Black Swan State Theatre Company’s George Shevstov talks Endgame

Black Swan State Theatre Company (BSSTC) are exploring the absurd with their next production, Samuel Beckett’s iconic play Endgame.

The Nobel Prize award winning tragicomedy asks “is it the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?” in Beckett’s unique minimalist style.

Black Swan veteran George Shevstov returns to Beckett’s work with the company, first appearing in the group’s 1993 production of Waiting For Godot, once again teaming up with Director and BSSTC’s Founding Artistic Director Andrew Ross.

Shevstov caught up with OUTinPerth to reflect on his time with the company and his collaborations with Andrew Ross.

“We did a pretty incredible production of Waiting For Godot in 1993, which could have been a disaster because we decided to pull all of the seats out of the auditorium,” Shevstov laughed.

“But Andrew had that idea in his mind so that’s what we did.”

Shevstov, along with fellow Endgame stars Geoff Kelso and Kelton Pell, appeared together with Ross in the company’s inaugural production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in 1991. Shevstov says the company has stayed true to its roots over the years.

Caroline McKenzie and George Shevstov rehearse

“When Andrew Ross started it there was a huge indigenous component of the company which I thought was a really important thing. There was also an emphasis on West Australian literature as well as play writing,” he said.

“We did Shakespeare, we did Beckett, we did Patrick Marber, Geraldton novelist Randolph Stow, and later on Tim Winton. The connection with Western Australian writers, playwrights, artists… it was a great, extraordinary vision of what Western Australian theatre might become. Uniquely Western Australian.”

Beckett’s work is known for being one of the playwrights whose style sparked what would be later known as the Theatre of the Absurd, inspiring such others as Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard. Shevstov explains that while his text can be hard to consume, it is much more exciting to bring to life on the stage.

“The printed word is different from how plays are meant to be performed,” he said.

“In any kind of theatre, you don’t want to give the audience all the answers. I think mystery is good. The audience will perceive it in a different way and bring their experience to it and if there’s still a question mark or a mystery in it, I think that’s a good thing. That’s what I love about theatre, that not everything is explainable. That there’s something that can just stick in your heart and your soul.”

Black Swan State Theatre Company’s production of Endgame will be at the Heath Ledger Theatre from Saturday May 27th – Sunday June 11. Tickets and more information available from

Images:- Daniel James Grant