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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | September 19, 2021

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Boy Swallows Universe now in 2021

Boy Swallows Universe now in 2021
Emily Lowe

The world premiere of the stage adaptation based on the best selling Brisbane novel ‘Boy Swallows Universe’, has been postponed, and will make it’s debut at the 2021 Brisbane Festival.

The uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic and venue restriction means The  Brisbane Festival, Queensland Theatre and QPAC are unable to present the highly anticipated work.

Queensland Theatre Artistic Director, Lee Lewis, said she wants the show to be celebrated when families and friends can come together safely.

“Boy Swallows Universe is a defining Australian story, we want to present it at a time when everyone feels inspired to come out and celebrate it in the company of their neighbours, family and interstate friends.” Lewis said.

Boy Swallows Universe is originally a novel by Brisbane author Trent Dalton, and is a coming of age tale set in the Brisbane suburbs in 1983.

Loosely based on his own childhood, Dalton’s story is full of magic and madness, with ups and downs, joy and heartbreak, to show how love conquers all.

Book Cover of Boy Swallows Universe

It has been adapted for the screen by Tim McGary and is directed by Sam Strong, as a co-production between Queensland Theatre and Brisbane Festival.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said although theater goes and book lovers who were anticipating the show can remain excited for the pages to come to life on stage.

“A great driver for us at QPAC is enabling the telling of stories that reflect our community and our shared lived experiences and this local treasure would have done just that,” Kotzas said.

“Sadly we’ll all have to just wait a little longer than expected to immerse ourselves in Trent’s brilliant coming of age tale on stage,” he said.

Sam Strong and Trent Dalton sitting in theatre

Artistic Director Louise Bezzina said the premiere will be a great opportunity to support the local arts industry as it bounces back after the global pandemic.

“Brisbane Festival is deeply committed to telling the stories of our great city and Boy Swallows Universe is a boldly Brisbane story,” Bezzina said.

“Now, more than ever, Brisbane Festival has a responsibility to support the local arts industry and provide artists and companies with the opportunity and platform to once again thrive,” She said.

Brisbane Festival’s 2020 program will launch on Tuesday 28 July 2020. Brisbane Festival 2020 will be held from 4 to 26 September.

For more information, including updates and announcements, visit or follow Brisbane Festival on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.