Signs of Life by Tim Winton

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  • Heath Ledger Theatre

About the Play

Alone in her farmhouse on the riverbank one night, Georgie Jutland hears noises out on the highway – car doors, voices, weeping. She’s recently widowed and a little spooked. It’s not just her – the entire world feels wrong, as if the land beneath her feet is dying. It hasn’t rained for years. The river has dried up and the olive grove is beginning to wither around her.

After the longest wait, a figure slowly emerges from the darkness. A man, an Aborigine, seeks help. He says he needs petrol. His sister is out in the car, screaming. They’ve been sleeping in it for days. Can Georgie help? Should she trust them? And what do you do when guests settle in and show no inclination to move on?

Bitter and funny, it is a story about people with uncertain futures navigating with only shreds of the past to guide them. Continuing on from Tim Winton’s award-winning novel Dirt Music, Signs of Life reflects on the ways in which people with radically different histories form awkward, spiky alliances in order to survive.

"This is a play about people who have little, in a landscape that offers little, finding hope in unexpected alliances. Signs of Life will touch your heart and ignite your imagination." Kate Cherry

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

Production images

Cast & Creatives

Cast Includes: Tom E. Lewis, Helen Morse, George Shevtsov, Pauline Whyman

Director: Kate Cherry

Designers: Set & Costume Designer Zoe Atkinson, Lighting Designer Jon Buswell, Sound Designer/Composer Ben Collins


“We are in classic Winton territory; a vivid sense of place intersects with a broader psychic dissonance permeating the landscape … this pithy and thoughtful ‘next stage’ incarnation of the Dirt Music story is the better for every risk it takes.” The Australian

“…the story is beautifully constructed, one minute the script is harsh; the next, comical. The mingling of the storylines, and their slow unfolding, held the audience fascinated for the full 100 minutes.” Theatre Australia

"Signs of Life has worthy themes, and fascinating characters in a quintessentially Australian production." Australian Stage

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