What better way for Sydney Theatre Company to reopen the Wharf Theatre after a two-and-a-half year refurbishment than with a new Australian play? Particularly one set in The Rocks, the bustling suburb filled with history, just around the corner from the theatre.

STC has done exactly that with Kate Mulvany’s new stage adaptation of Ruth Park’s 1980 novel for children and young adults, Playing Beatie Bow. The production follows in the footsteps of Mulvany’s sublime, award-winning adaption of Park’s Harp in the South Trilogy, which STC premiered in 2018.

Sofia Nolan and Catherine Văn-Davies in Playing Beatie Bow. Photograph © Daniel Boud

Set in The Rocks, Playing Beatie Bow tells the magical, time-travelling, coming-of-age story of Abigail Kirk (Catherine Văn-Davies), a young misfit, who is pent-up and angry at her father for having left her and her mother for another woman, and even more furious when he wants to return and take them both to Norway.

Running away after an argument, she sees a strange “little furry girl” in the street who is watching the local children play a scary game called Beatie...