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A Crate of Souls


A Crate of Souls might be described as ‘verbatim-theatre-with-an-expressionist- twist.’ It follows the journey of three of three immigrant ships during the first year of the colonisation of South Australia – 1836: the Buffalo, the Rapid, and the Africaine. But really, as one of the characters says in the play, these could have been ‘any ships travelling any ocean in search of any number of Utopias’.


The play follows these ‘practical idealists’ from their embarkation in England, through the rough North Atlantic, the torpor of the tropical ‘Doldrums’ past the Cape of Good Hope and via the ferocious winds, the ‘Roaring Forties’ all the way to landfall at Holdfast Bay. It encapsulates a place, time, experience and culture of thought that were part of the makings of modern Australia.


The play was written for the final year students at the Adelaide College of the Arts as their Graduation piece. Thus, it has thirteen roles for the thirteen actors. Some of these are historical personages, using (adapted) real-life dialogue taken from diaries and letters. A couple of them are strictly fictional - symbolic characters who facilitate the thematic material in the piece. [The published version includes an Indigenous character, and thus point of view. This role was not possible to cast in the original production].


Produced: Adelaide College of the Arts, 2010.

Published: Phoenix Educational, 2010

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