A Potato Race at Arts Theatre Cronulla

A Potato Race at Arts Theatre Cronulla

Arts Theatre Cronulla’s second production for 2023 is The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race, directed by Kathy Petrakis. Inspired by true events, this Australian comedy is an effervescent, hilarious and big-hearted tale about women taking action and showing the world that there’s more than one way to win a race. 

Playwright Melanie Tait grew up in Robertson, a small town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, renowned for potatoes and its annual show that features a potato race the whole town turns out to see. Tait left Robertson to pursue journalism but maintained strong ties to the town. In 2018, she was looking at the website for the Robertson Show when she noticed a discrepancy between the prize money for men and women. She knew that all the best stories are true, so she took this experience and wrote this play.

Appleton is the quintessential small Australian country town, with those who embrace change, like long-time resident Barb and those, like Barb’s friend Bev, who aren’t fans of the tree-changers and their city ways. Prodigal daughter and now qualified doctor Penny Anderson returns to her childhood home to find the famous potato race has a $1,000 prize for men and $200 for women. She is determined to right this wrong, make the prize money equal and smash through the glass ceiling, one potato sack at a time.

Described as a beautiful, heartfelt, and funny play, The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race is a love letter to Tait’s hometown, to women, and ... to the potato. The fictional Appleton is also the lens through which Australia’s attitudes towards women, queer people and refugees are explored, while depicting the struggles of a tiny agricultural community fighting for survival. 

The production runs until 17 June on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and has four Sunday matinees at 2pm.

Tickets are $30/$27 and can be booked online via the theatre’s website: 



Christiane Brawley - Bev Armstrong

Sahar Neale- Rania Hamid

Melissa Myles - Nikki Armstrong

Brooke Salisbury - Penny Anderson

Ann Sayegh - Barb Ling


Karen Firmstone, Sharon Hart, Stephanie Laarakkers, Catherine O’Sullivan

Photo credits: Port Hacking Camera Club

Buy your copy of the script at Book Nook - https://booknook.com.au/product/appleton-ladies-potato-race/

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