BROKEN by Mary Anne Butler


Image by Ciella Williams.

A car crash in the Central Desert. A broken man, about to leave his wife. An isolated woman, struggling to stay intact. Broken, the award-winning play from local playwright Mary Anne Butler, entwines the stories of three complex lives as they unfold on a single fateful night in the heart of the Territory’s desert country.

A distinctively Territory work with a universal theme, Broken wrestles with matters of chance, choice, hope and fate. Poetic, visceral and extremely moving, this haunting story of resilience and survival takes you into the heart of its characters and the Australian landscape, offering up a devastatingly fresh look at our national identity.

Broken is the first ever play to receive Australia’s richest literary prize, the Victorian Prize for Literature, in 2016. It was also the winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Drama, the 2014 NT Literary Award for Best Script and was shortlisted for the 2016 Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and the 2014 Griffin Theatre Award.

Broken wrestles with matters of chance, choice, hope and fate, posing the question: when you find yourself empty, how do you start again?

Watch a preview of Broken

Read a Q&A with Mary Anne Butler, the playwright behind Broken

Awards and Shortlists

Winner – 2016 Victorian Prize for Literature
Winner – 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Drama
Shortlist – 2016 Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting in the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards
Winner – 2014 NT Literary Awards
Shortlist – 2014 Griffin Theatre Award

Reviews for Broken

“…a brutal and bare-knuckled play that kicks you in the head–and the guts–from the first minute.” – Crikey / Daily Review

“This is some of Australia’s freshest and most exciting work and it manages to peer into and re-examine some of the iconic and romantic images we have of the Australian identity.” – ArtsHub

Broken is a powerfully immersive production which deserves to be seen nationally.” – RealTime

Broken works so well because of the physicality of the actors on the bare stage, because of the punch and power of Butler’s script and the whip-cracking snap of Gail Evans’ direction that drives the script at a blistering pace…” – Crikey / Daily Review


Knock-em-Down Theatre – Artistic Company
Mary Anne Butler – Playwright
Gail Evans – Director
Shaynee Brayshaw – Ash
Ciella Williams – Mia
Gus Murray – Ham
Kris Bird – Set and Costume Design
Sean Pardy – Lighting Design
Angus Robson – Sound Design