“What other city in the world could offer a view like this?"



Welcome to the glittering jewel of that other Oz. Fading screenwriter Colin is not long in Sydney before he’s seduced by its obsession with success. Teaming up with well-connected hack writer Mike, Colin finds himself in a tug of war between artistic ambition and big bucks. Fame and fortune – not to mention Mike’s criminally hot girlfriend – are up for grabs.

Part love letter, part hate mail to the harbour city, Emerald City is one of the best works by Australian theatre’s most beloved craftsman and commentator, David Williamson. Three decades after it was written, it still captures the ballsy spirit of the ’80s and retains its skewering sharpness – a panoramic view of the city that’s always prized beauty over brains.

In 2014, Griffin gives Emerald City the shameless revival it’s been crying out for. Lee Lewis dusts off her shoulder pads to direct.

Cast & Creatives

Director Lee Lewis
Designer Ken Done
Costume Designer and Associate Set Designer Sophie Fletcher
Lighting Designer Luiz Pampolha
Composer: Kelly Ryall
With Lucy Bell, Mitchell Butel, Jennifer Hagan, Kelly Paterniti, Ben Winspear and Gareth Yuen

Performance Times

Previews  18, 20, 21 October
Season 24 October – 6 December
Subscriber Q&A 4 November

Performance Times
Monday – Friday 7pm
Saturday 2pm and 7pm

Run Time
140 mins including interval


Behind the Scenes, Emerald City


Emerald City sparkles like Sydney Harbour on a sunny day.” ★★★★ TimeOut Sydney

“This play was first produced in 1987, with John Bell, Ruth Cracknell, Robyn Nevin and Max Cullen in the principal roles — a glittering cast doing a play about glittering but comically flawed people. Lewis’s cast is just as good, a quarter of a century later.” The Australian

“Lewis’s direction is clear and fast-paced …In commissioning as set designer that other quintessential recorder of Sydney, artist Ken Done, Lee Lewis had a moment of inspiration that translates into a striking and workable design.” Stagenoise

“It’s Williamson at his sharpest and it’s often deftly funny….his observations on Australia’s cultural cringe and the tensions our artists face ring true.” Daily Review, Crikey

“Lucy Bell is quite wonderful as Kate — angry, tortured, treacherous, loving.” Stage Whispers

“…..Mike McCord, a sleazy stubbly shyster, played to obnoxious perfection by Ben Winspear..” Sydney Arts Guide 

“Jennifer Hagan is deliciously dry as Elaine” Sydney Morning Herald  

“[Ben] Winspear does a sterling job as the gruff, fast-talking Mike” Sunday Telegraph

“Despite the new millennium, Williamson’s skewering of Sydneysiders continues to ring true.” Concrete Playground

“All four principal actors deliver outstanding performances, especially Winspear, who is just so, so sleazy and exploitive, yet disarmingly naive, as Mike McCord.”  Ozbabyboomers.com.au

Here’s how some critics have summarised Williamson’s contribution to Australian playwriting:

“Australia’s most enduringly popular social comedy writer…keenly observant and satirical.” Sydney Morning Herald

“Williamson always keeps us engaged…his words weave a spellbinding course…testament to the power of Williamson’s language.” Daily Telegraph

“Our greatest dramatic entertainer.” Chris Boyd, Financial Review

“His genius has been to define for us, in advance of our own recognition, the qualities which make up the Australian character.” Katharine Brisbane, The Australian

“Audiences love him, partly because he comes at elitist worlds with a sharp eye and a bias toward the everyman.” Fiona McFarlane

Blog Posts



Playwright David Williamson reflects on Emerald City and the parallels it has with his own life. Emerald City has undeniable links to my own life. In 1979, my wife Kristin and I made the long car journey up the Hume Highway from...

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