National Interest by Aidan Fennessy

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  • Heath Ledger Theatre

About the Play

Tony Stewart was just 21 when he was killed in Balibo in October 1975. 32 years after Tony and his television news crew were murdered, the ghosts of the past are awakened again during the coronial inquest.

For Tony’s mother June, these ghosts are as real and as tangible as her daughter Jane, standing in the kitchen with her. Jane wants to lay the ghosts to rest but June can’t let go. Her anger and pain over what happened to her boy have not abated, no matter what the inquest findings are.

Sitting in the kitchen one evening, Jane forces June to open up the old wounds and talk about her feelings. But can truth, time and love heal decades of pain?

The fate of the Balibo Five shocked Australia in 1975 and the issues still reverberate today. National Interest personalises the headlines with a story of a family who lived through tragedy but refuse to be defined by it.

"Aidan’s personal connection to this story of international intrigue and domestic tragedy gives an authentic voice to those who lived through tragedy but refuse to be defined by it." Kate Cherry

WORLD PREMIERE. A co-production with Melbourne Theatre Company.

Production images

Cast & Creatives

Cast Includes: James Bell, Julia Blake, Grant Cartwright, Michelle Fornasier, Stuart Halusz, Polly Low

Playwright and Director: Aidan Fennessy

Designers: Set & Costume Designer Christina Smith, Lighting Designer Trent Suidgeest Sound Composer Ben Collins


"They culminate in a powerful scene in which Stuart Halusz, as Shackleton, re-enacts one of the most eloquent direct-to-camera camera reports in Australian TV journalism: and his last." The Australian

"90 minutes of gripping theatre, punctuated with hilarity. In the national interest, a trip to the theatre that should not be missed." Theatre Australia

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