Hell’s Canyon by Emily Sheehan



Touring 3-14 May 2021

Caitlin and Oscar used to be mates, but not anymore. Six months after the death of Oscar’s brother/Caitlin’s boyfriend, Caitlin and Oscar haven’t spoken. These days, Caitlin texts boys to meet her in public parks while Oscar eats his lunch in the teacher’s staffroom. But when Caitlin sends Oscar a text message, he comes running. After receiving a medical diagnosis that morning, Caitlin is scared. She convinces an unsuspecting Oscar to run away with her. To go “full on missing".

Hell's Canyon is a new Australian drama about friendship, grief, loss and rebellion that directly connects to a youth audience. A play that comically depicts the challenging journey of adolescence from childhood into adulthood, it shows how friendship and empathy overcome challenging circumstances, and celebrates the tenacity of teenage adventure and the human spirit.

Winner of the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award, the Melbourne Fringe Market Ready Award, and shortlisted for the Patrick White Playwrights Award, and developed by Playwriting Australia, Hell’s Canyon has had critically acclaimed seasons in both Sydney and Melbourne.

For the majority of the play, Hell’s Canyon is presented in a realistic style which invites audiences to observe through a fourth wall. The audience are provoked to empathise with each of the two characters, switching their loyalty back and forth as new information is drip fed over the hour of the play. Later in the piece, the sections become more heightened and poetic, and could be described as magic realism, or an ‘eclectic’ theatre style overall. This happens when the character's emotional world they are trying to conceal, becomes too big to hide from one another, and so the play explodes with poetic language, vivid imagery, and complimented by a provocative and pulsating sound design that takes the audience on the journey with them.

Curriculum Links: Drama, Theatre Studies, English
Listed on the 2021 VCE Drama & Theatre Studies Playlist: Theatre Studies Unit 3

Capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social

Content warning: This production contains sexual references and occasional coarse language. The production deals with sensitive themes such as death and grief. These are contextualized through considered script writing and direction of the work, reflecting a modern day representation of adolescents and young adults in Australia today.


A multi-award winning, new Australian drama about a teenage road trip across the Australian outback.

Book now!

Metro: 3rd May 2021 to 14th May 2021
Regional: 3rd May 2021 to 14th May 2021

Emily Sheehan
Duration: 65 minutes
Artform: Drama
Minimum fee: $1200 + GST for up to 120 students. Additional students $10 per head.
Suitability: Year 9, Year 10, Year 11, Year 12
Term: Term 2
Booking info: Technical Requirements: 4 flats (4800 w x 2400 h) sit 1m from back of performance space, free standing using french braces. Internet and PA system ideal but not essential.
Teacher's Resource: Hell'sCanyon_TeacherResource_2021