Living On Haunted Land // Director's Note

By Matthew Lutton

Posted May 03, 2019


When I first read Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet it helped me understand what it meant to be growing up in Perth. It broadened my understanding of living in the world’s most isolated city. The feeling of distance, aloneness, the sense of the supernatural power of the Swan River, and the intensity of the plains. It affirmed that I was living on haunted land—a land filled with wisdom and scared of its history.

One of the remarkable qualities of Cloudstreet is that it means something different to everyone who experiences it. It is the story of two families who are forced together against their will, on land they have no connection to. It is a story about being homeless and making a new home. It is a story about culture, spirituality, and history that has been repressed and denied, demanding to be heard.

This is not the story of Australia. This is the story of two families who spend 20 years coming to understand that there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’, only ‘us’ and ‘us’. That the voices of those who are missing, lost and forgotten in our land, are always living on with us, and that we must think into the future with these lives in our hearts and minds.

This theatrical adaptation of Tim Winton’s story offers a very different experience to reading the novel. It offers a community, where an audience has the opportunity to live, for a period of time, with the characters of Cloudstreet and the spirits of the house, and to worry for them, want for them, and love with them.

– Matthew Lutton, Director