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The Secret River © Ryan Buchanan The Secret River | Photo: Ryan Buchanan

The Secret River

Sydney Theatre Company / Kate Grenville / Andrew Bovell / Neil Armfield

A dark, compelling award-winning drama adapted from Kate Grenville’s novel. 

Kate Grenville’s The Secret River is widely considered to be one of the most important Australian novels of the 21st century. Playwright Andrew Bovell has transformed the novel into a deeply moving, unflinching journey into Australia’s dark history.

Directed by Neil Armfield for Sydney Theatre Company, this multi-award-winning stage drama charts the story of two families divided by culture and land.

A desperate convict from the London slums, William Thornhill is transported to Australia for theft. Upon earning his pardon, he discovers that this new world offers something he didn’t dare dream of: a place to call his own. But as he plants a crop and lays claim to the soil on the banks of the Hawkesbury River, he finds that this land is not his to take. Its ancient custodians are the Dharug people.

With an ensemble cast of 22 and live music from composer Iain Grandage, this hauntingly poetic production from Sydney Theatre Company was conceived in collaboration with Aboriginal artists and is performed in Dharug as well as English.

The Secret River is a shattering, astonishingly beautiful piece of contemporary theatre, one that speaks directly to a modern world riven by mistrust of the other.

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2 Aug 7.30pm
Contains strong language and scenes of violence
Audio Described performance
10 Aug 1.30pm
Captioned performance
10 Aug 1.30pm
Touch Tour
10 Aug 12pm

By Kate Grenville
An adaptation for the stage by Andrew Bovell

Georgia Adamson Sal Thornhill
Joshua Brennan Dan Oldfield 
Toby Challenor Dick Thornhill 
Shaka Cook Ngalamalum
Marcus Corowa Wangarra/Branyimala
Nathaniel Dean William Thornhill 
Isaac Hayward Musician
Melissa Jaffer Mrs Herring 
Elma Kris Buryia
Ningali Lawford Wolf Dhirrumbin/Dulla Djin
Dylan Miller Narabi
Colin Moody Thomas Blackwell 
Jacob Narkle, Wesley Patten Garraway/Dulla Djin’s Child 
Rory Potter Willie Thornhill 
Jeremy Sims Smasher Sullivan
Bruce Spence Loveday 
Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner Yalamundi 
Matthew Sunderland Sagitty Birtles/Suckling/Turnkey 
Dubs Yunupingu Gilyagan/Muruli 

Neil Armfield Director
Stephen Page Artistic Associate
Stephen Curtis Set Designer
Tess Schofield Costume Designer
Mark Howett Lighting Designer
Iain Grandage Composer
Isaac Hayward Musical Director
Steve Francis Sound Designer
Geordie Brookman Tour Director
Matthew Whittet Dramaturg

The Secret River 2019 tour is supported by Ian Narev & Frances Allan, Gretel Packer and original commissioning patrons Catriona Mordant AM & Simon Mordant AM and David Gonski AC & Orli Wargon OAM.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative, managed by the Australia Council its arts funding and advisory body, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals Inc., Sydney Festival, Perth International Arts Festival and The Centenary of Canberra.

More information about some of the artists:

Sydney Theatre Company
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Kate Grenville

2-11 August 2019

This event was part of a previous International Festival and is therefore unavailable to book or watch. The 2021 programme will be announced in June.

★★★★★ A compelling historical epic

The Telegraph

★★★★ combines masterly storytelling with metaphorical resonance

the Guardian

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