The White Divers of Broome by Hilary Bell

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  • Heath Ledger Theatre

About the Play

In the boom times of 1912 Broome, Sydney Pigott is a wealthy pearling master looking for a way around the White Australia Policy, anxious to keep his cheap Asian workers – and his high profits.

Webber, Sanders and Beasily are the cream of the British Navy deep sea divers. Hired by Pigott, they arrive in Broome naïvely convinced they’ll prove their skills when they hit the hazardous seas and collect the precious mother-of-pearl. But desperate Asian crews, shadowy alliances and the ruthless environment of Broome are against the white divers from the beginning.

From the brothels to the ballrooms to the deep seas, it’s a cutthroat world and trust is hard to find.

Inspired by the book of the same name by John Bailey, The White Divers of Broome is a celebration of boom time Broome and its exotic clash of cultures. Be captivated by a stirring account of greed, betrayal, loyalty and survival that resonates through the years.

"Hilary Bell will sweep you along in this epic and heartbreaking story, and take you back to a time when the racial and class relations in the exotic frontier town of Broome were watched by the entire country." Kate Cherry


The White Divers of Broome was commissioned by Black Swan State Theatre Company as part of the Rio Tinto Black Swan Commissions.

Inspired by The White Divers of Broome by John Bailey.

Production images

Cast & Creatives

Cast Includes: Caitlin Beresford-Ord, Nick Candy, Adriane Daff, Kylie Farmer [Kaarljilba Kaardn], Michelle Fornasier, Stuart Halusz, Sean Hawkins, Yutaka Izumihara, Miyuki Lotz, Greg McNeill, Kenneth Moraleda, Jo Morris, Tom O’Sullivan, Ian Toyne

Director: Kate Cherry

Designers: Set Designer Bruce McKinven, Costume Designer Alicia Clements, Lighting Designer Trent Suidgeest, Sound Designer Ben Collins, Movement Director Claudia Alessi, Assistant Director Damon Lockwood


"Director Kate Cherry and Black Swan State Theatre Company have produced an enthralling and timeless show with The White Divers of Broome. The controversial history entices the audience, while the revolutionary set design and powerful character development bring a thrilling new dimension to the stage." Aussie Theatre

"A wonderful, stupendous, challenging, educational and thoroughly entertaining production. Great script, great staging, great design - the show ticks ALL the boxes." Graham, patron