Mary Anne Butler – Playwright

Half Way There


“Butler writes with a toughness and energy that is somehow distinctly Territorian. She  [writes] about isolation and madness and the power of nature, these are big themes and… a powerful addition to the argument that some of our best theatre is coming from  regional Australia.” – Cairns Post

“Humour and pathos, black comedy and stark realism jostle each other continually [with] echoes of Ray Lawlerʼs Doll in its use of down-to-earth, pithy one-liners and its  gradual revelation of home truths that the characters will not admit either to  strangers or, most of all, themselves.” – Arts Nexus

“Very much Australian and very much an original play, make sure you go and see Halfway There.” – ArtsHub

“One hell of a yarn… an incredibly in depth look at another side of Australia, Half Way There takes the audience all the way.” – Cairns Sun

“The opening night audience loved the play, laughing heartily at times and listening so intently at others that you could have heard the proverbial pin drop. …a very  successful production – making for a memorable theatrical experience.” – Arts Nexus

Audience feedback: 

“One of the great festival events.”

“Poignant, funny, and Iʼm glad I came.”

“Gutsy, I even cried.”

“It pulled no punches – very confronting emotional rollercoaster.”


Aging sex worker Harriet Evans lives in the remote NT outback with her old-time mate, Wesley Loy. Together they manage Half Way – a run-down pub-come-brothel smack-bang in the middle of nowhere – where dingo calls echo out across the night skies, and generators are used to provide precious electricity. They muddle along together; yet something’s not right. The landscape itself seems to whisper of past ghosts; of things left unresolved.

And then Sabrina turns up. Twenty years younger than Harriet and cannier than Wes, Sabrina wields the new broom of Development. Half Way has been bought out, Sabrina’s newly ensconced as manager, and everyone’s world begins to change

An aging sex worker is no match for the young, pumped up variety and as Harriet’s scarce clientele switch across to Sabrina’s more buxom offerings, Sabrina seems hell-bent on making Harriet’s life as difficult as humanly possible. As the bulldozers move in, Harriet and Wes scrabble for place in this new incarnation.

Then the Wet comes, and Sabrina finds that development is no match for nature.    And as Harriet’s ghosts from the path are unearthed, the land itself comes alive; spewing forth its long-held secrets…

Half Way There TEAM

Co-produced by Knock-em-Down Theatre and JUTE, Half Way There premiered at COCA in Cairns, on August 7, 2009 with the following cast and crew:

HARRIET: Gail Evans

WES:  Ralph Cotterill

SABRINA:  Laura Pike                                                                                         

Director – Iain Sinclair                                                                                            

Designer – Dominie Hooper

Dramaturgy – Peter Matheson

Lighting Designer – Matt Cox

Sound Designer – Steve Toulmin


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