Past Season


By Thornton Wilder | Adapted by Phillip Kavanagh

There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love…

It’s 18th century Peru. An ancient Incan rope bridge collapses sending five strangers plummeting to their deaths and unleashing a fabulist’s tale of conspiracy, seduction and betrayal.

In this thrilling reimagining of Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer-winning novel, Adelaide’s celebrated Brink Productions brings their unique theatricality to a daisy chain of stories and coincidence that leads five strangers to meet their fate.

The incomparable Paul Capsis, in an extraordinary act of theatrical shamanism, inhabits the role of Camila Perichole, the greatest actress of her age, as she draws the audience into an epic narrative that ultimately reveals her own heartbreaking story.

Joining Capsis on stage, inside Jonathan Oxlade’s magical deconstructed 18th century world, Australia’s acclaimed guitarist Slava Grigoryan and Irish guitarist Manus Noble, one of the UK’s leading classical guitarists, bring their breathtaking virtuosity to infuse the world with the heat and sweat of Latin American music, transporting us across oceans and time and into a communion with the Fates.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey is co-commissioned by Adelaide Festival Centre’s Adelaide Guitar Festival

Presented by Brink Productions in association with the Adelaide Festival Centre and with the generous support of State Theatre Company of South Australia as part of the 2021 Stateside Season

THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY © 1927 The Wilder Family LLC

Actor Paul Capsis
Musicians Slava Grigoryan and Manus Noble

Writer Thornton Wilder
Adaptor Phillip Kavanagh
Musical Directors Slava Grigoryan + Leonard Grigoryan
Director Chris Drummond
Assistant Director Taylor Nobes
Set + Costume Designer Jonathon Oxlade
Lighting Gavin Norris
Sound Lachlan Turner

A note from The Thornton Wilder Family:

Although Thornton Wilder died in 1975, it was not until the new century that key archival holdings, notably records held by Wilder’s attorneys, dramatic agents and family members, became available and could be consulted by those wishing to build up a full, accurate picture of Wilder’s life and work. The new material inevitably showed that earlier studies and biographies suffer from significant errors and omissions.  Those working on Wilder’s plays are advised to treat any work about Wilder written prior to 2000 with great caution.

Two volumes have been written since the full archive has been open and the Wilder Family highly recommends them as they are excellent resources, providing background and context for the Play:

  • Thornton Wilder: A Life (2012) by Penelope Niven.  The first definitive biography of Thornton Wilder, published by Harper Collins.

This Chronology provides more information about Thornton Wilder.

THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY © 1927 The Wilder Family LLC

★★★★★ ‘This is a satisfyingly bold adaptation by playwright Phillip Kavanagh for Adelaide’s Brink Productions and is staged with superb direction by Chris Drummond.’ ‘Capsis is unashamedly brilliant’ –  Arts Hub

‘Brink has cleverly taken an important 20th-century novel that might’ve remained a period piece, and given it a fresh, contemporary life.’ INDAILY

‘The play is a tour de force of fabulist verbosity, sometimes seeming steeply uphill, relieved only by the strains and strums of the guitars.’ Barefoot Review

‘Poetic, musical, hilarious, outrageous, dark, wise, and very moving, The Bridge of San Luis Rey is a triumph.’ Glamadelaide

‘The Bridge of San Luis Rey is a rich delicacy of theatre. It is not for the casual theatre goer. This is for the connoisseur.’ The Adelaide Show

9 - 24 July 2021

Space Theatre
Adelaide Festival Centre

We acknowledge that the land on which we live, and work is the  traditional land of the Kaurna people and pay our respects to their  Elders - past, present and future. Brink supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and enshrining a Voice to Parliament in the Constitution. 

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