A new production of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Sam Shepard’s True West will open in Brisbane next month.

The play is inspired by Shepard’s experiences of growing up on the border of the Mojave Desert, where alcoholism ran deep and the women were tough.

First performed in 1980, previous productions of the play have starred the likes of Tommy Lee Jones, Peter Boyle, John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, James Belushi, Bob Hoskins and Mark Rylance. Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C Reilly both received Tony nominations for playing the leads in an acclaimed Broadway run in 2000.

It’s a play with some pedigree, then, but the team responsible for this production — who were also responsible for two sell-out seasons of the Matilda Award nominated Sex With Strangers — seem up to the challenge.


Marcel Dorney (co-writer of La Boite’s The Tragedy of King Richard III) will direct a cast that includes Brisbane’s Lord Mayor’s Young and Emerging Artist winner Thomas Larkin as desert drifter Lee and Julian Curtis as his clean-cut academic brother, Austin. Local theatre darling Christen O’Leary rounds out the cast as their mother.

Set designer Genevieve Ganner (Heavenly Bodies and Tiptoe) leads a creative team that includes Jason Glenwright (lighting designer) and Dane Alexander (sound designer) from the Sex With Strangers team.

“This show will be a great example of the brilliance that can be achieved by the independent sector in Brisbane,” says Brisbane Powerhouse artistic director Kris Stewart.

True West will play at Brisbane Powerhouse from 17-28 August. Tickets are on sale now at brisbanepowerhouse.org.