Synopsis: The Golden Age

Date posted: 15 Dec 2015Author: STC Production: The Golden Age


Hobart, 1939. The Archers host their annual fundraiser by staging Iphigenia in Tauris. Peter Archer and his friend Francis depart the Archer household and go hiking in the wilds of south-western Tasmania. After becoming lost, they stumble upon a group of people living in the wilderness – Ayre, Melorne, Mac, Angel, Betsheb and Stef. Having been there in isolation since the mid-19th century, the group has developed a unique language and culture.

Suffering the effects of genetic malformations, the group decide to follow Francis and Peter back to Hobart. The Archers host a garden party to welcome the group and Peter’s father, Dr William Archer, prepares a report on them for the authorities. The government fears that the group’s genetic problems will be perceived as an endorsement of Nazi propaganda. As a result, they are locked away in New Norfolk asylum.



Francis returns to his hometown of Melbourne for his mother’s funeral. With the advent of World War II, he and Peter are sent to Europe to fight.

In New Norfolk asylum, the members of the group all die one by one, with the exception of Betsheb who longs for Francis’ return.

By 1945, Francis is a lieutenant in the army that has captured Berlin. He is eventually returned to Australia. Together, he and Betsheb retrace their steps, making their way back into the Tasmanian wilderness where they first met.


This synopsis is part of The Golden Age program, which also features:

  • notes from Artistic Director Andrew Upton and director Kip Williams
  • an essay on the themes of the The Golden Age by Dr Gerry Turcotte
  • a glossary of the wilderness group's language
  • biographies and photos of the cast and crew
  • photos from the rehearsal room
  • and much more!

Pick one up at the theatre for only $10.


The Golden Age, 14 Jan – 20 Feb 2016, Wharf 1 Theatre

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