PLAYTIME: Rhiannon Pettett (Caitlin); Chris Gooley (Old Bill) and Billy White (Billy) in The Simple Gift, which opens at the Jetty Theatre tonight.
PLAYTIME: Rhiannon Pettett (Caitlin); Chris Gooley (Old Bill) and Billy White (Billy) in The Simple Gift, which opens at the Jetty Theatre tonight. Bruce Thomas

Popular play back on the stage

BOOTLACE Productions and writer/director Sue Dickinson bring award-winning writer Steven Herrick’s novel, The Simple Gift, back to the stage of Coffs Harbour’s Jetty Memorial Theatre tonight.

This is a warm and tender story about the friendship that grows up between a runaway teenager, Billy; Old Bill the hobo, who is ‘the saddest man in the world’, and the privileged Caitlin, who lives in ‘the richest house in Bendarat’.

“In July 2008 Steven Herrick granted me permission to adapt his beautiful free-verse novel for stage,” said Sue Dickinson.

“I had read The Simple Gift in 2003 and fell in love with the story and its characters. For many years I nurtured the desire to bring it to life as a dramatic performance, with all of the characters involved.”

The Simple Gift, which is currently on the reading list for Higher School Certificate English, had its world premiere at the Jetty Theatre in March 2009 and three of the original cast members have returned for the show’s 2010 season.

In 2009, The Simple Gift was voted online the third best-loved Australian play (poll jointly conducted by Australian Script Centre and ABC Radio National).

There will be seven performances of The Simple Gift – at 8pm on March 5, 6, 10, 12 and 13, and 2pm on March 7 and 13.

“I fell in love with the story and its characters –- for many years I nurtured the desire to bring it to life as a dramatic performance.”



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