Australian Theatre Live Presents
A Griffin Theatre Company Production

Diving For Pearls

Katherine Thomson’s story about aspiration and reinvention is one of the great Australian plays.


Set in Wollongong during the economic rationalism of the late ‘80s, Diving for Pearls remains startlingly relevant—the political decisions of that time planted the seeds of divide we continue to witness between those with opportunity, and those without.
With the town she grew up in changing all around her, Barbara is determined to change with it. Dreaming of a way out, she sets her sights on landing a job at one of the new resorts popping up all over town. Meanwhile, her partner Den is having change forced upon him. The steelworks he’s worked at his whole life has been sold and Den must reinvent himself to survive. The arrival of Barbara’s daughter, Verge, just might be the thing that tips Barbara and Den over the edge.
Helpmann Award-winning actor, the great Ursula Yovich stars as Barbara, a character as significant in the history of Australian theatre as Willy Loman is in America’s.


Playwright Katherine Thomson

Direction Darren Yap

Cast Steve Rodgers, Ebony Vagulans, Ursula Yovich, Jack Finsterer, Michelle Doake

Set & Costume Design James Browne

Lighting Design Benjamin Brockman

Composition & Sound Design Max Lambert & Roger Lock

Stage Manager Cara Woods

Photography Brett Boardman


This play is a classic for a reason: it captures a truth of regional struggle and treats it with respect and concern. It’s a play for anyone with a social conscience…

Time Out Sydney, Cassie Tongue/h5>

If you’ve ever read it or studied it, you’ll know Diving for Pearls is one of those plays that leaps off the page. This production has it shaking you by the shoulders.

Sydney Morning Herald, Jason Blake

Ursula Yovich and Steve Rodgers are perfectly matched as Barbara and Den: both completely fearless actors unafraid to show us their characters’ vulnerabilities and ugliness.

Daily Review, Ben Neutze