Betty is a Butcher

Siren Theatre Co  (Australia) presents



Written and performed by Thomas Campbell

Dramaturg Robin McLeavy

Directed by Kate Gaul

Composer Nate Edmondson

Lighting Design Victor Kalka


Five characters, five reasons to live, an odyssey towards death.  A collage of memory, these characters jostle for existence in a theatrical phantasmagoria


BETTY IS A BUTCHER is a black comedy that captures the fragility and savagery of relationships, the need for love and the power of family. In dramatising the act of waiting and capturing the emptiness of communication BETTY IS A BUTCHER explores what defines us and asks what power we have to shape our destiny.


An unmissable debut play written and performed by Thomas Campbell and directed by Kate Gaul, BETTY IS A BUTCHER is filled with dark humour, pathos and unsettling personal narrative.

"Betty tells me that I’m a dog person, not a cat person and that if I was a cat person she wouldn’t look at me twice. She tells me she loves my stomach and I believe her. That she loves the sound of my snoring and when I toss and turn in bed she pretends she’s a convict on a ship travelling to Australia. 


Betty cries tears of rainbow water.


Betty is a unicorn."

Responses from the work-in-progress showing

"Betty is a Butcher's complex and deeply suffering characters evoke a range of emotions from laughter to intense discomfort. Whatever happens next is not only the opposite of what I expect, but exactly what needs to happen." Katherine Allen

"It's rare  to witness a performer so effortlessly teeter between the tender and the absurd but this is exactly what Thomas Campbell does in Betty is a Butcher - a deeply personal work that is laugh out loud funny, deeply uncomfortable, strangely familiar and often very moving.  Thomas' 5 very different characters reflect on themes of family, grief and intergenerational trauma. Oh ... and cupcakes." Lauren Richardson

"Betty is a Butcher dishes up compelling performances and necessarily theatrical moments that are equal parts sophisticated and silly. It’s a joy. It’s a little disturbing. It’s worth seeing."  Nick Atkins, Director New Work Penrith Performing & Visual Arts


Developed with the generous support of Q Theatre | Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre 

“Campbell’s performance alone makes the production a near-unmissable one.” 

Bill Dunlop, Edinburgh Guide


“…the connection between Campbell’s performance and Gaul’s vision which makes for a rare

and compelling theatrical experience.” Ben Neutze, Crikey


“When one performer on a stage can make you forget there is only one performer on the stage,

you know you have something special on your hands” Lisa Thatcher, Theatre Blog

Press quotations from 2017 Edinburgh Fringe production of Misterman

Thomas Campbell
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Thomas Campbell
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Thomas Campbell
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Thomas Campbell
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Thomas Campbell
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Thomas Campbell
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Thomas Campbell reads BETTY IS A BUTCHER at PLAYLIST 2020

Photographer: Clare Hawley