Media Release:

It’s Tarantino meets Deadwood in the backblocks of 19th century Australia

If anyone can write a full-throttle drama of our colonial past, it’s the indomitable Leah Purcell.

Henry Lawson‘s story of The Drover’s Wife paints her stoic silhouette against an unforgiving landscape. Alone with her children and her dog, she stares down the serpent; it’s the frontier myth captured in just a few pages that vividly illustrates the hand-to-mouth existence of a drover’s family.

In Purcell’s new play the old story gets a very fresh rewrite. Once again the Drover’s Wife is confronted by a threat in her yard, but now it’s a man. He’s bleeding, he’s got secrets, and he’s black. She knows there’s a fugitive wanted for killing whites, and the district is thick with troopers, but something’s holding the Drover’s Wife back from turning this fella in…

Director Leticia Cáceres shapes plays around indomitable women like no one else. Here she reunites with Purcell after Belvoir’s 2011 sleeper hit The Dark Room.

In 2014 Purcell won The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award. Her prize was a commission to write this play. Belvoir and The Balnaves Foundation are proud to present the first production of a Balnaves Award-winning commission. The Balnaves Award has grown to become one of the most prestigious Indigenous writing awards in the country. This production marks a new chapter for the Award with commissioned plays making their way to the mainstage.

A taut thriller of our pioneering past, with a black sting to the tail, The Drover’s Wife reaches from our nation’s infancy into our complicated present. And best of all, Purcell’s playing the Wife herself.

Leah Purcell first showed what an amazing storyteller she is 14 years ago in Box the Pony, in which she told her own story… Since then she has become one of our finest actors…
The Australian