Return to the Dirt
16 October – 6 November 2021
Bille Brown Theatre, South Brisbane
Winner of the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award 2020-21, Return to the Dirt is a warm, funny and surprising play based on playwright Steve Pirie’s year spent working at a Toowoomba funeral home. Guided by Steve himself in the role of The Playwright, the play sheds light on a little-known industry and explores some of our biggest questions — what happens when we die, and what does it mean to live?
Queensland Theatre Artistic Director Lee Lewis was enthralled by Return to the Dirt on her first read and throughout the extensive creative development offered as part of the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award program. She is overjoyed to now be directing the world premiere season at the Bille Brown Theatre.
“It’s one of the best new Australian plays I have read in the last five years,” Lewis said. “Steve’s clever and compassionate writing features characters that audiences will recognise from any community and opens us up to those tricky but important conversations we all try to avoid.”
“Dying is something everyone has to do one day, no one gets to avoid it. Return to the Dirt not only helps demystify the process and the business of dying, it also makes us think about how we want to live. What really matters to you in the precious time you have? The power of live theatre is that audiences can ponder these big things together, enjoying the small details of this glorious production and the incredible characters we’ll meet along the way.”
Breathing life into Return to the Dirt is a cast who will all make their debut with Queensland Theatre. The role of Steve is to be played by Mitchell Bourke (The Family Law), with Jeanette Cronin (Crownies, Rake) and Chris Baz (Blue Heelers, Water Rats) as his colleagues Deb and Greg. Steve’s fiancé Claire will be played by Sophie Cox (Home and Away), while actor, dancer and stunt performer Miyuki Lotz (Reef Break) joins the cast as both Lucy and Jess. The role of young Ellie will be shared by Cleo Davis and Aara Afraz, and Steve Pirie also makes his stage debut with Queensland Theatre as The Playwright.
Return to the Dirt will also be available to stream online across Australia from 29 November to 5 December, as part of the new Queensland Theatre at Home digital series.