An unnervingly dark and vulgar investigation of the human condition.


In a gothic inner-city boarding house, a naïve young poet is drawn into the fetid world of the basement-dwelling landlord and his wife, the hauntingly grotesque Mr and Mrs Lusty.

When her husband drops dead suddenly, Mrs Lusty announces a lavish funeral feast in his honour. Driven by her relentless appetite, she attempts to seduce the poet, drawing him into a dangerous sexual game with comically tragic consequences.

Written in 1948 by Australia’s only Nobel Laureate for Literature, Patrick White, The Ham Funeral is one of the most intriguingly original plays in Australian theatre history. Part vaudeville, part lyric poem, and part gothic drama, it is an unnervingly dark and vulgar investigation of the human condition.

“White aimed for something universal and surreal, a mix of the hilarious and brutal.” – David Marr

Presented by Siren Theatre Co and Griffin Independent

Cast & Creatives

Producer & Director Kate Gaul
Assistant Directors Sally Dulson, Phaedra Nicolaidis
Designer Jasmine Christie
Lighting Designer Hartley T A Kemp
Composer & Sound Designer Nate Edmondson
Vocal Coach Carmen Lysiak
Publicist Emma Jones
With Andy Dexterity, Eliza Logan, Carmen Lysiak, Johnny Nasser, Jane Phegan, Sebastian Robinson, Jenny Wu

Performance Times

Previews 17 & 18 May
Season 20 May – 10 June

Performance Times
Monday – Saturday 7pm
Saturday 3 & 10 June 2pm & 7pm

Run Time
Approximately 120 minutes including a 15-minute interval


“This is an entertaining, imaginative, first-rate and crystal clear production of one of the most idiosyncratic plays ever written by an Australian playwright.” ★★★★ Ben Neutze, Daily Review

“If you hunger for experimentation and innovation on stage, then it’s the right play for you. And if seeing it staged in 2017 serves as a jolt of inspiration and encouragement to all the Australian writers who are cooking up freaky, challenging ideas, then even better…” ★★★★ Cassie Tongue, Time Out Sydney

“This is a fabulous production of this at times grotesque, mythological, symbolic, challenging and grippingly dynamic play.” ★★★★ Lynne Lancaster, Arts Hub

“Gleefully infectious, the wonderful cast looks and feels to be made up of all those voted most likely to run off and join the circus. Idiosyncratic and profoundly eccentric, we are persuaded to relate to the show in a manner that is perhaps unusual for many.” Suzy Wrong, Suzy Goes See

“Gaul’s direction is vibrant, funny, punchy and brutal, with some serious undercurrents of pathos and loss.” Bronwyn Fullerton, Sydney Arts Guide

“This is a glorious production.” Diana Simmonds, Stage Noise

Blog Posts

A Word from the Assistant Directors, The Ham Funeral


It feels like only yesterday that we were sitting round the table grappling with the text and trying desperately to honour the words of Patrick White…references and symbols and imagery and rhythm…and so much laughter. The kind of laughter that...

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