Red Stitch revealed its 2017 “mystery play” this week, announcing that it will present the Australian premiere of Joanna Murray-Smith’s American Song in October. Commissioned in the United States and first produced there in 2016 to great acclaim, American Song reaches beyond national or cultural borders, in an intimate exploration of parenting, love, and the question: What could I have done differently?

Directed by Tom Healey, American Song is a provocative and profound tour-de-force for one actor, performed by Red Stitch ensemble member Joe Petruzzi. This will be the second of Murray-Smith’s works to be produced by the company, following the critically acclaimed, sell-out season of Day One, A Hotel, Evening in 2011.

The addition of American Song to the Company’s line up creates a showcase of three new works by Australian female playwrights as the final productions of Red Stitch’s 2017 season, and half of the year’s plays by local writers.

The other two productions – The Way Out by Josephine Collins and Desert, 6:29pm by Morgan Rose – are both world premieres developed through the company’s ground-breaking INK new writing program.


By Josephine Collins

Directed by Penny Harpham

22 August – 24 September

In a dystopian future Australia, Helen and her civil war veteran father sell moonshine to a broken town, struggling to survive in a poisoned landscape. Helen sees a way out, but no-one is listening. The fragile world they’ve constructed is thrown into crisis when a government inspector arrives on the same day as a black market salesman, forcing Helen to confront the darker side of their family history.


By Joanna Murray-Smith

Directed by Tom Healey

3 October – 5 November 

Andy has much in common with many of us: the slow accumulation of a good life; love, work, friendship, children. But unforeseen events lead him to places he never imagined… Can we ever know the exact moment when a good life turns irredeemably bad? Directed by Tom Healey, this witty philosophical theatrical jewel reveals the terrifying ways our ordinary lives can become extraordinary.

DESERT, 6:29pm

By Morgan Rose

Directed by Bridget Balodis

14 November – 14 December

A small town in the middle of nowhere, it’s dinnertime and we are invited into the lives of Xan, her mother and father Crystal and Rico, and her older brother Jamie. This is a family who long ago stopped talking to one another about who they really are and what they really need. Rose is one of the most exciting emerging playwrights in Australia, bringing her unique humour and attention to detail to this heart-breaking, finely wrought new work.