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Jane Harrison: The Visitors


Event Status

Revisit a critical moment in Australia’s history with visionary playwright and author Jane Harrison.

About the Event

‘I once read that every country has a seminal issue that they grapple with. I believe colonisation is ours.’

Jane Harrison’s work has captivated audiences globally, earning her international acclaim for plays including Stolen and Rainbow’s End. With an impressive body of work and a deep commitment to promoting and developing First Nations perspectives – including as the Director of the Blak & Bright First Nations Literary Festival – Harrison has established herself as an essential voice in the Australian cultural landscape.

For Spring Fling, Harrison discusses the work of reimagining the past in her first novel for adult readers, The Visitors – a radical retelling of the events of 26 January 1788 from a First Nations perspective. Based on her play of the same name, which first wowed audiences at Sydney Festival in 2020, The Visitors is now a multi-artform phenomenon, appearing as a novel, a production and an opera.

In a wide-ranging and frank conversation with host Daniel James for Melbourne City Reads, Harrison will discuss the story’s journey across artforms and shed new light on this critical moment from Australia’s past.

This event will open with an operatic performance by soprano Shauntai Sheree, a cast member of Victorian Opera’s The Visitors, and Phoebe Briggs, the production’s Head of Music. The Visitors debuts on 18 October at the Playhouse at Arts Centre Melbourne.

Please note that this event will now be hosted by Tony Birch.

This event is part of the Melbourne City Reads series.


Assistive Listening

Accessible toilets available

Registered Assistance Animals welcome

Wheelchair accessible

Please notify us of all access requirements when booking online so we can assist you with your visit. If you require further information, please contact reception on 03 9094 7800 or

About the Book

The bookseller for this event is Readings.


About Spring Fling

Spring Fling returns in 2023, and this year we’re going Above and Beyond.

We’re looking further, delving deeper, and asking bigger questions with outstanding thinkers who are reshaping our world and envisioning extraordinary futures.

Spring Fling is supported by the Victorian State Government.


Spring Fling


Jane Harrison

Jane Harrison is descended from the Muruwari people and is an award-winning playwright, author and festival director. Her first play, Stolen, was performed across Australia and internationally for seven years, and her second, Rainbow’s End, won the 2012 Drover Award. Her young adult novel B... Read more

Tony Birch

Tony Birch is the author of four novels, five short fiction collections, and two poetry books. His most recent book is the novel, Women and Children (UQP). ... Read more

Phoebe Briggs

Musical Director Phoebe Briggs worked with Opera Australia from 2002 to 2012, before taking up the role of Head of Music at Victorian Opera in October 2012.

Shauntai Sherree

Starting out as a singer songwriter in Inspirational Soul & Gospel, Shauntai has now embarked on a career in the world of opera, classical music, composition and theatre making. She is vocally versatile and has the ability to cross genres seamlessly. A compositional voice. full lyric soprano,... Read more


The Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.