Slingsby and State Theatre Company South Australia, in association with Adelaide Festival

Adapted for the stage by Amy Conroy
From the book by Martin McKenna published by Skyhorse Publishing
Developed with the assistance of Draíocht Arts Centre, Dublin 15, Ireland


Young Martin is a misfit. Bullied at school and misunderstood at home, his only comfort comes from sneaking off to the family coal shed to bond with his German Shepherds, Major and Rex.

When things reach breaking point, the 13 year old runs away from his home in Limerick, Ireland, and finds himself taken in by a new family – a pack of stray dogs. As they dodge trains, steal meals and fight for survival, Martin finds himself on the road he was always meant to take.

Based on the best-selling memoir, this rough-and-tumble tale, starring acclaimed Irish actor Bryan Burroughs, fuses shadow puppetry, swinging Irish music and stunning physical performance to bring Byron Bay ‘Dog Man’ Martin McKenna’s epic true story to the stage for the first time.

Beautifully adapted by Irish playwright Amy Conroy, The Boy Who Talked to Dogs is a magical and mischievous tale of transformation, redemption, and what happens when the underdog finds his pack.


The Boy Who Talked to Dogs Teaser

Meet the creative team

Andy Packer

CEO & Artistic Director

Andy is a director of theatre, music theatre and opera. He has also worked as creative producer of multidisciplinary arts programs, producer of large-scale outdoor events and festival director.

Andy is a director of theatre, music theatre and opera. He has also worked as creative producer of multidisciplinary arts programs, producer of large-scale events and festival director. In 2007 Andy co-founded Adelaide based theatre company Slingsby. The company’s productions have received 16 industry awards and toured to more than 100 theatres in over 70 cities and towns across 12 countries.

Andy is renowned for creating original live performance moments that are emotionally powerful and visually bold. His work across theatre for young audiences, opera, cabaret, music theatre and symphonic concerts has pushed him to develop a distinctive theatrical form that is at once personal and epic.

Andy has directed productions, concerts and events for Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, State Opera of South Australia, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Adelaide Festival of Arts, Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide Chamber Singers, Australian String Quartet, Windmill Theatre, Restless Dance, Tutti Ensemble, Rundle Mall Management Authority and the International Astronautical Federation. In 2019 Andy was Show Director for the World of WearableArt Awards Show in Wellington, New Zealand. Andy was Creative Producer of Programming at Carclew Youth Arts 2003-2006, Creative Producer of Family Events for Adelaide Fringe Festival 2007-2008 and Creative Director of Come Out Festival 2011.

Amy Conroy


Amy Conroy is an actor, playwright and Artistic Director of HotForTheatre.

Her first radio play, Hold This, was recorded and broadcast on RTÉ Radio One in September 2010. Her first stage play, I Alice I, won the Fishamble Award for New Writing in the 2010 Dublin Fringe Festival and has enjoyed sold out runs in the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival, the Peacock stage of the Abbey Theatre Dublin, The Irish Arts Centre in New York, Lókal festival in Iceland, Glasgay Festival in Glasgow, The World Theatre Festival in Brisbane, Australia, Auckland Arts Festival in New Zealand, Ten Days on the Island Festival in Tasmania, Queer Theatre Festival Croatia, Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris and The Lyric Theatre Belfast. It was broadcast on RTE Radio One, has been translated and performed in Poland, Italy and Iceland and is published by Oberon.

Her second show, Eternal Rising of the Sun, won the Best Female Performer Award when it premiered at Dublin Fringe Festival 2011. Her performance as Gina Devine also earned her a nomination for Best Actress in the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2011. Eternal Rising of the Sun has enjoyed successful runs in the Dublin Theatre Festival 2012, Fringe World in Perth, Australia, and a staged reading in Sydney Theatre Company. In September 2013, Amy and her company HotForTheatre presented Break, which combined spoken word, music and text. Set in an Irish secondary school it exposed and interrogated the failures and triumphs of our education system. Luck Just Kissed You Hello premiered at the Mick Lally Theatre as part of the Galway International Arts Festival in 2015, concluded a sell out run for the Dublin Theatre Festival later the same year, it was nominated for Best New Play in the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2016 and toured nationally. Amy has performed in countless production over the years, most recently a critically acclaimed production of The Taming of the Shrew at the Globe Theatre, London, directed by Caroline Byrne, Futureproof, directed by Tom Creed, My Son My Son, directed by Veronica Dyas, A Day In May, directed by Gerry Stembridge, A Midsummers Night’s Dream, directed by Lynne Parker and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (DTF 2018), directed by Ronan Phelan. She recently directed Me Sara (Priming the Canon) for the Abbey Theatre, which played in the Peacock and toured nationally, Looking Deadly (Dublin Fringe – National tour) and Here and Now by Veronica Dyas, performed as part of Thisispopbaby’s Where We Live Festival.

Amy is a Six in the Attic Alumni, is currently Writer in Residence with Rough Magic Theatre Company and is Associate Writer with The Abbey Theatre.

Lisa O’Neill

Song Writer

Lisa O’Neill from County Cavan is an Irish songwriter like no other.

Her roots may be sourced in folk and traditional music but her work opens up a landscape beyond any settled sense of genre. On her last album, Pothole in the Sky, she set her remarkable incisive voice against impressionistic instrumental back-drops, like Margaret Barry colluding with the Dirty Three or some such meeting of minds. Lisa is not shy of collaboration, and her performances

across Ireland, Europe and beyond have featured many great musicians of all ages and traditions. In January this year, she joined a stellar cast of great songwriters and musicians to celebrate the birthday of Shane McGowan at the National Concert Hall. Earlier this year she accepted an invitation from the National Gallery of Ireland to respond to works in the Frederic William Burton: For the Love of Art exhibition, which resulted in another spellbinding performance. In April she put together a critically acclaimed show for the Abbey Theatre in Dublin with writer Pat McCabe, and musicians Ian Lynch (Lankum) and Cass McCombs.

Over the years she has quietly built a reputation for herself on the Irish and international scenes and now has a growing following with her unique folk sound, strong song-writing and distinctive voice. Her debut release ‘Has an Album’ was followed in 2013 by Choice- nominated ‘Same Cloth Or Not’. Her third and most recent album ‘Pothole in the Sky’ was released to critical acclaim and is filled with tension and emotion, contextualizing themes of love, loss, heartache and sorrow today through referencing tales from the past with beauty, honesty and defiance. Lisa is currently working on new material for a fourth studio album scheduled for release in the Autumn of 2018.

Bryan Burroughs


Bryan Burroughs is a leading Irish performer who will join Slingsby for the first time on The Boy Who Talked to Dogs.

Bryan trained at the Samuel Beckett Centre at Trinity College Dublin.

Noteworthy performances include My Foot/My Tutor with Articulate Anatomy (Best Male Performance at Dublin Fringe Festival 2004),Barabbas Theatre Company’s Johnny Patterson : The Singing Irish Clown ( Irish Times Theatre Award Best Supporting Actor 2009) and regularly performs his one man show Beowulf : The Blockbuster which originated as a Show In A Bag and has toured Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, Australia, New York and was the number one success of the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 winning the STAGE Award for Acting Excellence.

Other notable productions include Act Without Words 2 by Samuel Beckett for Company SJ which most recently performed at the Barbican in London and the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris. He also regularly performs in a two hander adaptation of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol with Aaron Monaghan nationally, at The Ark andThe Pavilion for Christmas 2020. He played Quasimodo in Angela’s Ashes : The Musical in 2017 & 2019 and Lenehan in the returning production of James Joyce’s ULYSSES at The Abbey Theatre in an adaptation by Dermot Bolger and directed by Graham McLaren in Oct 2017 & July 2018. Upcoming productions in 2020 & 2021 include TARRY FLYNN with Livin’ Dred, Beowulf : The Blockbuster, 14 Voices From The Bloodied Field at The Abbey Theatre and The Boy Who Talked to Dogs by Amy Conroy with Slingsby.

As director Bryan has directed Fight Night and The Games People Play for RISE productions written by Gavin Kostick which won Best Actor and the Bewleys Little Gem Award at Dublin Fringe 2010 and Best New Play at the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2013 respectively.

As Movement Director recent productions include Druid’s Beauty Queen of Leenane, Umbrella’s Glowworm, Fishamble’s Inside The GPO, Yew Tree’s Alone It Stands, Pat Moylan’s Stones In His Pockets, Tarry Flynn, The Skriker at the Lir Academy, BrokenCrow’s Levin & Levin, at the Abbey Fool For Love, The Wake and for Second Age Hamlet and Macbeth

For RTE Bryan has appeared on RTE Jr’s The  Beo Show teaching drama to young children, written four short stories for the Tell Me A Story series, written and performed a Christmas short story for the Cór Na Nóg Christmas Concert and directed Fight Night for RTE’s Radio Drama season

Bryan also teaches physical theatre at The Lir Academy of Dramatic Art in association with RADA.

Quincy Grant


Quincy Grant composes music for theatre, concert stage and film.

His work includes music for plays such as The Tragical Life of Cheeseboy, and When the Rain Stops Falling; many works for orchestra that have been played in Germany, Canada, and by the leading Australian orchestras; and soundtracks for films and documentaries broadcast on the ABC and SBS. He also writes for concert performances and film, and plays in many groups: from rock to new music and, most recently wild gypsy music with Golonka.

He is co-director of The Firm, a company that presents concerts each year featuring Australian classical musicians in programmes of new Australian music along side interesting repertoire. In 2013 his first opera, An Ode to Nonsense, was premiered by Slingsby and the State Opera of South Australia.

Quincy lives in Adelaide with four dear ones – Anna, Arland, Clara and Miranda.

Victoria Falconer

Performer / Musician

Victoria Falconer is an award-winning musical director, composer, performer and multi-instrumentalist. She is based between London and Adelaide.

As a musical director in 2020, Victoria will be working on and performing in the debut of Bourgeois & Maurice’s Insane Animals (HOME Manchester), the Australian premiere of the musical adaptation of Amelie (Darlinghurst Theatre, Sydney), a queer reimagining of Oklahoma! (State Theatre of Western Australia) and the new show from international drag superstar Gingzilla. She is also currently engaged as associate composer/arranger and band leader with the Australian-based WOC political performance ensemble Hot Brown Honey.

As a musical director, Victoria has previously worked with Roddy Bottom of Faith No More (Sasquatch The Opera, Summerhall Edinburgh), Courtney Act (Channel 4 UK Christmas Special, Under The Covers) and Jonny Woo’s Unroyal Variety (Hackney Empire London). In 2019 she was Musical Director for the Australian re-staging of the musical Once (Darlinghurst Theatre, touring nationally in 2021) for which she was nominated for a Sydney Theatre Award, and in which she also played the role of Reza.

Victoria is co-creator, composer/lyricist and performer with critically-acclaimed feminist firebrands Fringe Wives Club, and she has just been nominated for a Green Room Award for Music Direction (2020) for their production of Glittergrass, which debuted in 2019 at the Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne. Formed in 2017 on receiving the Moosehead Development Grant, the original trio have received multiple awards including the Best Cabaret Award at Adelaide Fringe 2018, the Spirit of The Fringe Award at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018, and nominations for Best Newcomer (Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2017), Best Cabaret (Melbourne Fringe 2017), Best Ensemble (Green Room Awards 2017), Best Overall Show (NZ Fringe Festival 2019) and for two Wellington Theatre Awards (2019). They have performed sell-out seasons at Edinburgh Fringe, Adelaide Fringe, Soho Theatre (London), Malthouse Theatre (Melbourne), BATS Theatre (Wellington, NZ) and Griffin Theatre (Sydney), and have been invited to perform at Darwin International Festival, Southbank Centre London, Woodford Folk Festival and the Famous Spiegeltent at the Melbourne Arts Centre.

In a previous incarnation (known as Victor Victoria), she composed, scripted and performed as one half of EastEnd Cabaret, the salacious cult musical comedy duo. Playing cabaret and festival stages around the world, the pair sold out shows for 7 years at Edinburgh, Adelaide, Brighton and Perth Fringe Festivals, winning Best Cabaret (Adelaide Fringe 2012), Best Musical Act (London Cabaret Awards 2015) and described as “irresistible… shades of Victoria Wood and Julie Walters via Liza Minnelli” by The Guardian (2014).

As a collaborative musician, Victoria’s appearances in London include the Royal Albert Hall, the National Theatre’s River Stage and the Barbican, as well as playing the musical saw for Amanda Palmer at KOKO with Neil Gaiman, the Tiger Lillies and Richard O’Brien. Festival performances include Glastonbury, Latitude and Bestival (UK), Buskers Festival (NZ) and Clockenflap (Hong Kong). She has contributed violin and voice on the award-winning debut album of chamber-pop artist The Anchoress (produced by Paul Draper), synthesizers and strings to electro-dance act The Correspondents, and has played for recording sessions in famed London studios including The Church, Sofa Sound and Abbey Road Studios. In 2018 she played theremin, violin, accordion and musical saw for a Tom Waits-inspired gala at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, accompanying John Cameron Mitchell, Ali McGregor and Joey Arias amongst other cabaret luminaries.

As a composer, Victoria has most recently written and recorded the score to the award-winning short animated film, Double Portrait by Ian Bruce. It received prizes for Best Animation at Aesthetics Short Film Festival and Best in Category at the London International Animation Festival, as well as being longlisted for a BAFTA. She was composer and sound designer for award-winning mime artist Trygve Wakenshaw’s new show Only Bones, which debuted at Soho Theatre for the London Mime Festival in January 2020.

Victoria is festival director and curator for the inaugural feminist art festival R.O.A.R. at Darlinghurst Theatre in Sydney, to be held in May 2020. She has previously curated a series of comedy and cabaret for the Bush Theatre London (Unwrapped, 2018), and was co-curator/producer for rocknroll cabaret show Midnight Marauders (2018).

TV appearances include The Courtney Act Show on Channel 4 (UK), BBC Three’s Live at the Electric (UK), ABC’s Comedy Up Late (Australia) and NBC’s Before The Morning After (US).

Victoria has been named one of Time Out London’s Top 10 cabaret performers, and was on the Hospital Club’s h100 list 2014 as one of the top 100 influential and innovative artists working in the UK creative industries. She is very active as a Bi Pride UK advocate, loves to live out of her suitcase, and will eat almost anything if it’s pickled.

Emma Luker

Emma Luker is a fiddle player, violinist, performer, teacher and session player based in Adelaide, South Australia. She has performed interstate and internationally as a band member and theatre performer.

Emma is a member for original folk duo The Fiddle Chicks, as well as several other bands in Adelaide, and performs regularly with folk singer Eric Bogle. She has been noticed and acclaimed as a violinist of sensitivity and versatility.

“ …One of the most accomplished musicians I have had the pleasure of working with during my musical career, and I’ve worked with a few. It’s not just because of the technical mastery of her instrument, impressive though that is, it’s something rare and more tangible than that… I’d call it total empathy.” – (Eric Bogle, OAM)

Wendy Todd


Wendy is an Adelaide based designer of theatre, events and spaces. Wendy has worked extensively with Slingsby since 2007.

Wendy is an Adelaide based designer of theatre, events and spaces.

Recent productions designed by Wendy Todd (Set & Costume Designs) include Lighthouse 2020, ([Set Only] Patch Theatre) North/South 2019 (Australian Dance Theatre), Picaresque 2019 (Robyn Archer, Adelaide Festival), Seashore 2019 (Sally Chance Dance/ Dream Big), Rabbits  2017 (Steel & Brown/State Theatre Company), Emil & The Detectives 2017 (Slingsby [Set Only]),  Long Tan 2017 (Brink/STC), The Young King 2016 (Slingsby), Touch’N’Go, 2016 (Sally Chance Dance), Cabaret Opening, Closing & Family Galas 2018, 2017 & 2016 (Adelaide Festival Centre), Blinc Bar Adelaide Festival (Adelaide Festival of Arts) 2015, Babyteeth 2013, Blasted & Pornography 2012 (State Theatre Company), Land & Sea 2012, Skip Miller’s Hit Songs 2011, Harbinger 2010, The Hypochondriac 2009 (Brink Productions), Man Covets Bird 2010, The Tragical Life of Cheeseboy 2007 (Slingsby), Worldhood 2011 (Australian Dance Theatre), A Lion In The Night 2012, The Little Green Tractor 2011 (Patch Theatre Company), Cutaway II, 2012  [Vitalstatistix]. Ruby Bruise 2010 (The Misery Children & Vitalstatistix).

Event Design includes Adelaide Cabaret Festival Co-Event Designer, 2018, 2017 & 2016; Sole Event Designer, 2015, (Adelaide Festival Centre) Designer, Blinc Bar 2015, Design Coordinator of Barrio, 2013 & 2012, Lola’s, 2014, Assistant Designer Persian Garden 2008, 2006, (Late Night Clubs of the Adelaide Festival of Arts), Adelaide Guitar Festival 2016, (AFC) Bowerbird Design Markets 2013 – 2017 (Biannual Event), Adelaide Film Festival 2007.

Chris Petridis

Lighting Designer

Chris is a lighting and video designer from Adelaide. Following his completion of the Technical Production course at the Adelaide Centre of the Arts, Chris has continued to develop his experience across theatre, dance, and other live events in Australia and internationally

Chris is a lighting and video designer from Adelaide, South Australia. Following his completion of the Technical Production course at the Adelaide Centre of the Arts, Chris has continued to develop his experience across theatre, dance, and other live events in Australia and internationally.

Chris recently worked with the World of WearableArt in New Zealand to design the lighting for their 2019 arena show which was performed to 60,000 people. He designed and has been touring with the show 13 Ways to Look at Birds featuring Paul Kelly, James Ledger, Alice Keath and the Seraphim Trio.

Chris has worked with State Theatre Company of South Australia on A View from the Bridge, Brothers Wreck, In The Club, Terrestrial, Mr Burns, Red Cross Letters, Eh Joe for the Beckett Triptych, Gorgon, Masquerade, The Kreutzer Sonata, Maggie Stone and Little Bird. Chris has completed designs for Theatre Republic’s The Bleeding Tree, Lines, Is This Yours’ Angelique, Brink Productions’ Long Tan, Tiny Bricks’ Deluge. Australian Dance Theatre’s Of All Things, The Beginning of Nature Part 1 and Ignition 2016. Restless Dance Theatre’s Zizanie and Touched. Slingsby Theatre Company’s Songs for Those Who’ve Come Across the Seas, Emil and the Detectives and The Mouse, The Bird and The Sausage. Windmill Theatre Company’s Beep, Grug and the Rainbow, Big Bad Wolf and Story Thieves. Force Majeure’s Never Did Me Any Harm. Vitalstatistix’ Cher and Quiet Faith, Flying Penguin’s Bitch Boxer and Seawall.

Ailsa Paterson


Ailsa has worked extensively as a set and costume designer in theatre, opera, dance, film and TV.

Ailsa completed the Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Design (NIDA) in 2003. She has worked extensively as a set and costume designers in theatre, opera, dance, film and TV. Design credits for Slingsby include Ode to Nonsense, Mouse, Bird and Sausage, Emil and the Detectives, You, Me and the Bloody Sea and Songs for Those Who’ve Come Across the Seas. Ailsa was the Resident Designer for the State Theatre Company of SA in 2019. Recent credits for the State Theatre Company of SA include Ripcord, Gaslight, Jasper Jones, The 39 Steps, End of the Rainbow and Pride and Prejudice.

Production Credits

What people are saying

“I’m thrilled that we’re collaborating with Slingsby on this incredible story. It will break your heart then lick your wounds and heal you. ” Mitchell Butel; Artistic Director, State Theatre Company of South Australia

“It is theatre like the work Slingsby produces which makes us all imagine a better and happier world. If more theatre were like this, the world would be a magical place indeed.”

Australian Stage Online