1699041327205098328.jpg
Image courtesy of publisher's website.
y The Secret River single work   drama  
Adaptation of The Secret River Kate Grenville 2005 single work novel
Issue Details: First known date: 2013 2013
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Convict William Thornhill, exiled from the stinking slums of early 19th century London, discovers that the penal colony offers something that he never dared to hope for before: 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 that they are not the only ones to lay a claim to the land. The Hawkesbury is already home to a family of Dharug people, who are reluctant to leave on account of these intruders.'

As Thornhill’s attachment to the place and the dream deepens, he is driven to make a terrible decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.' (Source: Currency Press website)

Notes

  • Other nominations for the 2013 Helpmann Awards include:

    Tess Schofield: Best Costume Design

    Stephen Curtis: Best Scenic Design

    Mark Howlett: Best Lighting Design

    Miranda Tapsell : Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play

    Nathaniel Dean : Best Male Actor in a Play

    Winner:

    Colin Moody: Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play

  • Epigraph: Such a small boat, such a vast sea. –Kate Grenville

Production Details

  • Produced at the Playhouse Theatre, Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 14-17 February 2013. Directed by Neil Armfield. Composer: Iain Grandage

    To be Performed at the Playhouse, QPAC, 25 February to 5 March, 2016.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 2013
    • Strawberry Hills, Inner Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales,: Currency Press , 2013 .
      1699041327205098328.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 1vp.
      Note/s:
      • Published October 2013
      ISBN: 9781925005004

Works about this Work

Fund Cuts Force Theatres to Play It Safe Andrew Taylor , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 2 February 2016; (p. 11)
The Set's the Thing : How the Stage Helped The Secret River Come Alive Miriam Cosic , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 13 February 2016;
'Set designer Stephen Curtis says the best of his work supports the actors and solves problems, but warns in a new essay on his work that it’s also easy to be glib and rely on old tricks rather than create an original ‘visual signature’.' (Publication abstract)
The Secret River, Silences and Our Nation's History Ashley Barnwell , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 28 March 2016;
'Neil Armfield's new stage adaptation of Kate Grenville's 2005 novel the Secret River invites us to think about the complex relations between personal and national histories, and the past and the present ...'
Indigenous Director Rachael Maza on The Secret River : 'That’s Not the Story I Want to Be Telling My Kids' Monica Tan , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 24 March 2016;
'Maza decries the Australian novel’s stage adaptation for playing on a tired trope of ‘the real Aboriginals died out’'
Will Women Please Take a Bow? Peter Craven , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 21 April 2016; (p. 15)
Shedding the ‘Victim Narrative’ for Tales of Magic, Myth and Superhero Pride Carissa Lee Godwin , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 9 June 2016;
'One of the things I love about my culture is the sense of magic within it. Everything was created from some greater power, and I can see why elders worry that our young people are losing that sense of magic, of wonder, within the oldest living culture in the world. ...'
Live Show 'offers Bigger Impact' Elissa Blake , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 31 January 2016; (p. 5)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
The Secret History of Us 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 30 January 2016; (p. 11)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
'The stage adaptation of acclaimed Kate Grenville novel The Secret River tells the tragic story of colonial first contact...'
Extraordinary Theatre Laced with Enchantment and Truth John Shand , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 8 February 2016; (p. 11)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
Troubled Waters Kylie Northover , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 5-6 March 2016; (p. 12)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
The Secret River Set to Be One of Australia's Great Plays Owen Richardson , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 12-13 March 2016; (p. 23)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
Beyond Sorry : Colonial Oppression on Australian Stages Andrew Hansen , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 25 May 2015;
'Theatrical journeys into Australia’s colonial history have often been rather grim affairs. Over the last 30 years or so, some of country’s most eminent playwrights – Louis Nowra, Andrew Bovell, Stephen Sewell, and Katherine Thomson among others – have created works in which the physical and psychological frontiers of settlement resemble grisly warzones of colonial oppression. So where are we now, in terms of our non-Indigenous drama?'
Family Lally Katz , 2015 single work essay
— Appears in: Andrew Bovell : The Alchemy of Collaboration 2015; (p. 23-27)
Hunt Quietly Stephen Page , 2015 single work essay
— Appears in: Andrew Bovell : The Alchemy of Collaboration 2015; (p. 59-60)
The Secret River by Kate Grenville Carrie Long , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Reviews in Australian Studies , vol. 9 no. 1 2015;

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
Representations of ‘The Bush’ in the Poetry of Charles Harpur Elizabeth Webby , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 14 no. 3 2014;

'The first month of 2013 was marked by two very different events. On 12 January, the Governor General, stars of stage and screen, politicians and other notables attended the Sydney Theatre for the opening night of The Secret River, Andrew Bovell’s adaptation of Kate Grenville’s best-selling if controversial novel. On 23 January a much smaller group of academics and other lovers of Australian literature gathered in Canberra to celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Harpur, Australia’s first notable poet. While the people involved in these two events were very different, with one attracting much publicity and other none, there was a link. The Secret River, as a program note testifies, ‘takes place in the Hawkesbury River region of New South Wales between 1814-15’. Charles Harpur had been born in Windsor, the major town on the Hawkesbury, a year earlier. Like William Thornhill in the play, his father Joseph was a former convict who received a free pardon from Governor Macquarie in 1815. By then he was the schoolmaster at Windsor, where he had a grant of land, so that, unlike Thornhill’s children, Harpur grew up with books as his companions.

'In the stage adaptation of The Secret River, Stephen Curtis’s set gives a powerful representation of the beauty and the might of the bush before white settlement, a beauty sullied at the end of the play as Thornhill draws the lines of a fence on the backcloth. For the characters in the play, the bush represents different things: it is home for the Indigenous family, the hope of a prosperous future for Thornhill, a place of fun and games for Dick Thornhill, Garraway and Narabi, but totally alien to Sal Thornhill who never stops longing for London. How did Harpur, growing up on the Hawkesbury during this period, represent the bush and its Indigenous inhabitants? This essay will focus in particular on ‘Lost in the Bush’ and ‘The Kangaroo Hunt’.' (Publication abstract)

Ripple Effect 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 5-6 January 2013; (p. 10-11)
Their Story, Too: STC Ready to Remind Brits of Settlers’ Havoc Michaela Boland , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 14 January 2013; (p. 3)
Blind Date Jitters Give Way to Relief and Delight John Saxby , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 14 January 2013; (p. 12)
Frequently Moving Festival a Breath of Fresh Air Jason Blake , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 26-27 January 2013; (p. 7)
Deeply Moving Evocation of a Tragic Conflict John McCallum , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 14 January 2013; (p. 13)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
Moving Portrayal of Troubled Past Jason Blake , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 14 January 2013; (p. 12)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
Untitled Elissa Blake , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 20 January 2013; (p. 13)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
Vast Vision of Morality Glenn Burns , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 16 February 2013; (p. 19)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
Hot Horse, Dry River Michael O'Connor , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Quadrant , March vol. 57 no. 3 2013; (p. 84-87)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
Untitled Henry Reynolds , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Monthly , May no. 89 2013; (p. 57)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
The Secret River by Kate Grenville Carrie Long , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Reviews in Australian Studies , vol. 9 no. 1 2015;

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
Live Show 'offers Bigger Impact' Elissa Blake , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 31 January 2016; (p. 5)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
The Secret History of Us 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 30 January 2016; (p. 11)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
'The stage adaptation of acclaimed Kate Grenville novel The Secret River tells the tragic story of colonial first contact...'
Extraordinary Theatre Laced with Enchantment and Truth John Shand , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 8 February 2016; (p. 11)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
Troubled Waters Kylie Northover , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 5-6 March 2016; (p. 12)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
The Secret River Set to Be One of Australia's Great Plays Owen Richardson , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 12-13 March 2016; (p. 23)

— Review of The Secret River Andrew Bovell 2013 single work drama
Blanchett goes with Flow to Bring River Tale to Life Tim Barlass , Andrew Taylor , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 2 December 2012; (p. 21)
Australian Story Kristie Broadhead , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: In the City , Summer no. 12 2012; (p. 52)
Blood on the Banks Rosemary Neill , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 22-23 December 2012; (p. 4)
'Reimagined for the stage, The Secret River will take audiences to a confronting place, Andrew Bovell tells Rosemary Neill'
Ripple Effect 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 5-6 January 2013; (p. 10-11)
Their Story, Too: STC Ready to Remind Brits of Settlers’ Havoc Michaela Boland , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 14 January 2013; (p. 3)
Blind Date Jitters Give Way to Relief and Delight John Saxby , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 14 January 2013; (p. 12)
Frequently Moving Festival a Breath of Fresh Air Jason Blake , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 26-27 January 2013; (p. 7)
Play Tells of Ugly History Margaret Smith , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: Koori Mail , 16 January no. 542 2013; (p. 41)
Have I Offended You? Andrew Taylor , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 20-21 April 2013; (p. 10)
Hooked on Classics Rosemary Neill , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 25-26 May 2013; (p. 5-7)
'Adaptations dominate Australian theatre. Is this a sign of the bankruptcy of original ideas or does it herald a confident fresh approach to great works of drama?'
Two Stirrers Saddle Up as a Bell Rings Thrice on Stage Steve Dow , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 25 June 2013; (p. 20)
Portrait of Colonial Life Leads Helpmanns Michaela Boland , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 25 June 2013; (p. 13)
'A play adaptation of a brilliant novel attracts 11 nominations.'
STC Stymies King Kong's Rampage Elissa Blake , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 30 July 2013; (p. 13)
A River Runs Through Theatre's Night of Nights Michaela Boland , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 30 July 2013; (p. 3)
Ambitious Culture on Hormones Matthew Westwood , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 24 December 2013; (p. 8)
Representations of ‘The Bush’ in the Poetry of Charles Harpur Elizabeth Webby , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 14 no. 3 2014;

'The first month of 2013 was marked by two very different events. On 12 January, the Governor General, stars of stage and screen, politicians and other notables attended the Sydney Theatre for the opening night of The Secret River, Andrew Bovell’s adaptation of Kate Grenville’s best-selling if controversial novel. On 23 January a much smaller group of academics and other lovers of Australian literature gathered in Canberra to celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Harpur, Australia’s first notable poet. While the people involved in these two events were very different, with one attracting much publicity and other none, there was a link. The Secret River, as a program note testifies, ‘takes place in the Hawkesbury River region of New South Wales between 1814-15’. Charles Harpur had been born in Windsor, the major town on the Hawkesbury, a year earlier. Like William Thornhill in the play, his father Joseph was a former convict who received a free pardon from Governor Macquarie in 1815. By then he was the schoolmaster at Windsor, where he had a grant of land, so that, unlike Thornhill’s children, Harpur grew up with books as his companions.

'In the stage adaptation of The Secret River, Stephen Curtis’s set gives a powerful representation of the beauty and the might of the bush before white settlement, a beauty sullied at the end of the play as Thornhill draws the lines of a fence on the backcloth. For the characters in the play, the bush represents different things: it is home for the Indigenous family, the hope of a prosperous future for Thornhill, a place of fun and games for Dick Thornhill, Garraway and Narabi, but totally alien to Sal Thornhill who never stops longing for London. How did Harpur, growing up on the Hawkesbury during this period, represent the bush and its Indigenous inhabitants? This essay will focus in particular on ‘Lost in the Bush’ and ‘The Kangaroo Hunt’.' (Publication abstract)

Beyond Sorry : Colonial Oppression on Australian Stages Andrew Hansen , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 25 May 2015;
'Theatrical journeys into Australia’s colonial history have often been rather grim affairs. Over the last 30 years or so, some of country’s most eminent playwrights – Louis Nowra, Andrew Bovell, Stephen Sewell, and Katherine Thomson among others – have created works in which the physical and psychological frontiers of settlement resemble grisly warzones of colonial oppression. So where are we now, in terms of our non-Indigenous drama?'
Family Lally Katz , 2015 single work essay
— Appears in: Andrew Bovell : The Alchemy of Collaboration 2015; (p. 23-27)
Hunt Quietly Stephen Page , 2015 single work essay
— Appears in: Andrew Bovell : The Alchemy of Collaboration 2015; (p. 59-60)
Fund Cuts Force Theatres to Play It Safe Andrew Taylor , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 2 February 2016; (p. 11)
Last amended 21 Sep 2015 13:43:33
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