Home Ground Productions presents

HOME GROUND: The State of Origin Musical

Opening June 23, 2017

  • Based on an original idea by Hugh Lunn
  • Book & Lyrics by Hugh Lunn and John Senczuk
  • Music by Tim Cunniffe
  • Directed by John Senczuk

HOME GROUND: The State of Origin Musical set to celebrate the story of Australia’s greatest game

introducing the Queensland anthem, WE BLEED MAROON

State of Origin rugby league was conceived in frustration, born on a bluff and built on legends and myths. This is the story of how Australia’s greatest game came to be, and the people who played it on and off the field.


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or call 07 3358 8600
Special group ticket pricing on request |


Hugh Lunn
It’s the musical Queensland has waited so long for – and on June 23 this year, HOME GROUND: The State of Origin Musical will have its world premiere in Brisbane, starring a cast of 20 telling the story of Australia’s greatest sporting rivalry.

Conceived by literary legend Mr Hugh Lunn and written in collaboration with John Senczuk, the show is a celebration of what it means to be a Queenslander. Self-respect, state pride, comradeship, tenacity, and victory against the odds: they’re the well-known ingredients in the story of Queensland’s four decade dominance of the annual rugby league Series against New South Wales. But it wasn't always so…

What has been forgotten is that every year, for 21 long years, Queensland lost the Interstate Series – because the Blues were stacked with Queensland’s best players! It has taken a collaboration of Hugh and theatrical polymath John Senczuk to bring to the stage the story of the men and women behind State of Origin and how it transformed the state from the butt of jokes into a position of respect, even admiration.

At the same time the Series became the most watched TV program in the nation. Every year. Still.

Featuring the original signature anthem, We Bleed Maroon, the production will open on June 23 at the 1,400-seat Edmund Rice Performing Arts Centre (ERPAC) in South Brisbane.

The cast is led by legendary star of stage and screen Peter Cousens, famed for performing the lead in arguably the world’s most famous musical in Phantom of the Opera in London’s West End. Notably, Peter will play the infamous president of the NSWRL Kevin Humphries (thus, The Enemy), and joining him is an extraordinary all-Queensland cast.

Artie Beetson will be played by standout stage and screen star Michael Tuahine, and a young Wally Lewis will be played by rising Australian talent, Queenslander Chris White.  Playing Kerry Boustead is Matthew Dear, Jackson McGovern will play Brad Backer and Lachlan Hewson takes up the Chris Close jersey.  Scott Muller from The Ten Tenors fame has been cast as celebrated Australian player and coach Ross Strudwick and Astin Blaik as Penny Prentice, his netball coach girlfriend. Stephanie Long, Penny Farrow and Hannah Grondin have all been cast.  Key roles to be announced in the coming weeks include Ron McAuliffe, Sir Joh, Doc, Mal Meninga and Jock Ryan.   

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Fed up by years of losing all four interstate matches year in and year out, one man embarks on a quest to resurrect the code. After assuming the presidency of the Queensland Rugby League in 1971 he gives himself three years to defeat New South Wales. The tenacious Ron McAuliffe, adopted baby from Rainbow Street Sandgate, Rat of Tobruk, debating champion, Senator and rugby league boss, has known boundless success – but now great disappointment.

As losses continue he sees public interest in Rugby League in Queensland dwindle --- by 1979 Queensland has not won a single Series for 20 years! McAuliffe knows that not only the code itself, but also the future careers of young players of great potential like Wally Lewis, Chris Close and Mal Meninga, are in jeopardy. And so, he begins a relentless mission to bring about change: he cajoles and ultimately convinces the NSWRL’s Kevin Humphreys to stage the first State of Origin style match after Queensland loses the Series, yet again, in 1980.

Captained by Artie Beetson, in front of a capacity Lang Park crowd, the Maroons win the day (20-10) … and legends are born!


Game greats line up in support: Already, current and past stars of State of Origin football including Wally Lewis, Johnathan Thurston, Petero Civoniceva, Billy Moore, Tommy Raudonikis, Sam Thaiday and Gene Miles have put their hands up to support the production.

Wally "The King" Lewis said, "Hugh Lunn is a guy that's been there since the creation of State of Origin footy, so he's certainly very well educated on the subject. It will be entertaining, there's no doubt about that."

Petero Civoniceva agreed. "I think it's a great idea. As Queenslanders we love our Origin and this puts a different spin on it. Our passion for State of Origin will extend into the theatre and I'm sure it will get plenty of support. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds." He added that he was ready for a call up if the producers needed him! “I've got the deep baritone voice so if Hugh needs me, I'm waiting!"

Game legend Gene Miles attended a developmental workshop at QPAC for the production (with Wally Lewis) and got so excited he leapt up from his seat and called out: "Give me the ball, I want to take it up!"

The great Tommy Raudonikis offered measured support, saying "I want to be in it. But I'm not gonna wear tights!"

The one and only Johnathan Thurston was all in as well. "I love the idea. That would be very funny to see. For people who don't follow rugby league it may bring more fans on board.” He added that if he were ever to be played on stage, he would have to be played by Hollywood actor-singer-comedian Jamie Foxx!

Passionate Queenslander Billy Moore was similarly excited and just as ambitious if he were to be included in the script. "The actor to play me, if I was in that era, it would have to be Hugh Jackman, wouldn't it? He's good looking and he can sing and dance, I reckon he ticks all the boxes. Plus, he'd only have to say one word - Queenslander!"

Current State of Origin great Sam Thaiday also put his hand up, saying, "I want to play the Big Fella [Artie Beetson]. I could, y'know. I could!"

Tickets start from $50.00 per person

Click here for tickets

Home Ground Productions presents

HOME GROUND: The State of Origin Musical


KICK OFF Friday 23 June 2017


7:30pm Wednesday 21 June 2017 7:30pm Thursday 22 June 2017


7:30pm Friday 23 June 2017


Edmund Rice Performing Arts Centre (ERPAC) adjacent to Southbank beside the Lady Cilento carpark


Tickets start from $50.00 per person Click Here to book or call 07 3358 8600


Click Here to request more information


John Senczuk - Director
Ross Wallace – Designer
Heidi Loveland - Musical Director
Grant McClay - Choreographer
Jason Raft - Lighting Design


Peter Cousens (Kevin Humphreys), Chris White (Wally Lewis), Stephanie Long (Donna Ryan), Matthew Dear (Russell/Boustead), Jackson McGovern (Brad Backer), Lachlan Hewson (Chris Close), Penny Farrow (Barbara), Hannah Grondin (Pat) and others.


Home Ground Productions is a company specifically formed by Brisbane business identities and patrons of the performing arts, Mrs Amanda Talbot and Dr Tom Biggs, to bring this quintessential Queensland story to Queensland audiences.

07 3358 8600


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