Season Finished
Dunstan Playhouse

State Theatre Company and Queensland Theatre in association with Adelaide Festival Centre

By Sue Smith


Hydra Trailer from StateTheatreSA on Vimeo.

A decorated war correspondent and a talented young journalist meet, fall in love and set off on a global adventure, leaving scandal behind them in post-World War II Australia.

It’s 1956 and Australia’s famous literary couple, George Johnston and Charmian Clift have moved to the Greek island of Hydra to focus their lives fully on their writing. Charmian, a burgeoning writing talent, creatively dominated by the tuberculosis ridden George, throws herself into this new community. Meanwhile, as George determinedly crafts what would become his Miles Franklin Award-winning masterpiece, My Brother Jack, their marriage becomes increasingly strained and they discover that living in paradise has a price.

State Theatre Company favourite Sue Smith (Kryptonite, Machu Picchu, Brides of Christ) has crafted a sweeping tale told from the perspective of George and Charmian’s eldest son Martin, chronicling George Johnston and Charmian Clift’s time as the figureheads of Hydra’s bohemian expat community. Starring Nathan O’Keefe (Macbeth) as Martin and Anna McGahan (from TV’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, Dr Blake Mysteries and Underbelly) as Charmian, Hydra brings a soaring emotional tale of two extraordinary literary lives to the stage.

Hydra contains coarse language, adult themes (references to suicide), sexual references and the use of e-cigarettes.

Duration: Approximately 100 minutes (no interval)

Hydra has recently been published by NewSouth Books. Learn more here

Below are some support services for those affected by the themes in the production:

Lifeline – 13 11 44
Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636

  • Please access a pdf of pre-show notes here

    You can access an audio version of the pre-show notes here

    Purchase tickets to audio described performances here.

Explore the Show


Sam Strong


Vilma Mattila

Lighting Designer

Nigel Levings

Cast Includes

Tiffany Lyndall-Knight, Anna McGahan, Nathan O'Keefe, Hugh Parker, Bryan Probets and Kevin Spink

Dates & Times

      • P
      • ON
      • C
      • K
      • C
      • AD
      • AD
      • QA
Opening Night
Audio Described
Keith's Matinee Club
Post-show Q&A