In a dirt-dry town in rural Australia, a shot shatters the still night. A mother and her daughters have just welcomed home the man of the house – with a crack in the shins and a bullet in the neck. The only issue now is disposing of the body.

Triggered into thrilling motion by an act of revenge, The Bleeding Tree is rude, rhythmical and irreverently funny. Imagine a murder ballad blown up for the stage, set against a deceptively deadly Aussie backdrop, with three fierce females fighting back.

With his brutal, and brutally funny, wordplay, Angus Cerini won the 2014 Griffin Award for The Bleeding Tree. Our own Lee Lewis is looking forward to getting her directorial hands exceedingly dirty.

Cast & Creatives

Director Lee Lewis
Designer Renée Mulder
Composer Steve Toulmin
Lighting Designer Verity Hampson
Stage Manager Edwina Guinness
With Paula Arundell, Airlie Dodds, Shari Sebbens

Performance Times

Previews 31 July, 1, 3, 4 August
Season 7 August – 5 September

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

Meet the Artists 11 August

Running Time
75 minutes, no interval


‘Lee Lewis’s great and complex production’ The Australian

‘They say it takes a village to raise a child. This excellent production suggests that it also takes a village to kill a bastard.’ The Australian

‘It’s a rare thing for every element of a production to converge in this fashion. The combined effect is thrilling.’ ★★★★ Crikey

‘Cerini’s writing exists in an almost abstract space — his use of language is sharp and evocative, using playful rhymes along the way — but it’s all narrative-driven, and the narrative structure of this piece is perfect, right down to the quiet, creeping ending.’ ★★★★ Crikey

‘powerful look at domestic violence…a short but potent piece, equal parts murder ballad and revenge thriller.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘Director Lee Lewis, designer Renee Mulder, composer Steve Toulmin and lighting designer Verity Hampson fashion a visually striking and aurally rich production around Cerini’s words. Arundell, Sebbens and Dodds… are spellbinding as his outback Furies.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘…you will find yourself powerfully swayed.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘bruising, bold and brilliant…..The performances in The Bleeding Tree are pitch perfect.’ Australian Stage

‘THE BLEEDING TREE addresses the issue with passion, compassion, irreverence and gravity that hopefully will have audiences going away with the feeling that they have not only seen a great piece of drama but also prompt them to think about the society in which they live.’ Broadway World

‘Angus Cerini’s wonderful script is so powerfully lyrical” The Australian 

‘Paula Arundell, as the mother, and Airlie Dodds and Shari Sebbens, as the daughters, play all this superbly. Arundell, particularly, is magnificent as a woman who has suffered so much and is now finally taking control of her life and defending her children.’ The Australian

‘Lee Lewis, the Director, takes hold of this contemporary gothic tale of self defence and revenge and hurls it out into the world onto the SBW Stage with a fearsome sense of this is a truth you all may have only dreamt about in the unconscious swirls of your deepest, darkest nightmares, but for some is a wish fulfilment of a lifesaving confrontation.’ Kevin Jackson

‘There is a contagious fever of daring and simpatico between these three actors that is breathlessly thrilling to witness.’ Kevin Jackson

‘Grotesquely beautiful. Morally cauterising. Glorious artistic daring from all.’ Kevin Jackson

‘As the mother, Arundell commands the stage, alternately self-possessed when cornered and giddy with relief at the end of their suffering.’★★★★ The Guardian

‘this is powerful, visceral and deeply exhilarating theatre – just as it should be.’★★★★ The Guardian

‘The dialogue spars and parries, words rush in over one another, and the plot powers ahead at a cracking pace.’ ★★★★The Guardian

‘It’s liberation through violence, it’s women as anti-heroes, and it’s thrillingly subversive and deeply affecting.’ Time Out

‘Director Lee Lewis has composed a stunningly lyrical production that centres squarely on three fierce performances. Arundell is blazing with rage and commanding in a way that is, for all the darkness, oddly beatific; Dodds and Sebbens are sharp, vulnerable sisters.’ Time Out

Blog Posts

From the rehearsal room: The Bleeding Tree


As The Bleeding Tree company enter their third week of rehearsals, Affiliate Director Adam Deusien explores how we respond and publicly talk about domestic violence and violence against women. Our rehearsal room for The Bleeding Tree faces west, pretty much over...

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7 Nominations - 2015 Sydney Theatre Awards


The nominees are in for the Sydney Theatre Awards, judged by esteemed Sydney journalists and critics, are in. Congratulations to those Griffin shows and creatives that made the illustrious nominees list! BEST NEW AUSTRALIAN WORK The Bleeding Tree (Angus Cerini) BEST...

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The Bleeding Tree won Best New Australian Work


‘The Bleeding Tree’ won Best New Australian Workat the Sydney Theatre Awards  For those of you who saw the extraordinary Paula Arundell so bravely capture the pain and knowledge and humour of a woman fighting her way out of a...

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The Bleeding Tree: Angus Cerini


Angus Cerini’s brutal, and brutally funny, The Bleeding Tree won the 2014 Griffin Award. Here he talks to us about the role of government and reveling in the downfall of those who prey on others.   It has been enormously enjoyable writing...

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Developed with the assistance of Playwriting Australia.

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