MEDIA RELEASE: Canberra premiere of Broadway hit: Dead Man's Cell Phone

Canberra REP proudly announces its latest offering to the Canberra theatre community, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, directed by Kate Blackhurst. This wildly imaginative production previews on 13 June, with opening night 14 June at Canberra REP Theatre.


From American playwright and Pulitzer prize finalist Sarah Ruhl, Dead Man’s Cell Phone took Broadway by storm and was most recently celebrated through a sold-out season by the Melbourne Theatre Company. 


An absurdist romantic comedy, Dead Man’s Cell Phone follows a young woman’s journey as she is forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world.

The premise of the show will leave audiences intrigued. When the man next to her in a café fails to answer his mobile phone, Jean discovers that he is dead. Feeling some connection to the stranger and wanting to offer comfort to his family, what can she do but keep answering the phone? The play follows Jean’s accidental quest to make a few people feel just a little bit better about themselves.

While audiences will revel in the joy and absurd comedy of the show, there are also serious questions to be asked: does technology bring us closer together or drive us apart? What is the role of digital technology and can it ever replace personal human interaction? How do we grapple with our own sense of humanity and morality in a world that is obsessed with the latest gadget?


Director Kate Blackhurst was drawn to the play because it asks these important questions. She says, “Everyone these days has a mobile phone, to the extent that no one is ever alone. ‘Nothing is really silent anymore.’ They have a culture of their own and demand instant attention – people respond to them in the middle of the street so that everyone else can hear their business. In some ways they have made the intimate art of communication very commonplace, but on the other hand, fewer people go to the local shop and talk to the person behind the counter or chat to their neighbour over the fence, because they would rather send an email or receive a text.”


Blackhurst draws us to this telling quote by Sarah Ruhl: “I was interested in the culture of cell phones, in how they have completely altered our emotional, psychic and body states to the point where culture (and perhaps not even evolution) has caught up.”


While all this may sound like it will make for a heavy night, it is anything but! This lyrical satire uses a light touch to ask deep questions. It is a bizarre romance that is ultimately uplifting and optimistic.


Starring Jess Waterhouse as Jean, Dead Man’s Cell Phone is brought to the REP stage by a talented ensemble of Bruce Hardie, Elaine Noon, Victoria Dixon and Alex McPherson.


Join us on Preview night for a Q&A with the cast and director after the show and for a glass of bubbly in the warm and welcoming atmosphere of the Canberra REP bar.


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Dead Man’s Cell Phone


Written by: Sarah Ruhl

Directed by: Kate Blackhurst



Where: Canberra REP Theatre, 3 Repertory Lane, Acton, ACT, 2601

Preview: Thursday 13 June (followed by a Q&A with the cast and director)

Season: 14 - 19 June 2024

Evenings 7:30pm: Wed – Sat
Matinees 2pm: 22, 23 + 29 June


Standard $50
Preview $40
Concession (Full Time Student, Concession Card, Seniors Card) $40
Group (6+) $40
Under 30s $25
All sales are subject to a $4 per transaction Telephone Booking Fee.

Book online:
Book via box office: (02) 6257 1950, 10am–4pm, Wednesday to Friday

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