An Experiment with the White Earth

A haunting story of belonging and connection

Set in the early 1990s, The White Earth follows the High Court’s ruling in Mabo decision and the furious Parliamentary debates over Native Title. After witnessing his father’s death, William goes to live with his mother at the invitation of an elderly and unfamiliar uncle, who is seeking an heir. Desperate to revive the station, William’s mother craves wealth and security – but their family’s history threatens to splinter their relationship and the land that they claim as ‘theirs’.

Part adaptation and part commentary, this two-person experiment by award-winning Queenslander, Marcel Downey employs multiple performance modes to assist students in gaining a deeper understanding of the themes and characters of Andrew McGahan’s award-winning book The White Earth (adapted for the stage by Andrew McGahan and Shaun Charles), as well as providing a clear illustration of different modes of storytelling and their uses in performance.

The White Earth is a suggested text on the senior English prescribed novels list, and its theatrical adaptation is on the senior Drama syllabus.

*An Experiment with The White Earth is touring in tandem with Time Jump

Duration: 60 mins + 10 minute Q&A
Students per session: Maximum 250
Performance Space: 4m x 4m, access to a power outlet required

LAs: English, History, The Arts (Drama), Legal Studies

Cross-Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Culture

General Capabilities: Ethical Understandings, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capabilities, Intercultural Understandings

Conventions and Styles: Realism, Epic Theatre, Stylised Performance, Narration, Alienation Conventions

Themes and Concepts: Family, History, National Identity, National Spirit, Concept of Terra Nullius, The Mabo Decision

  • $8 per student +GST
  • A minimum charge of $800 +GST per performance (equivalent to 100 students)

All of our performances are the same price for all regions. We are a not-for-profit organisation passionate about providing quality Arts experiences to all Queensland students, so if your school has less than 100 students, please consider combining with another school or contact the Youth Touring team to discuss your options.

Full terms and conditions

An Experiment with White Earth


Term 2


Grade 7 – 12


A, B, C, D, E

View Touring Areas

Presented by:

Youth Touring


Marcel Dorney

Based on The White Earth by Andrew McGahan

By Arrangement with the Licensor, Andrew McGahan, c/- Curtis Brown (Aust) Pty Ltd

Beats Alive!