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The Death of Kings

by Colette F. Keen


Gingers @ The Oxford (Sydney), The Hub Cafe (Bathurst) and Howler Arts Venue (Melbourne)


Directed by Adam Deusien

Lighting Design by Becky Russell

Sound Design by Brendan Napier

Dramaturge - Fiona Green


Performed by

Mark Dessaix, Greg Iverson, Tyson Wakely, Joseph Simons and Sebastian Robinson





The Death of Kings is a new verbatim play that celebrates and remembers Gay Australia during the 1980s HIV/AIDS crisis.  Using the words of gay men living in Sydney at the time the play lets us into the world of those who experienced the joy of being part of the community in the early 1980s.  A community that had finally come into its own only to have the terrible epidemic hit at its heart. These stories are essential in piecing together our collective story of love and loss in the fight against HIV/AIDS. 


This is the second collaboration between writer Colette F. Keen and director Adam Deusien who, along with dramaturge Fiona Green, determined early in the process that they did not want this to be a simple nostalgic trip down memory lane nor a lecture. For this reason the voices of these men are carried in the play by four young actors who imagine the men as they were in the 1980s and exude the same energy and vitality.  Joining them as “elder statesman” is Chorus, a man who lived through the 1980s, who guides us through the music and stories of the time while giving us tips on the Hanky Code, how to put a condom on a banana and sharing the intricacies of Stump Sex.


While discussion of HIV/AIDS is often attached to safe sex messages, there is also a place to celebrate this generation of gay men. This is an Australian story, about the Australian gay community. Bringing the story home this play is close to the heart of the actors with one of our performers being HIV+ since the 80s and another who has been recently diagnosed.


In 2014 the play performed as part of Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney and was also the first Mardi Gras OUTPOST event in Bathurst. It was also had a season in the lead up to the 2014 International AIDS Conference in Melbourne.


- Nominated in 2014 for Best Performing Arts Event, Mardi Gras Festival -



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