The Secret River

The Secret River

Sydney Theatre Company
The Secret River by Kate Grenville
An adaptation for the stage by Andrew Bovell 
As part of Canberra Theatre Centre's Collected Works Australia 2013 

Two of Australia’s most revered artists come together for the first time to adapt Kate Grenville’s award-winning novel, The Secret River, in an epic stage production by Sydney Theatre Company.

Directed by Neil Armfield, and written by Andrew Bovell, this ambitious new play dramatises the story of two families divided by culture and land.

When convict William Thornhill is exiled from the stinking slums of early 19th century London and crosses the globe to New South Wales, he discovers that the penal colony offers something he had never dared hope for: a place of his own.

A stretch of land on the Hawkesbury River is Thornhill’s for the taking. As he and his family seek to establish themselves in this unfamiliar territory, they find they are not the only people to lay a claim to the land. The Hawkesbury is already home to a family of Dharug people, who are reluctant to leave.

As Thornhill’s attachment to the place and his dream deepens, he is driven to make an unspeakable decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

The Secret River is a Centenary of Canberra project, supported by the ACT Government and the Australian Government.

Season tickets on sale now, single tickets on sale from Monday 26 November 2012. For a Collected Works Australia 2013 booklet visit


Director: Neil Armfield
Artistic Associate: Stephen Page
Set Designer: Stephen Curtis
Costume Designer: Tess Schofield
Lighting Designer: Mark Howett
Composer: Iain Grandage
Sound Designer: Steve Francis

Iain Grandage
Trevor Jamieson
Jeremy Sims
Bruce Spence 

Commissioning Patrons:
David Gonski AC & Orli Wargon OAM, Catriona & Simon Mordant AM
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government's Major Festivals Initiative, managed by the Australian Council, its arts funding and advisory body, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festival, Sydney Festival, Perth International Arts Festival and the Centenary of Canberra.

The Secret River