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Slingsby and State Theatre Company South Australia, in association with Adelaide Festival, present

The Boy Who Talked To Dogs

Adapted for the stage by Amy Conroy | From the book by Martin McKenna

25 Feb — 14 Mar 2021
Thomas Edmonds Opera Studio, Adelaide Showground

You are the only ones who understand me

Young Martin is a misfit. Bullied at school and misunderstood at home, his only comfort comes from sneaking off to the family coal shed to bond with his German Shepherds, Major and Rex.

When things reach breaking point, the 13 year old runs away from his home in Limerick, Ireland, and finds himself taken in by a new family – a pack of stray dogs. As they dodge trains, steal meals and fight for survival, Martin finds himself on the road he was always meant to take.

Based on the best-selling memoir, this rough-and-tumble tale, starring acclaimed Irish actor Bryan Burroughs, fuses shadow puppetry, swinging Irish music and stunning physical performance to bring Byron Bay ‘Dog Man’ Martin McKenna’s epic true story to the stage for the first time.

Beautifully adapted by Irish playwright Amy Conroy, The Boy Who Talked To Dogs is a magical and mischievous tale of transformation, redemption, and what happens when the underdog finds his pack.

I’m thrilled that we’re collaborating with Slingsby on this incredible story. It will break your heart then lick your wounds and heal you. Mitchell


Run time: Approx. 70 minutes (no interval)

Content: Contains themes of domestic violence.
Age guide – 12 +

From the book by Martin McKenna published by Skyhorse Publishing. Developed with the assistance of Draíocht Arts Centre, Dublin 15, Ireland.

  • Director

    Andy Packer
  • Songwriter

    Lisa O'Neill
  • Composer/Performer

    Quincy Grant
  • Set Designer

    Wendy Todd
  • Lighting Designer

    Chris Petridis
  • Costume Designer

    Ailsa Paterson
  • With

    Bryan Burroughs
    Victoria Falconer
    Emma Luker


This performance will be seated as cabaret table seating. To ensure the seating allocation meets current guidelines, tickets will be issued to all ticket holders in early February 2021.


The Boy Who Talked To Dogs is also available as a State Extra add-on to our 2021 Subscription Packages.

The option to add your State Extra ticket/s will be available after you make your main package selections.



Join our esteemed panel on Monday 1 Feb for our Tangent Talk on The Boy Who Talked To Dogs. For more info and to purchase tickets, visit the event page.

Subscriber Briefing

2021 Subscribers are invited to join us for exclusive Subscriber Briefings to learn more about the creation of the show.

Post Show Q&As

We hold Q&As with our artists and creative teams so that you can ask questions about the production.



The Boy Who Talked To Dogs will be held at the Thomas Edmonds Opera Studio at the Adelaide Showground.

Parking is located right next to the venue. The entrance to the internal carpark is via the Rose Terrace entrance. Access drop off is near the Stirling Angas Hall. The toilets are located at the eastern end of the Stirling Angas Hall.

Click here to view a site map of the Adelaide Showground.