Mary Anne Butler – Playwright


BROKEN will have a 2016 season at Darlinghurst Theatre from August 3-28, directed by Shannon Murphy:



Broken Synopsis  “…emptiness is the beginning of all things…” – Broken entwines three disparate lives as they shatter across a single fateful night in the heart of Australia’s desert country.


Midnight. Central desert. A Troop-Carrier rolls through the bush, trapping its sole occupant – Ash – upside-down, inside the car. Ham – a local SES volunteer – comes across the accident. He CBs into Alice Springs for an ambulance and goes into emergency response: cutting Ash loose from the car, stabilising her, administering CPR.

In a house on a rural block outside Alice Springs, Mia is gripped by grinding stomach cramps; enough to bring a woman to her knees. She’s alone way out here, trying to hang on to the tiny life growing inside her.

Ash finally gasps her way back to life – broken, but intact. Ham waits for the ambulance to arrive and does what he’s trained to do: bandages her bleeding head, splints her broken leg, lights a fire to ward off the night. He keeps her talking, cracks bad jokes, takes her mind off herself. Makes her feel warm, and safe.

Mia hangs on to her baby with everything she’s got. If her husband were here, he’d know how to help. He’s trained for it. But he’s not here. And she has no idea where he is.
As a single fraught night unfolds, time shifts on its axis and three worlds collide: from the past to the present, and back again – scattering broken pieces of empty along the way.

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


Production History:

Broken premiered at Browns Mart Theatre in March 2015 to a sold out season and critical acclaim, with the above reviews and audience feedback including:

A faultless piece of storytelling. Shows like this don’t come around very often so I really urge everyone to go and see this beautifully crafted performance. Just brilliant. Well done to all. – CJ Fraser-Bell

Congratulations on a stunning piece of theatre, folks. Thank you so much. Everybody go and see Broken! – Jessie Davis

Great last night performance of the amazing Broken by Mary Anne Butler. Mary Anne, your writing is an incisive dagger and you so nail it – “breath smelling of whiskey and sadness”. Now for the big screen. – Francine Chinn

I just went to this three hander… It was riveting, intense to the max, no props with great mood lighting. We are talking emotional, single person experiences that can happen in my NT. The kind of emotive speech that can bring you undone! I’m so happy I went. Exceptional work Mary Anne Butler, and all behind the scenes. – Denise Officer

Congratulations to everyone involved with this triumph! – Will Stubbs

It was absolutely brilliant. Mary Anne Butler, you’re amazing. – Pen Weaver


Cast and crew as follows:

Writer: Mary Anne Butler

Director: Gail Evans

Ash: Rosealee Pearson

Ham: Matt Edgerton

Mia: Ciella Williams

Dramaturgy: Chris Mead

Set Design: Kris Bird

Lighting Design: Sean Pardy

Sound Design: Angus Robson



2 thoughts on “Broken

  1. I am a Canadian playwright and attended a performance of BROKEN in March while visiting Australia. I had just completed a 2-week run at the Adelaide Fringe and was touring around. BROKEN was an exceptional play on so many levels, and it has remained with me — even 4 months later. Please let me know if you’re ever bringing it to Canada — the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival would be a great place for it. Thank you for writing it.

    • Hi Linda,
      Thanks so much for this feedback – it’s hugely appreciated and I’m glad you liked the production. Our local touring body Arts NT is looking at getting an Australia-wide tour together as we speak, so I’ll pass your thoughts on to them as they also tour internationally.
      I see that your work has also been to Australia, so you must come here a bit?
      Mary Anne

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