One of eight children in an Irish Catholic family, Murphy says that he grew up 'in an arena of constant performance and mimicry' (Murphy's cv, 2005). At the age of sixteen he booked a local hall in Queanbeyan and put on a staged reading of his first play, For God, Queen and Country, which dealt with homosexuality in a small rural town. It was afterwards performed by Canberra Youth Theatre and won awards including the Sydney Theatre Company's Young Playwrights' (ICI) Award.
Tommy Murphy was named Singapore Airlines Young Shakespearian of the Year in 1997. In the same year he was chosen to represent Australia at the 1998 United Nations International Youth Conference in The Hague in July and won the Sydney Theatre Company award for young playwrights.
He attended Sydney University and became President of the Sydney University Dramatic Society, where he directed a variety of works including The Operating Theatre Festival three years running and three 24 hour non-stop plays involving up to 200 actors each time. He graduated from the NIDA Directing course in 2004, and as well as continuing to write plays, he has also directed his own work and that of other dramaturgs. He has adapted works by Marlowe and Shakespeare for the Australian Theatre for Young People, and in 2004-2005 he was one of five Emerging Writers in Residence at the Griffin Theatre Company. Murphy's Strangers in Between was the result of this residency and was included on Griffin's 2005 programme.
'In the 1970s, a young Australian boy, Timothy, finds himself confused. He falls for the captain of the football team. What follows shows all aspects of a relationship, regardless of gender or sexual preference. Conflict, temptation, and a huge burden which will affect every aspect of their lives.' (Production summary: IMDB)
Devil's Playground2014series - publisher film/TV '1988. Thirty-five years after Fred Schepisi's film The Devil's Playground, Tom Allen, now a psychiatrist, becomes a secular confessor to the Catholic clergy, and is soon embroiled in political and theological intrigue.' (Source: Screen Australia)
'Gwen is 90. She woke up this morning to discover that purgatory is sitting alone in a new house in a new subdivision on the edge of town, trying to work out if the remote in her hand operates the TV, the air-con or the fan-forced oven. But the kids are coming round and Father Ezekiel is on his way to bless the house, so the beginning of the end is looking up ...
'Written specially for Company B, Gwen in Purgatory is Tommy Murphy's brilliant existential comedy about an African missionary in the wilderness of Australian suburbia. Gwen's brood of ordinary souls is battling along in a changing world and wringing out the last drops of their matriarch's faith. Between them they may just find their way to some sort of forgiveness.'
Source: Belvoir Street Theatre website, http://www.belvoir.com.au/ Sighted: 22/09/2009