Strangers in Between

Strangers in Between

Strangers in Between is a two-act Australian play by Tommy Murphy. It won the $15,000 2006 NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Best Play. It was first staged at Sydney's Griffin Theatre Company in February 2005, where it broke box office records.

It is published by Currency Press with Murphy's stage adaptation of Timothy Conigrave's Holding the Man.


‘Strangers in Between’ explores brotherhood. Shane flees his family in regional Goulburn and finds himself in Sydney's Kings Cross. He attempts to build a surrogate family in the city. He confuses the two families. The city lover he worships is doubled and morphed with the brother he fears. Peter, an older man who is dealing with the imminent death of his elderly mother, is himself rendered maternal by the needs of runaway Shane.

The Sydney Morning Herald called it "bitter and sweet and replete with raw emotion". The Sun Herald found it "irresistibly heart-warming" while the Sunday Telegraph had a "charming and often exhilarating experience". SX News called it "the best new Australian play since Michael Gow's Away".

Details of Premiere Production

Griffin Theatre Company at the SBW Stables Theatre, Sydney, Australia.
February 17 - March 12, 2005

Director: David Berthold
Designer: Alice Babidge
Lighting: Anthony Pearson

Shane - Sam Dunn
Peter - Anthony Phelan
Will/Ben - Brett Stiller


Griffin Theatre Company's original production will tour Australia in 2008. It will play through May-June. Brett Stiller's roles are to be played by Anthony Gee. The tour is managed by Arts on Tour and includes Glen Street Theatre in Belrose Sydney and Riverside Theatre Parramatta (see links).

Queanbeyan, The Q - Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, 6-7 May
Coffs Harbour, Jetty Theatre, 9-10 May
Sydney, Glen Street Theatre, Belrose, 13-24 May
Sydney, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, 27-31 May
Bendigo, Capital Theatre, 3 June
Ballarat, Her Majesty's Theatre, 5 June
Launceston, Theatre North, 10-11 June
Hobart, Theatre Royal, 13-14 June


Judges citation, NSW Premier's Literary Award:

Sixteen year old Shane flees small-town NSW for Kings Cross. He's running from a lot of things: a violent family, small town homophobia, and his own realisation he's gay. But the Cross, he finds, is a lonely and fearful place. He befriends Will, who briefly becomes a lover, and Peter, an older man. Together they form an unlikely new family for Shane, and help him enter his new life.

After we leave the care of parents and family come the ‘strangers in between'. Tommy Murphy has written a funny, tender, achingly well-observed play about three strangers, exploring in deft, spare style what belonging is and how we make sense of who we are through our often fraught relations with others.

Constantly surprising, with an inventive use of vernacular, Murphy has created three very real people in Will, the alternative to Shane's violent, damaged brother Ben, and Peter, the possible new father. Dangerous, seamlessly crafted this is a beautiful work and a hopeful antidote to the climate of fear in which we live.



SX Magazine,

NSW Premier's Literary Awards Judges Citations,

Currency Press,,

Sydney Theatre Company Subscription Brochure,

Griffin Theatre Company Production Program

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