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Tickets on sale for stage adaptation of Boy Swallows Universe


Trent Dalton and Joe Klocek. Photo by David Kelly


Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), Queensland Theatre and Brisbane Festival have announced tickets will go on sale on Tuesday 27 April for the world premiere of Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe, adapted for the stage by Tim McGarry.

The fastest selling Australian debut novel ever, Boy Swallows Universe will leap from the page to QPAC’s Playhouse stage at this year’s Brisbane Festival as the blockbuster play of Queensland Theatre’s Season from 30 August to 18 September 2021.

Propelling audiences to Australian suburbia in the 80s, when Paul Hogan was putting a shrimp on the barbie and Ataris were bought from the classifieds, Boy Swallows Universe is inspired by Brisbane author Trent Dalton’s childhood and will come to life under the directorship of Sam Strong.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch welcomed the world premiere of Boy Swallows Universe to the 2021 Brisbane Festival program.

“Trent Dalton’s tale of growing up in Brisbane took the world by storm and there is great anticipation to see this local story on stage,” Minister Enoch said.

“Queensland audiences will be the first to experience the stage version, in what is anticipated to be a sell-out production.

“Our Government is proud to support Brisbane Festival, QPAC and Queensland Theatre who help showcase our world-class Queensland talent, share our unique stories and provide jobs for our local artists and arts workers.

“The arts are key to delivering the Palaszczuk Government’s plan for economic recovery, each year contributing $8.5 billion to the state’s economy and supporting more than 92,000 jobs for Queenslanders.

“And that is why productions like this are so important for our state.”

The coming-of-age story follows Eli Bell - played by Queensland actor Joe Klocek (The Dry) - as he navigates a world of magic and madness, of beauty and brutality, of joy and heartbreak, in his worn Dunlop KT26s.

Eli's alcoholic dad has shot through, his mum is in jail, his stepfather’s dealing heroin, his brother Gus won’t talk and silently swirls cryptic messages in the air with his finger, and his babysitter Slim is a convicted killer and infamous escapee from Boggo Road Gaol.

Queensland Theatre Artistic Director Lee Lewis said Boy Swallows Universe was going to be an unmissable theatre event.

“There is magic in this play. The magic created by extraordinary theatre talent and unlimited imagination. Everyone in the country should be here to see the way Trent Dalton’s vision will leap off the page and become not only a great night in the theatre but an emblem of the power of theatre to travel across time and space. We will remember what it was to be young in the ‘80s and be reminded that the future is always ours to make,” Ms Lewis said.

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina said she was beyond thrilled Boy Swallows Universe would finally make its world premiere as part of Brisbane Festival 2021.

“Brisbane Festival remains steadfast in its commitment to developing brand-new theatre work. Despite the production setbacks from last year’s COVID restrictions, this Boldly Brisbane story has risen from adversity, much like Eli Bell, to open the Festival with its stage debut,” Ms Bezzina said.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said the season would showcase a remarkable line-up of Queensland companies and talent.

"This is a Queensland story, but it is also so much more. It is a story for anyone who was once a kid filled with wonder, anyone who has fallen in love and anyone whose mum is their hero. We are proud to present this much-anticipated adaptation on our Playhouse stage alongside our partners Queensland Theatre and Brisbane Festival,” Mr Kotzas said.

Tickets to Boy Swallows Universe will go on sale Tuesday 27 April at 9am via qpac.com.au or 136 246.

Season Details: Queensland Theatre, Brisbane Festival and QPAC present Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe adapted for the stage by Tim McGarry When: Monday 30 August to Saturday 18 September Where: Playhouse, QPAC, Queensland Cultural Centre, South Bank, Brisbane Tickets: Refer to qpac.com.au for current pricing Bookings: qpac.com.au or 136 246