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Content information: Adult themes and concepts. Isolation, xenophobia, depression and suicide. Discussions of sheep farming, sheep husbandry, tupping and lambing. Use of prop firearm, loud noises and haze.

Director's Note

Nothing seems to me to reflect so clearly the vagaries of human life, nothing is more difficult to grasp and make whole, [than] to make a recognisable pattern out of the random events of life  -  to make life have meaning.  Dorothy Hewitt (1923 – 2002)


To get to know a play you have to meet it on its own terms. The clues are always in the script. Even the most cursory reading of the play tells you that time, language, and landscape are central to its concerns. This script is peppered with the phrase some time passes, we experience time long with the characters who are either acutely aware or oblivious to it. Time is unrelenting and the roll of the seasons only heightens their sense of stasis.  So, time and our experience of time gives the play its structure.


While Longman doesn’t specify where the family’s farm is geographically, the piece is written idiomatically which locates the farm around Yorkshire. The area around the farm is identified by absences; the pub that’s closed, the family that has died or moved away. Place and relationships are embedded in language. Longman uses repetition to create a shared language between the characters that they use to carve meaning out of the silence.


When I started to think seriously about the play, I was reading Fernanda Melchor, a contemporary Mexican writer. I was struck by the similarities of the world of the novel to that of the play. Both worlds are isolated and crippled by poverty, both redolent with myth. Reading Melchor alerted me to the impact landscape has on Longman’s characters and how it drives and shapes the action. Landscape is the source of the play’s poetry and gives it that elemental quality. Not surprisingly I kept hearing echoes of the Spanish poet Lorca as we rehearsed. He is the great poet of things of the earth, so when I hear the grandfather say, baking today, isn’t it? That sun. Turn into a raisin if we’re not careful? I hear the Neighbour in Blood Wedding say  -  have you ever known such a hot sun? Children carrying water to the reapers are black with it. Landscape then has as active a presence in Gundog as it does in Lorca’s rural tragedies, and closer to home, in Dorothy Hewitt’s wheatbelt plays which are rich with details of place.


Coming from the countryside, Longman says that he’s interested in finding stories from that landscape, from those Bypass towns that feel themselves to be forgotten and abandoned. First produced in 2018, the chill of the 2016 Brexit referendum and the xenophobia that fuelled the Leave vote can be felt throughout the play. The UK also experienced an influx of humanitarian refugees fleeing civil war in Syria, particularly after the bombing of Aleppo in 2016. Longman’s play is  very much a part of that world. Yet his concerns with the weight of familial obligation and its associative guilt, isolation and stasis that are as much a consequence of grief as geographical, and the yearning to belong are not bound by the specifics of time and place. They are very much a part of the vagaries of human life, out of which we all strive to find sense and as Hewett says, make life have meaning.

Anthony Skuse 2023

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Simon Longman


"I think theatre is still one of the most exciting mediums to tell stories in … it’s a shared space to ask questions about the world, how we live, and how we make sense of it."

Simon Longman is from the West Midlands. His plays include Patient Light (Eastern Angles); Island Town (Paines Plough); Gundog (Royal Court); Rails (TBTL); White Sky (RWCMD/Royal Court); Sparks (Old Red Lion); Milked (Pentabus Theatre Company). He is the recipient of the 49th George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright and has previously won the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme. His work has been translated and produced internationally. He is also Associate Artist at Kestrel Theatre Company, working in prisons around the UK.

Anthony Skuse (He/Him)


Anthony’s directing credits include: Katie Pollock’s Rough Trade (Sydney Writes and Theatre Works), Breaking the Code (New Theatre); Lorca’s Yerma (AFTT, Belvoir Upstairs); Alistair McDowall’s Pomona, (KXT, Secret House); Love For Love (ACA);Three Sisters (AFTT, Belvoir Downstairs);Katie Pollock’s Normal (Uncertainty principle); Jen Silverman’s Bones at the Gate (AFTT, Belvoir Downstairs); Crime and Punishment (Secret House); The Street of Crocodiles (AFTT, Belvoir Downstairs); Joanna Erskine’s Air  (Old 505); Chekhov’s Seagull (Secret House); Chekhov’s Play Without a Title (AFTT, Belvoir Downstairs); Simon Stephens’ Birdland (New Theatre); Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis (Old Fitz); Simon Stephens’ Herons (ISA); Suzie Miller’s Sunset Strip (Uncertainty principle & Griffin, and with Critical Stages National Tour); Melita Rowston’s Between the Streetlight and the Moon (KXT, Mophead Production); Bathsheba Doran’s Mystery of Love and Sex (Darlinghurst Theatre); Charlotte Jones’ Airswimming (The Vaults, London);Tadeusz Słobodzianek’s Our Class (AFTT, Belvoir Downstairs); Nick Enright’s Man With Five Children (Darlinghurst Theatre Company); Katy Warner’s Dropped (Old Fitz); Christopher Harley’s Blood Bank (Ensemble Theatre); Jane Bodie’s Fourplay & Ride (Darlinghurst Theatre Company); José Rivera’s The House of Ramon Iglesia (MopHead Productions); Suzie Miller’s Caress/Ache (Griffin Theatre Company); Jessica Bellamy’s Shabbat Dinner (Rock Surfers, Rocks Pop Up Festival, Griffin Theatre Company); Chekhov’s Platonov (ATYP Selects); Nick Payne’s Constellations (Darlinghurst Theatre Company); Diana Son’s Stop Kiss (Unlikely Productions); Bite Me (ATYP); Simon Stephens’ On the shore of the wide world (Griffin Independent); Amy Hertzog’s 4000 Miles (Under the Wharf, Sydney, La Boite, Brisbane & Critical Stages Regional Tour); Stephens’ Punk Rock (Under the Wharf) three Sydney Theatre Awards including Best Independent Production and Best Direction; Tracy Lett’s Bug, Rivera’s References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, Marius Von Mayenburg's The Cold Child, Michael Gow’s Live Acts On Stage (Griffin Independent); Mark Ravenhill’s pool (no water), The Presnyakov Brothers’ Terrorism (Darlinghurst Theatre Sydney)

Anthony is Head of Performance at Actors Centre Australia. He was Associate Lecturer for Performance Practices at NIDA from 2009 to 2012.

Training: Drama Studio Sydney. In 1997 and 2001 he worked with Javanese Movement Practitioner Suprapto Suryodarmo.

Talia Benatar (She/Her)

Assistant Director

Since graduating from ACA Talia has been acting across New York and Sydney. Last year she began working with her mentor Anthony Skuse on as an Assistant Director on ‘Breaking The Code’ The New Theatre,  ‘Crime and Punishment’, ‘Chaika/Seagull’ and ‘This Restless House’ at Belvoir Downstairs Theatre through AFTT. She’s also worked as an assistant director on Madeleine Jones’ Pride and Prejudice (sort of) and The Watsons, and with Tait DeLorenzo on the AFTT Emerge Showcase at The Sydney Opera House. Talia co founded ‘The Company Theatre’ with Harry Reid and Olivia Hall-Smith which debuted with a completely sold out season of ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore’ in which she was the co-director and co-producer.


Travis Kecek (He/Him)

Lighting Designer

With nine years experience as a lighting designer, Travis Kecek has lit large-scale music concerts, contemporary dance and ballet, drag shows, cabaret, parade floats, opera, unusual architecture and a wide variety of theatre, using both light and darkness to bring out the poetry in any story or space. Travis has most recently designed for

Mamma Mia the musical (Centre Stage), Flamenco Festival (Sydney Dance co.), Eirebourne National Tour (Mpire creative), Intact (Fuser productions) , STC Gala (Sydney Theatre co.) 

Kieran Camejo (He/Him)

Sound Designer

Aloma Barnes (She/Her)

Costume Designer

Aloma is a costume designer specializing in film and theatre. Aloma began her career in the field of fashion design after obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mumbai, India. She then took the opportunity to study at London College of Fashion where she completed a Master’s degree in Costume Design for Performance. She went on to work as a costume designer for a number of theatre shows in London as well as taking on a role as a costume design intern for an Amazon prime web series in Mumbai. Her latest work involves Costume Designing for a documentary for NITV, a short film, assistant costume designer for Albion at Seymour Centre and Production Designer for The Dazzle (Corvus Arts Theatre).

Jasmine Whalley (She/Her)

Stage Manager

Jasmine is a recent graduate of the Theatre Production course at AFTT and is currently starting her career in the industry. She was the SM for the recent AFTT Graduation show "Pride & Prejudice (Sort of)" at Downstairs Belvoir. She is also currently an ASM Swing on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Capitol Theatre.

Scott Witt (He/ Him)

Fight Choreography


Jane Angharad (She/Her)

Anna / Producer

Jane graduated from Royal Holloway University of London with a BA (Hons) in Drama and Theatre Studies and from East 15 with a Masters in Acting. She has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from University College London. Jane is co-founder and Artistic Director of Secret House. Theatre credits include For the Grace of you Go I (KXT) Albion (Seymour Centre), Pomona (KXT), Crime and Punishment (Limelight), The Seagull, Troilus and Cressida, The Winter’s Tale and Cymbeline (Depot Theatre), Henna Night (Old Fitz) and Blink (107 Projects). Directing credits include The Dazzle (Meraki) Bird (Old Fitz) and Charles and Larry (Flight Path Theatre). Other producing credits include Iphigenia in Splott and Hush for New Ghosts Theatre Company.


Mark Langham (He/Him)


Mark is very happy to be back working with Secret House. His last role for them was in “Albion” at the Seymour Centre. Prior to that, he was in “Breathing Corpses” at KXT for Eye Contact Theatre Co and he played Shelley Levine in “Glengarry Glen Ross” at the New Theatre. Mark left drama school in his native UK in 1982 and has been happy and largely poor ever since.

Saro Lepejian (He/Him)


Made in Syria, partly assembled in Armenia, and sent via express post to Sydney, Australia.

Saro is a graduate of Actors Centre Australia’s Bachelor program. His most recent stage roles are Eggo in How to Defend Yourself, directed by Claudia Barrie (Outhouse Theatre/Redline) and Bike Boy in Hit Me Baby, directed by Madeleine Diggins (Flight Path).

When Saro is not acting or battling the existential dread of capitalism, he spends his time playing the guitar and spending his life savings on unnecessary purchases.


James Smithers (He/Him)

Ben / Set Designer / Producer

James is an actor, producer and designer. As an actor his credits include: Jim in For the Grace of You Go I (KXT), Gabriel in Albion (Seymour Centre), Pomona (KXT), Joseph K and Crime and Punishment (Limelight on Oxford), Troilus and Cressida, The Seagull, The Winter’s Tale and Cymbeline (Depot Theatre) and The Ritz (New Theatre). He appeared as Jesus De Sade in the fourth series of the hit US show Preacher. James is co-producer for Secret House Theatre Company. Recent designing and building credits include: Albion (Seymour Centre), Pomona (KXT) and Bird (Old Fitz Theatre). James is currently the resident set designer and builder for AFTT's grad show productions at Downstairs Belvoir.

LJ Wilson (They/Them)


LJ Wilson is a multidisciplinary artist whose work spans across acting, directing and drag. LJ is a core member of the Little Eggs Collective, and has been part of the multi-award-winning collective since 2018, devising and performing in three original productions; Pinocchio (Sydney Fringe), The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (KXT) and most recently Symphonie Fantastique (KXT) which was nominated for seven Sydney Theatre Awards, taking home four. LJ’s other credits include Ugly Love (Flight Path Theatre), Hotel (Dir. Eve Beck), Opera Australia’s La Traviata on the Harbour, Secret House’s Bird (Old Fitz Theatre) and Eye Contact Theatre Company’s Hairworm (Old 505). In January this year LJ directed and toured a remount of Daddy Developed A Pill as part of MIdsumma Festival. LJ would like to acknowledge the enduring resilience of all First Nations folks under the colony and pay their deepest ics& warmest respects to Elders past, present & emerging. Always Was, Always Will Be Aboriginal Land. 

Photography by Clare Hawley (She/Her) at Asparay Photographics

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