Unprecedented Hero_5
HotHouse Theatre


by Campion Decent
Directed by Karla Conway

A remarkable ensemble of six extraordinary actors breathe life into Unprecedented, a landmark new Australian play by multi-award-winning playwright, Campion Decent.

“I don’t hold a hose, mate.”

Based on coronial inquiry reports, testimonials and submissions to the royal commission, including those infamous words of the former Prime Minister, Unprecedented stands as a rallying cry, an urgent theatrical work and powerful tribute to people fighting for their communities.

With heart and unexpected humour, the play speaks to the resilience of community, the long road to recovery, and the courage it will take to make change.

Unflinching. Unmissable. Unprecedented.

“… a moving, angry and surprisingly funny work about government obfuscation and climate change.” ★★★★



Unprecedented meticulously weaves together an account of the fires, the smoke that engulfed the country, the communities left to fend for themselves, the heroism amidst tragedy, and the pivotal coronial inquests.

Though the Black Summer fire season is now some years behind us, Unprecedented has emerged as not simply that of a historical record; it is very much an urgent examination of where we are now and serves as the warning bell for the seasons to come.

The cast of 6 has strong Indigenous representation with three First Nations actors- “It is a story of the land. We can’t tell this story without the commitment of the First Nations voice” - Campion Decent.

With a blend of verbatim, history, and polemic elements, Unprecedented not only examines our ability to endure environmental disasters but also confronts the political stagnancy that hampers adequate responses to the climate crisis. 

Unprecedented promises to be a transformative theatrical experience, provoking audiences to contemplate their role in shaping a sustainable and resilient future. 


“…a potent and deeply moving moment of theatrical magic.” ★★★★ - ArtsHub

“Unprecedented is as searing as its subject matter…”Sydney Morning Herald

“Unmissable theatre for anyone who gives a fig about the future.” Border Mail

Unprecedented - trailer


Unprecedented is a play that rages at the fault lines in a nation’s response to the Black Summer fires.

Everything in the play is on the public record in some form or other. I have drawn on and freely adapted numerous sources and fashioned them to suit my purposes, but not, I hope, at the expense of veracity. The play, by its nature, is part verbatim, part history, and part polemic, with a moment of ‘what if?’ thrown in for good measure. I know it is not an easy story to tell or receive. But I do know it is a story that must be told.
- Campion Decent, Writer

The word ‘unprecedented’ became the catch cry of the devastating Black Summer. A scapegoat word, it suggests no one could have conceived of its possibility or been prepared – a smoke and mirrors tactic used across successive governments and institutions to mask the fact they had failed to live up to their responsibilities. Prior to Black Summer there had been 57 reports, dating back to 1939, conducted in the aftermath of devastating fires. Thousands of pages with recommendations still to be implemented. Almost all the solutions we needed already in existence. So how did we get here?

Australia is ground zero for the climate emergency – we are the global test case. We know this; we are living it. It will take all of us – artists, scientists, politicians, media and the community working collectively to move the needle. Apathy has no place. Unprecedented is not about the past. It is the warning siren, calling you to act, before it is too late to leave. 
- Karla Conway, Director


HotHouse Theatre is a regional creative powerhouse and first-class incubator of new Australian work. Located on the border in Albury Wodonga, HotHouse has been the home of professional theatre for over 25 years, with a rich and celebrated history of commissioning, nurturing, producing and presenting contemporary Australian theatre that ignites the imagination of the region and the nation. 

HotHouse brings regional stories to national stages.

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