Australian Olympian Matthew Mitcham is returning to acting, with a role in a gay Australian play on a UK stage.
These days, the gay Aussie is based in London. This week Matthew announced he’ll make his UK acting debut in a revival of the Australian play Strangers in Between.
The play, by Aussie playwright Tommy Murphy, tells the story of young gay man Shane, who runs away from his conservative hometown to Sydney.
In the big city, he meets two strangers who become his chosen family. Peter is a kind-hearted older man who helps him find his way and Will is a handsome and confident lover who challenges him to grow.
Matthew will play two roles in the show, Will, as well as Ben, another of Shane’s lovers.
“I’ve finally broken into British Theatre… playing not one but TWO characters,” Matthew wrote on Instagram.
Strangers in Between is described as “a captivating Australian classic” that offers “an unflinching look at the highs and lows of growing up gay in modern Australia, bursting with laugh-out-loud one liners, simmering sexual tension and heartfelt confessions”.
The play was first performed in Sydney in 2005 and won a big NSW award at the time.
Since then, the play has been staged in various venues across Australia and the UK, with different casts and directors.
Matthew Mitcham toured his cabaret life story in 2014
The Brisbane-born athlete became the first openly gay male Olympic champion with his gold medal win at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Matthew Mitcham is no stranger to the theatre. He adapted his 2012 autobiography Twists and Turns into a cabaret show he toured Australia.
Matthew candidly shared his post-Olympics battles with drug and alcohol addiction in the book.
In January, Matthew told his Instagram followers he was officially “seven years clean and sober”.
“It has been seven years since I put anything stronger than a Panadol in my body, and I am without a shred of doubt the happiest and healthiest I have ever been,” he wrote at the time.
“Not everyone needs sobriety, but I did because I was dependent on external things to solve internal issues.
“And though I still have internal issues, I now have internal solutions.
“If one day you wake up and think ‘enough’s enough’ like I did seven years ago, just know that there is lots of help available if you ask for it.”
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