. Janine will direct Bell Shakespeare’s 2018 In-Theatres education production of ROMEO AND JULIET which will be performed at the Sydney Opera House and Vic Arts Centre. She has been a director for Bell’s ACTORS AT WORK program from 2014-2017. She has directed abridged versions of ROMEO AND JULIET, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, HAMLET and MACBETH. For The Old Fitz Janine has directed CRIMES OF THE HEART (2017), DOLORES (2015 co-directed with Kate Box) and INFINITY TASTER (2015). For Melbourne Fringe she directed AGATHA (2010).

Janine is a graduate from the National Theatre Drama School. Her most recent acting credits include, for Television: THE CODE (Shawn Seet). Feature Film: THAT’S NOT ME (Gregory Erdstein). Theatre: A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE (Iain Sinclair); ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, THE DREAM (Peter Evans) ANTIGONE (Damien Ryan), THREE SISTERS (Kevin Jackson); THE HAPPY PRINCE, DRACULA, DANGEROUS LIAISONS (Stephen Nicolazzo); Janine won the GLUG Award for Best Supporting Actress for A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, and was nominated for a Sydney Theatre Award for the same show. She was nominated for a Green Room award for Best Actress for her work in MKA’s TRIANGLE.

Rachel Chant

Rachel Chant

Assistant Director
Violette Ayad

Violette Ayad

Cast
Jemwel Danao

Jemwel Danao

Cast
Rowan Davie

Rowan Davie

Cast
Gareth Davies

Gareth Davies

Cast
Sean O’Shea

Sean O’Shea

Cast
Sam O’Sullivan

Sam O’Sullivan

Cast

Originally from Perth, Sam completed a Bachelor of Arts at Curtin University, majoring in Film and Television before moving to Sydney to attend the National Institute of Dramatic Art.

Since graduating, Sam’s theatre credits include the HOBO Collective’s MEN WITHOUT SHADOWS, Toby Schmitz’s, CAPTURE THE FLAG, the 2011 JUST FOR LAUGHS COMEDY GALA, the Rodney Seaborn Award winning play, SPROUT, Australian Youth Workshop’s SHAKESPEARE ON TRIAL, Pantsguys’ multi-award winning production of Simon Steven’s, PUNK ROCK, Cathode Ray Tube’s A STEADY RAIN, POSTNUPTIALS for AnotherBrightIdea and the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival, PLAYHOUSE for NIDA and Stories Like These, THE REMOVALISTS for The Rock Surfers, HILT for Mirror Mirror, MUSIC for Stories Like These and Griffin Independent, CONSTELLATIONS for the Darlinghurst Theatre Company, PLATONOV for Mophead Productions, KILL THE MESSENGER for Belvoir St Theatre, MY ZINC BED and A HISTORY OF FALLING THINGS for Ensemble Theatre and JOURNEY’S END for Cross Pollinate Productions. His screen credits include short films LITTLE LOVE, SIMPLETON, ZOMBIE CASE STUDY, DASH and BACKPACK and TV series BLACK COMEDY, WONDERLAND, PACKED TO THE RAFTERS, HOME & AWAY and FAST TRACKS.

As a writer, his first full-length play, THE BLOCK UNIVERSE (OR SO IT GOES) premiered in 2016 at the Old 505 Theatre. Later that year, Sam was commissioned in the New Fitz Writing Program, leading him to write THE WIND IN THE UNDERGROUND, which premiered in May, 2017.

Sam was nominated for Sydney Theatre Awards for his performances in PUNK ROCK and JOURNEY’S END and THE BLOCK UNIVERSE was nominated for Best Independent Production.

Shan-Ree Tan

Shan-Ree Tan

Cast
Lloyd Allison-Young

Lloyd Allison-Young

Understudy
Claudia Ware

Claudia Ware

Understudy
Hugh O’Connor

Hugh O’Connor

Set & Costume Designer
Veronique Benett

Veronique Benett

Associate Set & Costume Designer
Matt Cox

Matt Cox

Lighting Designer

 

 

Clare Hennessy

Clare Hennessy

Composer & Sound Designer
Meg Stephens

Meg Stephens

Stage Manager
Alexi Woronowicz

Alexi Woronowicz

Assistant Stage Manager
Renata Beslik

Renata Beslik

Costume Supervisor
COVID Safety Measures

Your safety is our priority so there will be some additional measures in place including requiring all patrons to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and the wearing of masks at all times.

Thanks for your support and understanding.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR COVID SAFE PLAN

Playwright's Note

Isaac Newton gave the world the greatest leap in knowledge we’ve ever been gifted. He showed that gravity wasn’t just some odd little local force that pulled apples to the ground but the powerful invisible glue that stretched to infinity and held our whole universe together.

What isn’t as well known is the intense drama surrounding the discovery. Drama which almost stopped it happening. The problem was two fold. Newton had one of the most powerful brains of all time, but just when that brain was needed he was on the verge of becoming unhinged. Secondly he had a deadly rival, Robert Hooke, determined to cripple Newton’s efforts. In the end it fell to two of history’s great heroes, Edmund Halley and his wife Mary to sort the mess out.

I couldn’t resist this story as it is a startling and blackly comic example of the fact that being brilliant, as Newton and Hooke both were, doesn’t mean you can’t also be vain, paranoid, ridden with competitive jealousy and on occasions just plain stupid. The heights of human achievement and the depths of petty bastardry can coincide in the same people.

David Williamson (1 Feb 2022)

Special performance dates

Please use the calendar above to select your date and book tickets.

Audio Described

  • Thu 7 Apr 11am
  • Sat 23 Apr 3.30pm

Tactile Tours are available 1 hour prior to Audio Described performances, please contact the Box Office to book.

Q&A Session

  • Fri 18 Mar 8pm
  • Tue 29 Mar 11am

Free Teen

  • Wed 20 Apr 7.30pm
Photo Gallery

Photography by Prudence Upton

Watch the Trailer

Behind the Scenes Experience

Director at Work

As part of a small group, observe Director Janine Watson at work in the rehearsal room and see NEARER THE GODS come to life.

NEARER THE GODS with Janine Watson
Date: Thu 10 Feb 2022
Time: 4pm – 5.30pm

BOOK NOW

This Director at Work session is proudly supported by Emma Hodgman and John Coorey.

Download Your Program

Discover more about NEARER THE GODS with our digital program. It’s packed full of info about the show including notes from David Williamson AO and Director Janine Watson, as well as a synopsis, cast & crew, photos and more!

DOWNLOAD YOUR PROGRAM