Once in Royal David’s City

by Michael Gow


 19 March – 13 April 2019


“It’s not an answer to everything, it’s only a question and that means it’s a beginning.”

For middle-aged, gay theatre director Will Drummond, nothing is certain any more. His parents are suddenly old, his professional world is changing, everyone around him seems to be losing faith and losing the plot, and it feels as if society has lost its soul.

Christmas is often a difficult time for families to navigate and for Will, this year, it will become a time of reckoning and a journey of discovery towards a deeper, if not especially comfortable, awareness of himself.

This sprawling saga covers four decades, across two hemispheres, from intimate encounters to vast historical events, investigating the bond between mother and child, the loss of innocence, and the inevitability of death.

It is a powerful, angry, profoundly moving, viciously funny, brilliant play about the possibilities of life and of theatre, and a classic of contemporary Australian dramatic writing.

“Emotionally confronting but also warm and witty … a beautifully written play” Brisbane Courier-Mail

Director Patrick Howard muses on why it’s vital for contemporary and recent Australian work to have a sophomore outing. Read the full article in Audrey Journal

creative team

Director Patrick Howard
Production & Lighting Designer Victor Kalka

Sound Designer Ryan Devlin
Assistant Director Trudy Ritchie
Costume Assistant Luciana Nguyen
Production Manager Cecelia Strachan

Stage Management Christina McKune and Daniel O’Neill




Alana Birtles, Ben Brighton 
Amy Victoria Brooks, Sandra Campbell 
Nathalie Fenwick, Nicholas Foustellis
Angela Johnston, Alice Livingstone
Aimee Lodge, Francisco Lopez
Martin Portus, Bryden White-Tuohey


Previews 19 & 20 Mar 7:30pm
Opening Night Thu 21 Mar 7:30pm
Thu – Sat 7:30pm
Sun 5pm
Sat 13 Apr 2pm only


Full $35
Concession, Groups (6+) $30
New Theatre Members $22 (with promo code)
Previews, Thrifty Thursdays $20

“Michael Gow’s play about a disaffected theatre director feels very at home at the New … Well worth catching if you’ve never seen this excellent play before. Well worth seeing again if you have.” Jason Blake, Audrey Journal 

“Patrick Howard’s direction reveals with honesty, the often contradictory states of being human … It is a handsome looking show, put together with excellent taste by production and lighting designer Victor Kalka, and costume associate Luciana Nguyen. Their minimalist style suits the bluntness of Gow’s writing, unpretentious but elegant.” Suzy Goes See

“It is difficult to find a play at New Theatre that is hard to enjoy. I congratulate the director, cast and creative team on a strong execution of a fantastic play.” SOYP

“Very theatrical in style with constant shifts of focus and location and the use of an on stage chorus … Recommended” Sydney Arts Guide

The ensemble acting, stagecraft, direction, lighting, and design are spot on.” The Music

“Michael Gow tells his stories via believable characters and tight dialogue, especially when the messages are just a little bit angry, just a little bit critical, just a little bit emotional … A very moving play”  Stage Whispers

“Deceptively simple but completely engaging … A layered work that shifts between the serious and superficial throughout, giving comic relief between the weightier topics, it’s a gently Australian story of growing old, finding connection, death, love, philosophy, diversity and religion. Well worth catching”  Broadway World

“A thought-provoking reflection on the human life-cycle. Its Australian based themes are universal, and it is both sad and uplifting. Most importantly, it is entertaining”  Absolute Theatre

Main image: © magdal3na/Adobe Stock