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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

'Come From Away' Will Restart Its Sydney Season for Fully Vaccinated Audiences in October

The Broadway smash, which tells the true story of 7000 air passengers who became grounded in Canada after September 11, was forced to close when lockdown began.
By Sarah Ward
September 20, 2021
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By Sarah Ward
September 20, 2021
  shares

Already an enormous success on Broadway, in London's West End and in Melbourne, Tony and Olivier award-winning musical Come From Away is bringing its remarkable true tale to Sydney — again. Based on real post-September 11 events, the acclaimed production will return to the city to resume its story of kind-hearted charm, after initially opening back in June. And, it'll only be welcoming in vaccinated patrons.

Like everything in the city, Come From Away was forced to close when lockdown hit. So, it knows the impact the pandemic has been having on theatre productions from firsthand experience. Actually, this'll be the show's second Sydney comeback, after it was first due to head up from Melbourne in 2020, but was then postponed for obvious reasons.

The show will restart its Sydney season on Wednesday, October 20, with tickets now on sale for performances up until Sunday, November 28. Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will be required to attend a Come From Away performance, and the production also has a mandatory vax policy for its cast and crew.

The planned reopening is in line with the New South Wales Government's roadmap for transitioning out of lockdown, which sees theatre shows start again when 70-percent of eligible NSW residents have had both jabs — which is expected in mid-October. And, the production will be able to welcome in a 75-percent capacity audience.

If you aren't familiar with the musical's plot or the actual events that inspired it, it's quite the exceptional story. In the week after the September 11 attacks in 2001, 38 planes were unexpectedly ordered to land in the small Canadian town of Gander, in the province of Newfoundland. Part of Operation Yellow Ribbon — which diverted civilian air traffic to Canada en masse following the attacks — the move saw around 7000 air travellers grounded in the tiny spot, almost doubling its population. Usually, the town is home to just under 12,000 residents.

To create Come From Away, writers and composers Irene Sankoff and David Hein spent hundreds of hours interviewing thousands of locals and passengers, using their experiences to drive the narrative — and, in many cases, using their real names in the show as well. The result is a musical not just about people coming from away (the term that Newfoundlanders use to refer to folks not born on the island), but coming together, all at a time when tensions were running high worldwide.

Since being workshopped in 2012, having a run in Ontario in 2013, then officially premiering in San Diego in 2015, Come From Away has become a global smash hit. After opening on Broadway in 2017, it was still running before the theatre district closed due to COVID-19. The musical wowed crowds in the West End, too — and, when it first opened in Melbourne in July 2019, it became the Comedy Theatre's most successful musical in the venue's 91-year history.

Along the way, the show has picked up a Tony Award for best direction of a musical, six other nominations, and four Olivier Awards out of nine nominations.

Come From Away will return to Sydney's Capitol Theatre from Wednesday, October 20 for vaccinated patrons only. For further information — or to buy tickets for performances up until Sunday, November 28 — visit the musical's website.

Images: Jeff Busby.

Published on September 20, 2021 by Sarah Ward

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