Constance Drinkwater and the Final Days of Somerset

by Stephen Carleton

It is 1899 and only the resolve of Lady Constance Drinkwater has kept the Far North Queensland settlement of Somerset from…


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It is 1899 and only the resolve of Lady Constance Drinkwater has kept the Far North Queensland settlement of Somerset from crumbling. Beset by storms, ill-luck and a mysterious disease that has killed all but two of Constance’s children, it is the arrival of strangers – anthropologist Professor Cornelius Crabbe and his companion, Mr Hop Lee – that sets in motion the final catastrophic days of Somerset.

Stephen Carleton’s award-winning play is a post-colonial melodrama, hilarious and sad in equal measure, and a proud addition to the growing genre of Australian Gothic.

Production History

First performed in full by the Queensland Theatre Company and opened at the Bille Brown Studio in July 2006. Also produced at Griffin Theatre Company, Sydney.

ISBN: 908156987


"One of the best new plays to come out of this state in recent years and one that is not to be missed."

ABC Brisbane

"Stephen Carleton has crafted a beautifully dark, gothic piece that exposes audiences to much that is unpleasant and often unknown about Queensland's history."

Nigel Munro-Wallis

"Clever characterisation, rich, haunting imagery and a well-crafted script."

"Stephen Carleton’s award-winning piece presents a uniquely Australian gothic allegory that is unapologetically retrospective."

Sydney Stage Online

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