Suicide and depression will be explored through drama when Out Of The Blue tours regional South Australia next month.

Centacare Catholic Family Services is bringing the play to town as part of its Drought Assistance Program.

Out Of The Blue tells the story of a group of men who get together at the local footy club to pay tribute to a mate they have lost to suicide.

Reflecting the harshness of life in the bush, the story is relevant to men everywhere – and their partners. It is the story of heartache, laughter and good old Aussie mateship.

Written by Stig Wemyss, the production is the work of renowned Melbourne-based theatre company, HealthPlay, and is based on a Bass Coast Shire project set up to address rising suicide rates in country Victoria.

HealthPlay producer Margot Knight says Out Of The Blue aims to stimulate conversation around a difficult topic and encourage locals to link-up with community services – and support one another.

Each performance will be followed by a public forum lead by a panel of health specialists. The panel will debrief the performance with the cast and audience, and talk about challenges people may be experiencing.

“Suicide is a national crisis now,’’ Margot says. “The rate of suicide among men is just so high, especially in rural and remote Australia.

“It’s not enough to talk to people and say, `Get some help’. A play and a forum somehow cracks people open because it is just so moving. The actors are wonderful and people really feel what is happening to them.

“It allows the local health workers to follow up with people and make those connections. I always say it’s what happens after we’ve gone that’s most important.

“We are there for one night, but the play and the forum opens the door for work that will have a lasting impact.’’

The play is free and will tour Tailem Bend, Meningie, Tintinara, Meadows and Mount Barker. It is suitable for adults, and children aged 15 or over. A crèche will be provided at each venue.

“Some of these communities are doing it really hard and the play, whilst it touches on suicide, also explores other challenges such as depression, anxiety, financial hardship, caring for elderly parents and relationship breakdown,’’ says Lynne Thorpe, Centacare’s Manager of Family and Relationship Outreach Services.

“All communities face these challenges, but they are particularly relevant to rural communities.’’

Centacare’s Drought Assistance Program is funded by the Federal Government to provide counselling and mental health support to families, individuals and the communities they help to sustain.

Out Of The Blue tour dates:

·         Sunday, April 3

Tailem Bend Town Hall, Railway Tce, Tailem Bend

Free sausage sizzle at 5.30pm

Performance at 6pm


·         Monday, April 4

Meningie Area School Hall, 1 North Tce, Meningie

Free sausage sizzle at 6.30pm

Performance at 7pm


·         Tuesday April 5

Tintinara Soldiers’ Memorial Hall, Becker Tce, Tintinara

Free sausage sizzle at 5pm

Performance at 5.30pm


·         Wednesday, April 6

Meadows Memorial Hall, Mawson Rd, Meadows

Free sausage sizzle at 6.30pm
Performance at 7pm


·         Thursday, April 7

Mt Barker Town Hall, Stephen St, Mt Barker

Free light lunch from 12pm


For more information, please phone myself or Centacare’s Murray Bridge office 08 8215 6320.