the ham funeral

by patrick white


23 april – 25 may 2013


“I must go in soon and take part in the play, which, as usual, is a piece about eels.”

In a dingy inner-city boarding house, a naïve young poet is inexorably drawn into the strange world of the basement-dwelling landlord and his wife, the splendidly grotesque Mr and Mrs Lusty. When Mr Lusty dies, his widow his widow prepares a splendid funeral and wake in his honour and the relatives gather. Gradually the young man finds himself drawn into a desperate and dangerous sexual game, with comically tragic consequences.

Written in 1948 by Australia’s Nobel Laureate for Literature, Patrick White, THE HAM FUNERAL is loosely based on the true story that informed William Dobell’s painting The Dead Landlord and on White’s own recollections of the seedy world of London boarding-houses. A delightfully vulgar investigation of the human condition, part vaudeville, part lyric poem, and part gothic drama, THE HAM FUNERAL now enjoys cult status of one of the most intriguingly original plays in Australian theatre history.



Director/Set Designer Phillip Rouse
Costume Designer Anna Gardiner
Lighting Designer Sian James-Holland
Assistant Director Rachel Chant
Production Manager Merryn Schofield
Dramaturg Ellana Costa
Hair/Costume Thea-Rose Hamilton McBeath



Danielle Baynes, Rob Baird, Steve Corner, Brielle Flynn, Zach McKay, Lucy Miller, Kallan Richards, Karina Sindicich, Benjamin Vickers


Previews Tue 23 & Wed 24 Apr 7:30pm
Wed – Sat 7:30pm, Sun 5pm
Final perfomance, Sat 25 May, 5pm

Running Time: 2hrs and 10mins including interval



Full $32 | Concession $27 l Groups (10+) $27 | Previews $17 l Student Rush $17 l Cheap Wednesdays $17

Please note: this production contains violence and adult themes


“This play is dynamite. Puts the fun back into funeral. This is incredibly rich theatre. Enjoy the first viewing, and then come back for more. The director’s eye is magical. The cast is wonderful. “  Theatre Red

“A rewarding performance which encourages the audience to think about their own engagement with life.”  Sydney Arts Guide

“A tightly directed production that finds the humour in the situation and the characters without taking away from the futility of their plight” Stage Whispers

“There is much to admire in this production … Well worth a visit” Oz Baby Boomers

“Here are plenty of laughs amongst the poetry and vicious swinging barbs. It’s a whirlwind.” 5th Wall

“White’s writing is superb … the production tackles it with skill and poise [and] proves that the play that revolutionised Australian theatre still has a contemporary edge” Arts Hub

“Full of glorious carnal language … a great piece of literature” Concrete Playground

“This was a real treat … a wonderful play and an exciting production that needs to be seen”  Lisa Thatcher

Photos © Bob Seary