The mysterious language of dread in The Splinter

14 Sep 2012 spotlights a new Australian play


So much of what's scary is what the audience conjures up in their own minds, and I deliberately left a lot of mystery... I think it's much more interesting to not have those answers given to you and not have those ends tied up...


We sat down to talk with acclaimed Australian playwright Hilary Bell about her latest project, The Splinter for the Sydney Theatre Company. The production had an unusual genesis, in that she was asked to come up with a 'Gothic horror' story for children, but the result ended up being unsuitable for younger audiences....



Hilary talks about the development process, the idea of genre in playwriting, how theatre can be 'scary' and key influences including Henry James's The Turn of the Screw.

She also touches on director Sarah Goodes's process for developing a visual language for the story, working with puppetry and puppeteers, and her personal interest in the artificiality of theatre...



by Hillary Bell

10 August - 15 September

Wharf Theatre - NSW

Presented by Sydney Theatre Company

"STC's new tale of mystery and imagination is, itself, the result of a terrific act of imagination."—Time Out

"Deceptive, disturbing and resonates long after its final moments."—Stage Noise

"If a key aim of theatre is to provoke discussion and make the audience go on an emotional journey, then The Splinter has ticked both boxes."—Stage Whispers

More info at

Other scripts by Hilary Bell are available here. Read online with your Libary Pass or purchase in PDF or book form.


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