DRAMA:  Francesca Savige, Grant Cartwright and Bjorn Stewart in Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River.
DRAMA: Francesca Savige, Grant Cartwright and Bjorn Stewart in Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River. Robert Catto

NORPA presents gripping new rural drama

WRITER Reg Cribb will be in the Northern Rivers next week for the shows of his latest play, Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River.

Mr Cribb's new play is about a man ravaged by drought, family secrets and love.

The play is coming direct to Norpa from its Sydney Griffin Theatre premiere.

The Murray family have been farming the land along the Darling River for five generations.

For Tom Murray, it's all he's ever known.

When his childhood friends Lucy and Billy reappear, deep friendships are tested, and secrets, long buried, are finally awakened and Tom must make the long journey downstream to reconcile past wrongs and to fight for his wife.

Reg Cribb is a highly-awarded playwright and screenwriter.

His plays Last Cab to Darwin and The Return / Last Train to Freo have both been adapted into successful feature films.

He also wrote the screenplay for the award-winning Bran Nue Dae.

This new Australian play takes a personal and existential look at the ongoing emotional costs of climate change and a long drought.

Weaving a narrative that involves three close friends as teenagers and as their adult selves, love is found and lost, hearts are broken and family secrets long buried are revealed.

Mr Cribb said he is looking forward to visiting the area for the shows.

"(The play) did really well in Sydney, and that was in Kings Cross in a very urban environment," he said.

"This is a play set on the Darling River, out in the back of Bourke.

"It deals with environmental issues, issues of rural and farming communities, and indigenous issues, so I want to see it in a more rural setting."

The author said she wrote this story seven years ago.

"I was commissioned by the Melbourne Theatre Company to write it at first, and I just heard an interview on Radio National of people living in the Darling and Murray rivers.

"They were going through a really bad drought and I thought it would be interesting to travel down at the back of Wentworth, that's 800km of the Darling River, to talk to people living there.

"I got some Australia Council money, rented a vehicle and drove down to that part of the world. I didn't have a story, I just had the idea."

At Lismore City Hall on April 15, 7.30pm, and April 16, 2pm and 7.30pm.