Nakkiah Lui. Illustration: Julian Meagher.

Kill the Messenger

By Nakkiah Lui
Director Anthea Williams
Set Designer Ralph Myers
Costume Designer Mel Page
Lighting Designer Katie Sfetkidis
Composer & Sound Designer Kelly Ryall

Matthew Backer
Katie Beckett
Nakkiah Lui
Sam O’Sullivan
Lasarus Ratuere

14 February – 8 March
Upstairs Theatre

In 2011 Gamilaroi/Torres Strait Islander playwright/law student/performer Nakkiah Lui started writing a play. It was based on a true story about a man in her home suburb of Mount Druitt. One day, in unbearable pain due to undiagnosed stomach cancer, he went to the local hospital where he was refused care. Allegedly the emergency department had a policy of not providing painkillers to patients they suspect of using drugs, and Indigenous patients were high on this list. He went to a nearby park and hung himself. The theme of the play: institutionalised racism.

Then in 2012 Lui’s grandmother fell through the unmended floor of her public housing home and died. Homes provided by the government through Aboriginal Housing Office, are not routinely maintained the way public housing is: institutionalised racism. Lui found herself at the centre of these stories. The resulting play lays it all out – her dodgy sex life, a dead man’s second chance, and a granddaughter’s sense of duty.

Lui is a force to be reckoned with. She is a commentator and truth teller. She is genuinely hilarious, but matches her humour with fierce anger and intellect. Her sharp and searing vision of racism and violence, This Heaven was described as an ‘astonishing’ and ‘ferocious’ debut in 2013. Kill the Messenger sees her graduate to the Upstairs Theatre and make her professional stage debut playing herself.

Anthea Williams, Belvoir’s Associate Director – Literary, champions new writing at Belvoir by mentoring playwrights and with her assured direction of new plays like the beautiful and touching family dramas Forget Me Not and Old Man. She will direct a cast of outstanding performers alongside the incomparable Nakkiah Lui as herself in this game-changing rethink of what black theatre could be.

Notes for Editors

Season information
Dates 14 February – 8 March 2015
Previews Saturday 14, Sunday 15 & Tuesday 17 February
Opening night Wednesday 18 February
Unwaged Performance 2pm Thursday 5 March
Sunday Forum 3pm 8 March
Times Tuesday 6.30pm | Wednesday to Friday 8pm | Saturday 2pm & 8pm | Sunday 5pm
Tickets Full from $72* | Seniors/Industry/Group $62 | Concession $49 | Previews $50
Venue Belvoir St Theatre | 25 Belvoir St, Surry Hills
Bookings 02 9699 3444 or
* Ticket prices can be dynamically adjusted, either up or down, based on real-time market demand, and without notice.


Indigenous theatre at Belvoir supported by The Balnaves Foundation

Image Gallery

Hero image by Julian Meagherdownload

Press photos by Ellis Parrinderdownload

Rehearsal photos by Brett Boardmandownload

Production photos by Brett Boardmandownload


Contact Details

For media information and interviews contact Elly Michelle Clough
[email protected] | 02 8396 6242 | 0407 163 921