Black is the New White | Queensland Theatre
01 February - 17 February [Past Event] Playhouse, QPACBuy tickets Season tickets

In a nutshell

A razor sharp rom-com that blends Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with Meet the Fockers

Two politically powerful families at war. A son and daughter helplessly in love, defying their parents. You’ve heard this story before – but what if Romeo was white, Juliet was black and the war mainly fought on Twitter? 

After a whirlwind romance, hotshot lawyer Charlotte Gibson and penniless avant-garde cellist Francis Smith are engaged. One thing stands in the way: Charlotte’s the favourite daughter of Australia’s most charismatic Aboriginal politician, and Francis is the son of his dour and stridently conservative rival. It’s been mutual hatred for decades, sparked by an infamous shoe-throwing incident on the floor of parliament. 

As the two bitterly entrenched families collide in the Gibson’s glitzy holiday mansion over an Aussie Christmas dinner, the long-standing feud comes to a head. Cue a sharp-witted and riotously funny struggle for dominance where barbed insults fly, secrets come flooding out and hypocrisies of all kinds – race, gender, religion, status – are mercilessly skewered. 

Black is the New White sold out its world premiere season at Sydney Theatre Company in 2017, a triumph for Queensland Theatre’s director Paige Rattray, writer Nakkiah Lui and designer Renée Mulder. Now it’s coming to Brisbane.



 Benjamin Law  

'Romantic comedy' is the whitest movie genre of all time. Come on. Name one rom-com where the main romantic interests aren’t exclusively white*.

To help us along, here are some of the most popular rom-coms of all time: When Harry Met Sally (white), Bridget Jones’s Diary (white), Sleepless in Seattle (white), Pretty Woman (white), Notting Hill (white), You’ve Got Mail (white), The Wedding Singer (white), Four Weddings and a Funeral (white).

Even when there’s someone black – say, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character in Love, Actually – they’re one in an ensemble of roughly 49,708 white cast members, absent from most of the cast photos and don’t appear on the DVD cover at all (despite the fact Ejiofor’s now an Oscar nominee). Ejiofor’s plotline? To be utterly oblivious that his marriage with Keira Knightly is being undermined by his white best friend. And here’s the clincher: we’re supposed to barrack for his creepy white best friend and his stalker-ish behaviour. It really is a garbage film.

“Well look, I didn’t notice those films were all white until you pointed it out,” some of you are thinking. “You did. So if you’re so obsessed with race, then, uh … maybe you’re the racist? Because, at the end of the day, aren’t we all part of the same race? The human race?”

What a luxury and privilege it must be to never have to think about race, or to consider yourself as not even having one – an exclusively white pastime, when you think about it. But here’s the thing: race matters, especially when yours is excluded from civic life, politics and the arts. And yes, that includes romantic comedies. How lucky we are, then, that Black is the New White is such a damn good one.

*Here are some: 

My Fat Greek Wedding, Hitch, Bend It Like Beckham, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Coming to America. Bonus points if you got ‘em.

Queensland Theatre wants to make your experience of every show unique. To give you fresh insights into our productions, we have invited a notable artist from another discipline to respond to each play – what it means to them, and how they see it in a broader artistic or societal context. For Black is the New White we engaged Benjamin Law, journalist, columnist, TV screenwriter and author of two books – The Family Law (2010) and Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012). Both were nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards. The Family Law is now an AACTA-nominated TV series for SBS.

You can view Benjamin's full response piece "DAIRY QUEEN" below:

Find out more


Please note that Wednesday 14 February, 1pm matinee performance of Black is the New White has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances and has been moved to Friday 16 February, 1pm.

If you are able to attend Friday 16 February at 1pm just hold on to your current ticket as it will be valid for Friday's performance (same door and seat allocation). Alternatively, please click on the button below to nominate what you would like to do with your tickets.

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Cast Includes Tony Briggs, Luke Carroll, Vanessa Downing, Geoff Morrell, Melodie Reynolds-Diarra, Shari Sebbens, Tom Stokes, Miranda Tapsell, Anthony Taufa  

Designer Renée Mulder 

Lighting Designer Ben Hughes 

Composer/Sound Designer Steve Toulmin

Accessibility Auslan Interpreted (Mon 5 Feb), Audio Described (Thu 15 Feb + Sat 17 Feb, 2.00pm)

Play Briefing 
Tuesday 30 January, 6pm - 7pm 
Playhouse, QPAC

This production contains coarse language, use of herbal cigarettes, brief nudity and drug use. 

Running Time 
Approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes, including a 20 minute interval. 

Information for Schools


A Sydney Theatre Company Production Black is the New White was originally commissioned by Sydney Theatre Company with the support of the Malcolm Robertson Foundation. Original production supported by the STC Donor Syndicate.
  • Sydney Theatre Co
  • Ausco
  • Create NSW
  • BAC