stage productions

The Mill Theatre at Dairy Road presents several productions in-house each year. Our seasons are based on these principles:

The Adaptation: there is nothing new under the sun - what can we learn from an existing work?

The Tentpole: which shows will have most appeal for our audiences?

The Gamble: with a bit of the past and a bit of popularity under our belts, we'll take some risks.

The Revival: regular programming of the national repertoire is essential for telling our Australian stories.

The Torrents by Oriel Gray

In an Australian screwball comedy, an all female cast takes us back to the 1890s Australia where a local newspaper must accept a woman in the workforce. Oriel Gray is one of Australia’s best yet least celebrated playwrights. Set in a gold mining district ‘The Torrents’ is a witty and engaging play with themes that are as relevant now as when it was written 70 years ago.

Photo by Martin Ollmann

About Oriel Gray (1920-2003)

Themes of social justice and universal equality formed the basis of Oriel's work throughout her career. Once described as "Australia's best known unknown playwright", Oriel Gray was an active presence on our creative scene for over 50 years, initially joining Sydney's left-wing New Theatre in 1937 and eventually becoming its, and possibly Australia's, first writer-in-residence.

Beginning with short radio dramas, political revues and one-act stage plays, Oriel then graduated to the full-length play with Lawson (1944). She followed this with a stage adaptation of her radio serial Western Limit (1946), and a post-war suburban drama My Life is My Affair (1947).

The three act Had We But World Enough (1950) saw her begin to explore racial, social and gender equality while Sky Without Birds (1952), with its inhospitable Nullarbor-edge setting emphasised issues of xenophobia, social mores and post-war rebuilding.

While apartheid era The King Who Wouldn't (1953), which grappled with duty versus social conscience, is her only completed stage play to have never been produced, Oriel's best- known play The Torrents (1955), co-winner of the Playwrights Advisory Board prize, is proving to have longevity in the canon.

Following The Torrents Oriel's one act Faustian comedy, Drive a Hard Bargain (1957), was a Ballarat prize-winner. Marking the close of Oriel's writing principally for the stage and her transition to writing for television was J.C. Williamson prizewinning Burst of Summer (1958) returned to themes of racial and gender equality, social-justice and the significance of an individual's identity within human relationships.

Gray later adapted several of her stage plays for television, wrote original television plays, television serials and co-wrote the filmscript Beyond Reason (1970), while continuing her long association with radio drama, radio for education and young adult drama.

She also wrote a memoir, Exit Left (1985) and a novel, The Animal Shop (1990).

Over many years both Oriel's personal story and her stories, have generated consistent interest, with many citing an ongoing relevance to the contemporary world.

More information and her memoir are available at

American playwright Neil LaBute's bristling comic drama focuses on modern day obsession with physical appearance. The plot centers on four friends and lovers who become increasingly dissatisfied with their dead-end lives and each other. A hard edged comedy that makes us question what really matters in life.

Photo by Martin Ollmann

The Rockspeare series sees the Bard’s history plays presented in a rock universe where the music inherent in poetry is amplified with original compositions. This is the first instalment of four, to be played over four years. Canberra will see that factional power plays have a long and bloody history.

Photo by PassOut Media

Previously produced