Trent Dalton’s Love Stories From Brisbane Streets to Stage Lights

If you thought Trent Dalton was just about gripping tales from Brisbane’s underbelly, think again. The man behind “Boy Swallows Universe,” a story that leapt from the pages to Netflix screens everywhere, is now turning his lens on something a bit closer to the heart: love. Yes, you heard right. Dalton’s going all in on love stories, not just any love stories, but those plucked from the lives of everyday folks wandering the streets of Brisbane, and a sprinkle of his own romantic escapades for good measure.

This September, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre Playhouse is set to transform these tales into a stage play that promises to be as enchanting as it is unique. Picture this: Dalton, armed with nothing but a typewriter and a sign that earnestly reads “sentimental writer collecting love stories. Do you have one to share?” sets up camp on a Brisbane street corner. Over two months in 2021, he became the confidant of passersby, listening to their stories of love, loss, and everything in between.

The yarns that captured Dalton’s heart and made the cut for this stage adaptation range from an aging gigolo’s last love, a centenarian scientist’s undying affection, a globetrotting priest’s divine encounters, to Dalton’s own serendipitous meeting with his wife, Fiona Franzmann. It’s a lineup that promises laughter, tears, and perhaps a moment of introspection about the loves in our own lives.

But here’s the kicker – Dalton admits that this project was more than just a collection of heartwarming tales. It was a journey of self-discovery, one that revealed truths about love, life, and even his own marriage. According to him, those 150 conversations with strangers were a way to dodge a much-needed heart-to-heart with his wife. It’s a candid revelation that adds layers to the upcoming play, hinting at the complexity and universality of love.

The stage version, helmed by director Sam Strong, isn’t just a rehash of the book. It’s set to bring new stories into the fold, including more from Dalton’s personal life and fresh tales of romance from Brisbane’s lovebirds since the book’s publication. Strong’s vision for the play is to both satisfy and surprise audiences, teasing out the myriad forms love can take and the various ways these stories can come alive on stage.

The anticipation is palpable, especially considering the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s previous success with “Boy Swallows Universe.” John Kotzas, the Centre’s CEO, reminisces about the overwhelming response to the drama, hinting at high hopes for this tribute to love. With the play premiering as the flagship of the 2024 Brisbane Festival from September 10-29, it’s gearing up to be a highlight of the year.

So, mark your calendars and get ready to dive into the world of love as only Trent Dalton can depict it. Tickets are up for grabs, and this is one rendezvous with love you won’t want to miss. It’s not just a play; it’s an exploration of love’s endless capacity to transform, challenge, and comfort us. And who knows? You might just walk away with a new perspective on love, life, and the connections that bind us all.

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