Return to the Dirt world premiere

Award-winning play on now at Queensland Theatre.

Queensland Theatre presents Return to the Dirt by Steve Pirie, winner of the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award 2020–21, which makes its world premiere at the Bille Brown Theatre, from 16 October-6 November, 2021.

Return to the Dirt is a warm, funny and surprising play based on Queensland playwright Steve Pirie’s year spent working at a Toowoomba funeral home.

With Steve himself in the role of The Playwright, the performance sheds light on a little-known industry and explores questions such as what happens when we die and what does it mean to live.

Queensland Theatre Artistic Director Lee Lewis said despite the subject matter, Return to the Dirt was an uplifting performance.

“It’s hard to explain the emotion in the play but it’s not about someone who died,” Ms Lewis said.

“It’s a story of a young man becoming older and stronger and what’s really lovely is that it’s a story of a young man that doesn’t involve violence.

“What’s uplifting about it is that he survives what the world throws at him and comes out wanting to share his knowledge with others, which is this really hopeful story about the capacity of young people to see the world around them and make it better.”

While the play’s themes will resonate with a national audience, Ms Lewis said the performance would hold special meaning for Queenslanders.

“It’s always lovely when you hear your hometown in a story and there will be moments that only people from Toowoomba will completely appreciate,” Ms Lewis said.

“I didn’t grow up in Toowoomba, but I recognise the characters in the town that Steve is portraying and he’s captured the essence of small towns and the things we all cherish about own hometowns.”

Ms Lee said the play was sure to hold a special place in the Australian theatre community.

“Steve doesn’t know it yet, but he’s created one of the great female characters of Australian theatre,” she said.

“It’s a love letter to some of the extraordinary female funeral directors that he’s worked with and it’s going to be a character that actors are going to want to play from here to forever.

“It’s a real Australian classic and I think we’re going to see productions of this around the country – you’re going to want to see it here first.

RACQ members save 10% on tickets and first-time theatre goers receive $20 tickets.

RACQ Living and Queensland Theatre are giving members the chance to win one of 175 double passes to see Return to the Dirt and an all-inclusive VIP experience.