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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

Season Finished
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, theatrical smoke effects and loud noises.
Age guide – 12 +

Program: Full program available online now


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 & AV Designer

    Chris Petridis
  • Costume Designer

    Ailsa Paterson
  • Sound System Designer

    Andrew Howard
  • Performer

    Bryan Burroughs
  • Performer

    Victoria Falconer
  • Performer

    Emma Luker


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

  • Map: Click here to view a site map of the Adelaide Showground. The toilets are located at the eastern end of the Stirling Angas Hall.
  • By Car: Parking is located right next to the venue. The entrance to the internal carpark is via the Rose Terrace entrance. To park closer to the venue, drive through the first street-facing carpark and beyond the brick wall to access the larger parking area, as illustrated in this map – click to view. A parking fee will apply.
  • By Public Transport: Bus, train and tram services all stop at Adelaide Showground, visit the Adelaide Showgrounds website for details.

Patrons will be required to check in to the venue by scanning the QR code on arrival. All patrons over 12 years old will be required to wear masks for the duration of the show, as directed by the SA Government. We ask that people bring their own masks. Patrons are able to lift their masks to consume food or drink.

Hand sanitiser will be available onsite but to avoid queues and congestion, we recommend people bring their own as well.

Patrons who wish to be seated together are asked to arrive and queue with your group as early as possible. The seating is general admission and it is likely patrons attending in singles, pairs or small groups will be seated at a table with fellow attendees.

Access Performances

AUSLAN Interpreted Performance
The Boy Who Talked To Dogs: Saturday 13 March, 6:30pm
Click here to purchase tickets.

Audio Described Performances and Pre-Show Briefing
The Boy Who Talked To Dogs:
Thursday 11 March, 5.30pm (briefing), 6.30pm (performance with post-show Q and A)
Click here to purchase tickets



Join our esteemed panel on Monday 1 Feb for our Tangent Talk on The Boy Who Talked To Dogs.

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.