6 JUNE – 8 JULY 


“Love isn’t clean. It’s dirty. Like a good joke.”

Lane, a doctor, values order in every aspect of her life – her career, her house, her emotions, her relationships.

Her live-in Brazilian maid Matilde finds cleaning makes her sad and yearns to be a stand-up comedian; while Lane’s sister Virginia finds solace in cleaning and secretly takes over Matilde’s duties.

When Lane’s husband, a surgeon, falls in love with a terminally-ill patient, everything that was clean and tidy for Lane is thrown into disarray, and she must turn to the women in her life to help sort out the mess.

Blending whimsical humour with wisdom and compassion, this romantic comedy about love, sex, death – and finding the perfect joke – proves that shared laughter can heal almost anything.

From the acclaimed writer of In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) comes this award-winning celebration of the solidarity, practicality and emotional resilience of women.

Winner: 2004 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize (awarded annually for the best English-language play written by a woman)
Finalist: 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

“One of the finest and funniest plays you’re likely to see” The New York Times

Creative team

Director Rosane McNamara
Set & Lighting Designer David Marshall-Martin
Costume Designer Nicola Block
Sound Designer Tegan Nicolls
Assistant Director Tabitha Woo
Dialect Coach Emma Louise
Production Manager Louise Fischer
Stage Managers/Props Jo Jewitt, Ricci Costa


James Bean, Colleen Cook, Mary-Anne Halpin, Alice Livingstone, Keila Terencio

Dates & Times

Previews Tue 6 & Wed 7 Jun, 7:30pm
Thu – Sat 7:30pm, Sun 5pm
Final performance, Sat 8 Jul 2pm

TICKET prices

Full $35 * Concessions, Groups (6+) $30 * Members $22 *Previews, Student Rush, Thrifty Thursdays $20
School groups: $22 per student, accompanying teachers free. Call Alice Livingstone 02 9519 3403

Interview in The Sydney Morning Herald with cast member Keila Terencio, director Rosane McNamara, and New Theatre Artistic Director Louise Fischer

“Highly recommended. The writing is gloriously funny, and under Rosane McNamara’s direction, Ruhl’s humour, along with an undeniable poignancy, are given full illumination. Rich with meaning and amusement, the play is captivating, thoroughly inquisitorial, and keeps us keenly intrigued.”  Suzy Goes See

“Mischievously funny and whimsical (in a good way), THE CLEAN HOUSE is an exceptionally wise and well-crafted comedy … New Theatre deserves to reap box-office rewards with this handsome production.” Jason Blake, Sydney Morning Herald

“Like Anton Chekhov, Sarah Ruhl views life as an unavoidable comedy … THE CLEAN HOUSE is a delightful, wise experience. I recommend it with few reservations. New Theatre seems to be having a very good artistic year.” Kevin Jackson’s Theatre Diary

“A warm and wise comedy that amuses with an authentic absurdity. It deserves to clean up at the box office.”  Australian Stage

“A beautiful production … Comic, heart wrenching, heart warming and more than a bit bizarre, this work shines a spotlight on what is important in life … A wonderfully funny play, presented to a very high standard … A joy to watch” Broadway World

“Uniformly terrific performances … Finely tuned yet explicit direction reveals the ludicrous elements of the drama without compromising the legitimacy of the emotions of the characters” The Buzz From Sydney

Photos © Bob Seary

Main image © PhotoAlto sas/Alamy