Coal Face


On a small patch of land beside a creek in Northern Australia, Alice, an Indigenous woman who grew up in Sydney, tries to convince Ron, the traditional owner, to lease his homeland to her mining company.

In town, siblings Sam and Jem have just buried their father.  Sam is keen to leave the past behind, while Jem has returned home after years of absence to seek answers.

When Sam refuses to talk, Jem issues an ultimatum, let her stay or pay out her half of the childhood home. Having worked for years to keep the property, Sam is reluctant to pay and his partner Alice will not let Jem stay.

Instead of leaving, Jem moves in with the protesters down the road and with Ron, who continues to spearhead the movement to stop the mining trucks entering his land.

Pitting brother against sister and economy against culture, each character reveals their true colours and unravels their darkest fears.

Coal Face is about cultural tensions on the land. It’s about family and heartache, and how to reconcile an identity when you don’t understand your own past.

Coal Face, by Sarah Hope, is currently in collaborative development with Director Frederick Copperwaite (Artistic Director of Moogahlin Performing Arts Inc.), Cultural Advisor Patrick White and Dramaturg Mary Anne Butler (The Songs of Waiting, Broken).


Yirrkala community

Yirrkala, NT

Creative Development