After six Sydney Theatre Awards nominations and a shared win for Best Actor in a Leading Role in an Independent Production in 2014, Sean Hawkins and Andrew Henry return to the Old Fitz Theatre stage to reprise their winning roles in Red Line Productions’ first show Howie the Rookie by Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe from May 17 for a limited season.

Howie The Rookie is a white-knuckle ride through a nightmare Dublin, where enemies and allies are interchangeable, where the most brutal events take on a mythic significance. The Howie Lee (Andrew Henry) gets dragged into a bizarre feud of honour involving a scabies-infested mattress against The Rookie Lee (Sean Hawkins), which spirals out of control and ends in his own personal tragedy. The Rookie has problems of his own: massively in debt to a terrifying gangland figure for killing his prized Siamese fighting fish, he steels himself for a hideous revenge, until he is championed from an unlikely quarter by his one-time enemy.

Andrew Henry and Sean Hawkins in Howie the Rookie (c) Kathy Luu.jpg
Andrew Henry and Sean Hawkins in Howie The Rooke. Image by Kathy Luu. 

Red Line Productions was formed in 2014 when actors Henry and Hawkins and producer/stage manager Vanessa Wright banded together to stage Howie The Rookie at the legendary pub theatre. Since then, the company has taken over the management of the venue and established the Old Fitz Theatre as one of Sydney’s theatre hotspots.

“Howie the Rookie was a widely lauded production that really is as complicated as two guys and two chairs,” said Henry. “We’re stoked that we have the opportunity to bring back the play that first started our journey at the Old Fitz Theatre and created us so many opportunities in the beginning. We’ve now built a strong audience, many who took a while to put their trust in the Fitz again, so it’ll be great to show them where it all started. Plus the audiences that saw it the first time round seemed to really love it, so we welcome them back too. It really is storytelling at its dangerous best.”

Andrew Henry and Sean Hawkins in Howie the Rookie - 2 (c) Kathy Luu.jpg
Andrew Henry and Sean Hawkins in Howie The Rookie. Image by Kathy Luu. 

Renowned stage actor Toby Schmitz will again direct Hawkins and Henry in the prized production, returning from South Africa between filming seasons of Michael Bay’s hit pirate drama Black Sails. Schmitz was last seen in Australian theatres in 2013, when he starred in Belvoir’s production of Hamlet and Sydney Theatre Company’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead before relocating to begin filming the television series.

“The monologues themselves are splendiferous; the performances are magic… You can see, smell, taste and feel every last moment.” – The Australian

“Howie the Rookie is poetry at its most tactile and radiant, and in this intelligently spare and beautifully performed production it is revealed as a rare feast of theatrical imagination.” – Stage Noise

“O’Rowe’s use of language is exhilarating, writing in a vibrant, robust, vital style that sings with a kind of blistering, slangy poetry… He creates such vivid, visceral images you feel you are there.” – The Sunday Telegraph

*Metamorphoses was originally scheduled to play at the Old Fitz Theatre at this time but it has now been postponed until 2017.

Henry this year starred alongside Yael Stone and Dan Spielman in Belvoir’s The Blind Giant is Dancing and can currently be seen on ABC’s Janet King and Hawkins has recently filmed roles on Home and Away and upcoming ABC/Sundance (USA) television drama Cleverman.



Written by Mark O’Rowe
Presented by Red Line Productions at the Old Fitz Theatre Directed by Toby Schmitz
With Sean Hawkins and Andrew Henry

Venue: Old Fitz Theatre, 129 Dowling Street (Cnr Cathedral Street), Woolloomooloo

Season: 17 May – 11 June 2016
Times: Tues-Sat 7.30pm, Sunday 5pm
Price: $38 Adult, $33 Concession, $28 Previews and Cheap Tuesday