Trent Dalton's


Adapted for the stage by Tim McGarry
Directed by Sam Strong

The blockbuster Australian novel bursts onto the stage.


  • About

    Presented by Queensland Theatre, Brisbane Festival and Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

    Playhouse, QPAC (2021)

    Boy Swallows Universe is adapted from the smash hit novel loosely based on Brisbane author Trent Dalton's own childhood. It’s an exhilarating story of magic and madness, of beauty and brutality, of joy and heartbreak, and of the power of love to triumph over the darkest of circumstances.

    Production Photography by David Kelly and Lachlan Cross

  • Team

    Creative Team

    Adapted for the stage by Tim McGarry
    Director - Sam Strong
    Designer - Renée Mulder
    Lighting Designer - Ben Hughes
    Composer & Sound Designer - Steve Francis
    Video Designer - Craig Wilkinson
    Movement Director - Nerida Matthaei
    Fight and Intimacy Director - Nigel Poulton

    Senior Stage Manager - John Reid
    Deputy Stage Manager - Yanni Dubler
    Assistant Stage Manager - Margaret Burrows

    Associate Motion Designer - Jordan Peña
    Assistant Fight Director - Sam Valentine
    Associate Sound Designer - Matthew Erskine

    Camera Operator - Joel Tronoff
    Assistant Video Editor - Nevin Howell


    Eli Bell - Joe Klocek
    August Bell/Ensemble - Tom Yaxley
    Lyle Orlik /Brian Robertson/Ensemble - Anthony Gooley
    Frankie Bell - Michala Banas
    Bich Dang/Mrs Birkbeck/Ensemble - Ngoc Phan
    Darren Dang/Ensemble - Hoa Xuande
    Slim Halliday/Tytus Broz/Ensemble - Anthony Phelan
    Iwan Krol/ Alex Bermudez/Ensemble - Joss McWilliam
    Caitlyn Spies/Shelley/Dr Brennan/Ensemble - Ashlee Lollback
    Robert Bell/Ensemble - Mathew Cooper
    Teddy Kallas/Ensemble - Andrew Buchanan
    Ensemble - Charles Ball
    Ensemble - Hsin-Ju Ely

  • Media


“Video designer Craig Wilkinson has recreated the city of Brisbane with towering images of its landmarks – Boggo Road Gaol, Story Bridge, the City Hall clock tower – projected onto the three walls of the set. The use of video allows the set to dissolve reality into fantasy and back again at rapid speed. In one moment the set is a Vietnamese restaurant in Darra; in the next, excerpts of handwritten letters are unfolding on the walls: “I will remember this moment … I will remember the end, through the beginning”

“Incredible projection mapping from video designer, Craig Wilkinson, and associate motion designer, Jordan Peña... an entire universe was created in the mostly blank canvas of the Playhouse set. I’ve seen only one other show with projection mapping of this scale, which was Frozen (The Musical) and I would argue that this was just as good quality and just as immersive.”

“The first rule of storytelling is to show rather than tell, and this is what lies at the heart of the show’s success as it moves the audience quickly through the many early fast-moving scenes of its gritty coming of age story. Swift scene changes go virtually unnoticed within Renee Mulder’s dynamic set design.... and Craig Wilkinson’s video design widens us to be, for example, under a starry sky as moving images bleed across the blank canvas of a stage to create suburban balconies and alike to give things a 3D effect”

“Ben Hughes, as lighting designer, ensured the scene work was complemented by the projections; the collaboration between these two departments paid off in vibrant and carefully paced design”


The preliminary digital storyboards illustrate pre-production concepts and progressed 3D digital renders of real life locations, recreated specifically for scenic elements within the video design.


Production Trailer

Characters featurette

Adaption featurette

Family featurette

Casting featurette

Favourite Line featurette