Hedda Gabler

26 Apr – 18 May, Dunstan Playhouse


Presented by State Theatre Company of South Australia
By Henrik Ibsen and adapted by Joanna Murray-Smith

A heroine. A victim. A villain. Hedda Gabler is all of these and more—a woman filled with a restless passion for life that cannot be satisfied by her marriage or her perfect home. Henrik Ibsen’s towering classic will be given a sharp contemporary adaptation by Joanna Murray-Smith (The Female of the Species, Lovechild, Honour).

Reared to take her place as a society hostess but without the means to support such a lifestyle after her father’s death, Hedda is trapped in a loveless marriage and must live out her life according to a set of standards totally alien to her upbringing.

As she strives to find a way to fulfil her desires, an old flame from the past reappears—the brilliant Lovborg whose prodigal talent serves to highlight the dull and plodding world of her husband. The connection cannot be resisted and leads to violent and tragic events even she could not have predicted or control.

Leading an outstanding cast, we are excited to bring one of Australia’s brightest young theatrical talents, Alison Bell (ABC’s Laid, Belvoir’s The Book of Everything, Sydney
Theatre Company’s Doubt), to Adelaide to wrestle with one of modern drama’s most powerful and charismatic figures.

Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes with no interval.


Monday 22 April 6:00pm



Saturday 4 May 2:00pm
Vision Impaired / Audio Described (with pre-show discussion from 1:00pm)

Tuesday 7 May 6.30pm
Vision Impaired / Audio Described (with pre-show discussion from 5.30pm)
Night With State (Q&A after the performance)

Wednesday 15 May 11.00am
Captioned (Q&A after the performance)

Please click here for more information on the Access Program.



Friday 10 May 8:00pm
Please click here for more information on the Red Carpet program.


Saturday 4 May 2.00pm
Vision Impaired / Audio Described (with pre-show discussion from 1.00pm)

Tuesday 7 May 6.30pm
Vision Impaired / Audio Described (with pre-show discussion from 5:30pm)
Night With State (Q&A after the performance)

Wednesday 15 May 11.00am
Captioned / Q&A after the performance

Please click here for more information on the Access Program.

Click on the link below to listen to pre-show audio introductory notes for Hedda Gabler

- Hedda Gabler audio introduction

Geordie Brookman

Set Designer & Lighting Designer
Geoff Cobham

Costume Designer & Associate Set Designer
Ailsa Paterson

Associate Lighting Designer
Ben Flett


Cast Includes
Alison Bell, Kate Cheel, Terence Crawford, Cameron Goodall, Carmel Johnson & Nathan O’Keefe




Photo Archive

For more photos, check out State Theatre Company’s flickr profile.

"Director Geordie Brookman's excellent production for State Theatre Company of South Australia benefits greatly from Joanna Murray-Smith's lucidly assured, accessibly modernised adaptation. In the demanding role as neurotic, vibrant, alienated Hedda, Alison Bell is outstanding. She makes the time shift credible; Hedda's predicament ("it's really a man's life she wants to lead," wrote Ibsen) is not just a 19th-century problem. Bell's notable achievement, and of this exceptional production overall, is to present Hedda's malign, reckless despair while still retaining our sense of the injustice of her tragedy."
Murray Bramwell, The Australian

"Move over, Lady Macbeth. Never has there been a female sociopath on the stage so manipulative, so conniving, so evil and yet so utterly forlorn as Alison Bell's Hedda Gabler...It's a wild, fun and ultimately harrowing psychological thrill-ride."
Patrick McDonald, The Advertiser

"In the title role, Bell is unapologetically haughty and sarcastic, a real force of nature at times truly terrifying to behold."
Benjamin Orchard, Adelaide Theatre Guide

"State Theatre’s modern adaptation via Murray-Smith is slick. Alison Bell successfully takes on one of the most demanding roles in theatre, seemingly preferring to paint her Hedda as a manipulating villain rather than say a victim of circumstance or an idealist fighting against society."
Peter Maddern, Kryztoff

"This production engages the audience from the opening moments, maintaining the tension and drama throughout...Hedda Gabler is an impressive production. State Theatre artistic director Geordie Brookman seems to have the knack of uniting casts and promoting genuine ensemble performances, and his success with this play bodes well for future performances."
Greg Elliott, InDaily

"A seemingly unsympathetic character, the talented Bell plays Hedda with such marvellous authenticity – we see Hedda’s motivations, what has shaped her, and, most importantly we come to understand her. We too are pulled in by her siren call...All elements of this production are exceptional. Subtle and affecting acting on all parts, the script has been superbly adapted by Joanna Murray-Smith and directed by Geordie Brookman. The set design, a slice of the the Tessman’s living room with a view to their eerie backyard, is particularly masterful, as is the brilliant lighting and music."
Ashleigh Knott, On The Record

"Director Brookman has presented a fine ensemble and well adapted piece with precision and style...Moody and powerful sound by DJ Trip and excellent lighting and set design by Geoff Cobham contribute much to this enjoyable and face-paced theatre experience. Human beings are bizarre – and Ibsen’s story and the talented team involved in this production of Hedda Gabler hit this home… hard."
Stephen House, Aussie Theatre

"Overall, Hedda Gabler is confronting and thought-provoking, with an ending that will leave the audience shocked, even if they have seen the original play. Modern without being unnatural and symbolic without being pretentious, it is a stimulating and enjoyable piece that will leave the audience with plenty to discuss and to ponder about the nature of power, love and courage."
Paige Mulholland, Arts Hub

"Bell’s Hedda Gabler was magnetic.  She commanded the stage with great intelligence and studied emotion, and her performance was the highlight of the evening."
Shona Benson, Limelight

"The cast is superb. Sinister and manipulative comes as easily to Bell as damned nice comes to Cameron Goodall who plays her kind, honourable and talented new husband, Jorgan Tessman. Terence Crawford beguiles as the smugly predatory lawyer friend, Brack, while Nathan O'Keefe claims the loser low ground as Lovborg, the pathetic genius with a drinking problem.  The wonderful Carmel Johnson is the breath of traditional family constancy as dear old Aunt Julle. But it is young Kate Cheel who will be claiming the performance-to-remember prize for her voice, her emotional range, her physical speed and lightness..."
Samela Harris, The Barefoot Review 

Day With State Shows
Each show is followed by a Q&A session with the Director and the cast. Teachers who book students into a Day With State show will receive a detailed study guide. These provide in-depth information on themes, style, characters and set and includes assignment questions which are ideal for continued learning back at school.

Day With State shows for Hedda Gabler will be on:

8 May 10:30am
17 May 10:30am

To book please download the Education Program Booking Form here.

Completed forms can be returned to:

State Theatre Company of South Australia
PO Box 8252, Station Arcade, Adelaide SA 5000
or fax 8231 6310
or email Education