Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia

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Cnr William and Roe Streets


Captioned Performance:  Wednesday, 15 February 2012 at 7.30pm

The ‘Fat Years’ of Broome’s pre-WWI pearl-shell industry coincided with the national call to promote a white Australia. Broome owed its wealth to the cheap ‘coloured’ labour that collected mother-of-pearl from the hazardous seas.

When the Australian Government discovered this one remaining pocket of racial diversity, they demanded the Asians be replaced with British navy divers. The master pearlers fiercely opposed having to employ white divers and entered into opportunistic alliances with the Asian crews to resist the newcomers.

The White Divers of Broome is a fast-paced celebration of boom time Broome, its unique beauty, its exotic mix of cultures and the seductive power of its landscape. It is a stirring account of isolation, non-conformity and survival in a harsh and relentless environment.

“Hilary Bell will sweep you along in this epic and heartbreaking story, and take you back to a time when the racial and class relations in the exotic frontier town of Broome were watched by the entire country.”Kate Cherry


The White Divers of Broome was commissioned by Black Swan State Theatre Company as part of the Rio Tinto Black Swan Commissions.

Cast Includes: Caitlin Beresford-Ord, Kylie Farmer, Michelle Fornasier, Stuart Halusz, Yutaka Izumihara, Tom O’Sullivan

Director: Kate Cherry

Designers: Set Designer Bruce McKinven, Costume Designer Alicia Clements, Lighting Designer Trent Suidgeest, Sound Designer Ben Collins, Movement Director Chrissie Parrott


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