Theatre: Tim Winton’s Shrine

18 January 2019

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15 Feb – 2 Mar @ Melville Theatre, Palmyra ·
Presented by Melville Theatre ·

A deeply moving and sometimes confronting play from Tim Winton comes to Melville Theatre this February. Directed by Kayti Murphy, Shrine is set on WA’s south coast and explores the themes of love, grief and the way those who have passed endure through the memories of the living.

The play tells of a couple struggling to recover from the loss of their son Jack – a year later, all they have left is a scar on a tree next to a roadside shrine and an abundance of unanswered questions. But then a young woman named June turns up on the doorstep with a story about their son’s final hours.

“Shrine is not only about the irrevocable way the grief of a loved one changes us but also the ways in which those who have passed can reveal new things about themselves, even in death,” Murphy said.”That was the key for me – it would be hard to just put on a play about two people grieving the death of their son. The intrigue of June’s story drives the play forward, exploring what really happened in Jack’s final hours. She needs to tell her story and Jack’s father needs to hear it.”

The main challenge, according to Murphy, is ensuring there is light with the dark. “There is so much love, intrigue and mysticism in this show, she said. “I wanted to make sure this is just as significant as the darker moments of a parent’s grief.”

After studying theatre and drama at Murdoch University, Murphy appeared in numerous productions and was one of the principal cast in the community TV series Love on the Box.In 2013, she performed in Noel Coward’s Hands Across The Sea at Melville Theatre and A Conversation at the Old Mill Theatre, winner of the 2013 Milly Award for best play. Murphy followed up those roles in 2014 with Cosi at Phoenix Theatre and Ninety at Garrick Theatre, along with The Temperamental Artist, Love, Loss and What I Wore, Death and the Maiden and Stop Kiss.

“As soon as I read Shrine, I knew it was something special and wanted to bring it to the stage,” she said.”Tim Winton’s writing beautifully encapsulates the WA landscape so much that it is an extension of the characters themselves. “You can feel, through his writing, the magic and majesty of nature and how it can shape us while showing us how interconnected we all are. Every character has a sense of responsibility about what happened to Jack that night and they are all dealing with it in their own ways.”

Tim Winton’s Shrine plays at 8pm February 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, March 1 and 2
with a 2pm matinee February 24. Bookings on 9330 4565 or at

Melville Theatre is on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.

More info:

June (Jessica Brooke) reflects on the death of Jack (Chris Colley) in Tim Winton’s Shrine.

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Maureen Levy

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