The State Theatre Company of South Australia (STCSA), formerly the South Australian Theatre Company (SATC), is South Australia's leading professional theatre company, and a statutory corporation. It was established as the official state theatre company by the State Theatre Company of South Australia Act 1972, on the initiative of Premier Don Dunstan.
Many of the performances are staged at the Dunstan Playhouse and Space Theatre at the Adelaide Festival Centre. As of 2019 the artistic director is Mitchell Butel. Notable actors, writers and directors, working with the Company have included Patrick White, Neil Armfield, Ruth Cracknell, Andrew Bovell, Judy Davis, Gale Edwards, Mel Gibson, Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sharman, Hugo Weaving, Elena Carapetis and John Wood.
The South Australian Theatre Company (SATC) was established in 1965 under the artistic direction of John Tasker. Tasker directed 10 plays before clashing with the Board and leaving in 1967. Actor Leslie Dayman took over from Tasker and Peter Batey followed Dayman.
The date of establishment as the state theatre company dates from the State Theatre Company of South Australia Act of 1972, an initiative of then Premier Dunstan. The name of the company was changed to its current name in 1978[Note 1] as a reflection of this Act. The director of the company in its inaugural year was George Ogilvie.
In 1974, the SATC became the inaugural resident theatre company of the Adelaide Festival Centre, performing mostly in The Playhouse (later The Dunstan Playhouse and still the company's primary venue), and was the first state theatre company in Australia to hold its entire operations in one purpose-made building.
In 1977, Magpie Theatre was established as a theatre in education (TIE) branch of STCSA, for young people. After 20 years and numerous productions, it was terminated in 1997, partially due to loss of funding after reconstruction of Arts SA.
Under the artistic direction of Jim Sharman, the company was renamed Lighthouse from 1982-1983, operating as an ensemble theatre company with twelve actors: Robynne Bourne, Peter Cummins, Melissa Jaffer (replaced in 1983 by Jacqy Phillips), Alan John, Gillian Jones, Melita Jurisic, Russell Kiefel, Stuart McCreery, Robert Menzies (replaced by Robert Grubb), Geoffrey Rush, Kerry Walker and John Wood.
The company was subtitled Australian Playhouse from 1996-1997 during the tenure of Chris Westwood, the Company's first female Executive Producer, appointed in 1993. She aimed at presenting only Australian works until the end of the century; however, she resigned at the end of 1997.
The company's main venue is still the Dunstan Playhouse, but it also uses the Space Theatre, the Royalty Theatre in Angas Street, Adelaide, Her Majesty's Theatre in Gouger Street, the Odeon Theatre in Norwood, the Matthew Flinders Theatre at Flinders University and the Keith Michell Theatre in Port Pirie, South Australia.
Shows which have been developed by and/or have had their world premiere at STCSA include:
In addition, the company supports new work through its annual Young Playwrights' Award (formally Young Guns competition) for writers under 25, offering dramaturgy and a professional reading to the winning script, and the Jill Blewett Playwright's Award for the Creative Development of a play script by a South Australian Writer, presented at Adelaide Writer's Week during the Adelaide Festival.