The Importance of Being Earnest

25 Jul – 16 Aug, Dunstan Playhouse


Presented by State Theatre Company and Envestra
By Oscar Wilde

I never change, except in my affections.

Oscar Wilde’s brilliant and much-loved comedy of love, manners and mistaken identity – The Importance of Being Earnest has been delighting audiences for over 100 years.

Set within the stifling conventions of Victorian England, two young bachelors have taken to bending the rules and the truth to add a dash of excitement to their lives. Jack invents a brother Ernest as an excuse to leave his dull country life behind so that he may pursue Gwendolen, the delectable daughter of Lady Bracknell. Across town, Algernon decides to take the name Ernest when visiting Jack’s young ward Cecily. When each gentleman is forced to unwind his web of lies and reveal himself, being “earnest” takes on a whole new meaning!

Grande dame of the Australian theatre Nancye Hayes (Metro Street) returns to State Theatre Company to bring the formidable and acidic Lady Bracknell to life alongside the elastic and hilarious Nathan O’Keefe (The Comedy of Errors, Pinocchio) as Algernon.

The Importance of Being Earnest also tours to Canberra, Geelong and Wollongong.

Warm up your winter with this greatest of comedies in a brilliant new production ingeniously directed by Geordie Brookman and ravishingly designed by Ailsa Paterson. 

Duration: 2 hours 25 minutes - including interval. 



Mon 21 July 6:00pm



Sat 2 Aug 2:00pm
Vision Impaired / Audio Described (with pre-show discussion from 1.00pm) 

Tues 5 Aug 6:30pm 
Vision Impaired / Audio Described (with pre-show discussion from 5.30pm) 
Night With State (Q&A after the performance)\

Sun 10 Aug 3:00pm
AUSLAN interpreted performance
Click here to access the most suitable seats, or mention that you require AUSLAN seats when phoning BASS on 131 246.


Wed 13 August 11:00am

Wed 13 August 6:30pm 

Please click here for more information on the Access Program. 



Wed 13 August 11:00am
Please click here for more information about Keith's Matinee Club.



Fri 1 August 8:00pm
Please click here for more information on the Red Carpet program.



Please click the following links for your local venue bookings.

Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra ACT
19 - 23 August
Book online
Geelong Performing Arts Centre, Geelong VIC 28 - 30 August Book online
Illawara Performing Arts Centre, Wollongong NSW    2 - 6 September
Book online




Geordie Brookman

Ailsa Paterson

Lighting Designer 
Gavin Norris

Stuart Day

Assistant Director
Yasmin Gurreeboo

Accent Coach
Simon Stollery


Lucy Fry, Nancye Hayes, Caroline Mignone, Nathan O’Keefe, Yalin Ozucelik, Anna Steen, Rory Walker

Video Archive

For more videos, check out State Theatre Company’s YouTube channel.

Photo Archive

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

"The Importance of Being Earnest is simply great fun with all the cast in fine form in a production that will have you laughing all the way home – all very witty Wilde... Director Geordie Brookman plays to all his actors’ strengths, introducing slapstick and physical comedy for O’Keefe to bounce off Yalin Ozucelik, who proves equally adept as Algy’s straight man and long-suffering friend, Jack Worthing." Adelaide Now

“What a riotous pleasure this Earnest is. Just see it.” The Australian

"Nathan O’Keefe hits the funny bone for State Theatre... If ever an actor were born to play The Importance of Being Earnest’s mischievous social miscreant Algernon Moncrieff, it is Nathan O’Keefe." The Advertiser

"Sticking with the playwright’s intentions within The Importance of Being Earnest is prudent. In doing so, the State Theatre Company of SA has delivered a masterpiece... This enormously appealing production, rich in satire and wit, has to be one of the year’s best." InDaily 

"Nathan O’Keefe is excellent as Lady Bracknell’s nephew Algernon Moncrieff. O’Keefe has fine comic timing and the capacity to nuance his performance with the slightest of expressions, yet he is at times also very physical...I’d earnestly suggest you get along to enjoy State Theatre’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest. It’s high class; Lady Bracknell must surely approve of that." Stage Whispers

"The audience erupts from the theatre in a haze of happiness. A good Earnest is a delicious experience - the theatrical equivalent to the perfect cucumber sandwich. Well, maybe this one is not quite of that traditional custom. Cucumber and rocket, perhaps, since Geordie Brookman has pushed the conventions, as is his wont. He's a young director who likes to put a dash of the fresh in the classics." The Barefoot Review 

"[Geordie Brookman] has brought together a marvellous cast and created a production in which Wilde's lines sparkle anew, to the delight of the first night audience who laughed incessantly.Broadway World

"Masterfully directed by Geordie Brookman, this stellar cast effortlessly delivered the requisite flamboyance whilst leaving space for the brilliance of Oscar Wilde’s script and his famous one-liners.Glamadelaide

"The Importance of Being Earnest is simply great fun with all the cast in fine form in a production that will have you laughing all the way home – all very witty Wilde." Kryztoff

“The most perfect high comedy in the English language”  The Telegraph

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 The Importance of Being Earnest will be on:

5, 7 & 15 August 10:30am

To book please download the Education Program Booking Form here.

Download Study Guide 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