Based on the novel by Craig Silvey
Adapted by Kate Mulvany
Director Anne-Louise Sarks

  • Venue Upstairs Theatre
  • Dates 25 January – 19 February 2017
  • Duration Approx 2 hours 20 minutes (with interval)

    Back by Popular Demand!

    The 2016 smash hit returns to Belvoir for a quick season before it hits the road.

    The backblocks of Western Australia. It’s 1965 and Charlie Bucktin’s fourteen and smart. But when blamed-for-everything Jasper Jones appears at his window one night, Charlie’s out of his depth. Jasper has stumbled on the body of a local girl in the scrub, and he knows he’s the first suspect – that goes with the colour of his skin. He needs every ounce of Charlie’s brains if the truth is to emerge before Jasper finds himself at the pointy end of a deep anger.

    As the boys negotiate the secrets of a small town, the winds of change blow – but how do teenage Australians solve the riddles of a Grown-Up World?

    Kate Mulvany’s adaptation of Craig Silvey’s award-winning novel is daggy-funny and wise. A coming-of-age story for a generation, and a nation too.

    It’s clear that there’s something deeply binding about this show, and very human. It already feels like a classic. It poured out delight in 2016, and the clamour for tickets was so, well, huge, we felt we couldn’t leave it at that. – Eamon

    WarningJasper Jones contains the death of a young person and adult themes.

    Please note: A lock out period applies for latecomers at the commencement of Jasper Jones. Patrons arriving late will be admitted approximately ten minutes into the first act. 


    Based on the novel by Craig Silvey
    Adapted by Kate Mulvany
    Director Anne-Louise Sarks
    Set Designer Michael Hankin
    Costume Designer Mel Page
    Lighting Designer Matt Scott
    Composer & Sound Designer Steve Toulmin
    Fight Choreographer Scott Witt
    Choreographer Sara Black
    Indigenous Advisor Jada Alberts
    Stage Manager Isabella Kerdijk
    Assistant Stage Manager Jennifer Parsonage


    Kate Box
    Tom Conroy
    Steve Le Marquand
    Matilda Ridgway
    Guy Simon
    Charles Wu

    Rehearsal images by Brett Boardman
    Production images by Lisa Tomasetti
    • Jasper-Jones-Podcast

      Author Craig Silvey, adaptor Kate Mulvany, director Anne-Louise Sarks and the young cast all weigh in on the making of this smash hit.

      Produced for Belvoir by Zoe Ferguson.

    • Adaptor’s Note


      Kate Mulvany

      It’s a rare gift as a writer to be given the chance to adapt one of the nation’s best-loved books. A gift… and a fearsome challenge. Because everyone has their own ‘favourite bit’ of Jasper Jones that is seared into their memory like they actually lived it.

      ‘I hope you got the cricket match in!’ ‘Please don’t leave out the superheroes – Batman is best.’ ‘How are you gonna fit the entire town of Corrigan on a stage?!’

      My own ‘favourite bits’ shift and expand every single time I dip into the pages of the book Jasper Jones. Pulling apart Craig Silvey’s masterful text has been an incredible joy. Both Craig and I hail from country Western Australia. We carry the sense memory of towns like Corrigan in our bones. The incredible characters that blow in and out, like an afternoon southerly. The pillars and politics of those small-town communities. The melting pot of cultures that call these pastoral industrial dustbowls home, and gift their stories to wide-eyed, eavesdropping, bookish scribblers like me, Craig… and Charlie Bucktin himself.

      We can learn the ways of the world from these small communities, these contained universes. They are a petri dish of the bigger picture. The ails of society are often magnified in small towns, but so are the cures. The shared experience of a community, of listening to each others’ stories with an open mind and empathetic ear, is what these towns can do best and what we can all do better.

      This generosity of communal spirit has become apparent in the rehearsal room too. The text being performed tonight is different to the one that premiered in Perth a couple of years ago. It’s even different to what was performed at the last Belvoir season! Since then, Jasper Jones has had a season at the Melbourne Theatre Company too. With different creative teams comes shifting perspectives, so these have been carefully and lovingly weaved into each performance text. The ‘favourite bits’ remain, but more importantly, aspects of the text recalibrate with what is going on in our real world. Fearful political upheavals in the modern world may present themselves in a new line in the play. Or a line from Craig Silvey’s book that may not have been used in the play a few seasons ago is now introduced with potent new meaning

      The rehearsal room for any production of Jasper Jones always becomes a playground of memory and experience. Memories of childhood, memories of family, memories of Australian summers, of Indigenous elders and Vietnamese grandparents. Of ‘that time Mum and Dad stopped talking’ and the way ‘my childhood crush still makes my heart flutter when she likes my posts on Facebook’. It is such a treat to take on these lived memories from actors, directors, designers and infuse their energy into the play. I hope the foyer is buzzing afterwards with your own childhood tales of hitting a six in the backyard and the time you snuck into the haunted house on the edge of town. (Exaggerate away. It makes it more fun.)

      I don’t want to go into what Jasper Jones is trying to say as a play. It’s saying everything or nothing, depending on what you choose to hear. But for me, adapting Jasper Jones has been like taking a wander through my own childhood – the good parts and the bad – and realising just how much, and how little, things have changed. How far we have come and how far we still have to go. In the words of Jasper Jones himself: we gotta get brave.

      I’d like to thank all of the incredible casts, crews and audiences of Jasper Jones – Black Swan, MTC and Belvoir – for their faith in Australian storytelling; Anne-Louise Sarks for her gloriously driven curiosity, insight and care on the Belvoir production; John Sheedy for putting the book in my hands a few years back and giving me a gift that just keeps on giving; and Craig Silvey for not only giving us this wonderful Australian story, but allowing and encouraging me to put a little of myself into the play.

      Enjoy your trip to Corrigan. Look after each other.

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