Riverside Theatres  Parramatta

in association with SYDNEY FESTIVAL and

Created, directed & designed by Kim Carpenter CF AM


BRETT & WENDY’s tumultuous life together – from when he was 17 and she 15 – is filled with incredibly stark highs and lows. It’s a great love story bound by art. Brett’s unique magic as an artist and charismatic personality made him a superstar public figure in his short life. Wendy, an artist in her own right, became Brett’s goddess, model, muse, wife, confidante and – finally – enemy.

Together they made great theatre –a spectacular image in the Australian art scene 25 years after Brett’s death, Wendy (now 77), represents Brett’s world in her iconic tower home filled with his work she has impeccably curated around her.

She looks out onto the harbour he so sensuously immortalised in the ultramarine blue Lavender Bay series.

Below the house is her work – a large extraordinary exotic award-winning public garden (originally unused land filled with rubbish) she created on public land as a homage to Brett and daughter Arkie.


Featuring Paul Gleeson (Home And Away, Rake) as Brett Whiteley, Leeanna Walsman (Star Wars, Wentworth) as Wendy Whiteley, Jeanette Cronin (Letters To Lindy) as Brett’s sister, Frannie and Tony Llewellyn-Jones (Opera Australia’s My Fair Lady) as Lloyd Rees, Olivia Brown, Yasmin Polley

INTRODUCING THE DANCERS – Naomi Hibberd, Robbie Curtis and Dean Elliott 


Created, written, directed and designed by Kim Carpenter (Monkey…Journey to the West, The Book of Everything), the production is choreographed by Lucas Jervies (The Australian Ballet’s Spartacus). A percussive score by Peter Kennard (Monkey…Journey to the West) will feature snippets of Brett’s favourite songs including Bob Dylan, Nina Simone and David Bowie. Costume Designer Genevieve Graham. Digital video by Fabian Astore with lighting by Sian James-Holland


At the heart of this piece is the struggle of the artist as child/man. The painter alone, between his mind, heart and hand, searching for the god-given moments to produce pictures that we will all identify him by.

Brett Whiteley – who I met twice – and engaged in long heady conversations with, was consumed by his attraction to opposites – dichotomy.

His love of beauty and nature existed alongside his insatiable attraction to evil and violence. His desperately exhausting quest to be bigger and more illuminating than life itself through his art was both his success and his failure.

Kim Carpenter

Creative Team

Kim Carpenter CF AM – Creator, Director, Designer

Founder and Artistic Director of Theatre of Image, Carpenter is an established Devisor/Director/Designer having created productions for most major Australian drama, dance and opera companies. His productions have embraced puppetry, digital arts, conceptual sets, props and costumes; and his art works and designs are represented in international collections and exhibitions. Most recently (and in addition to Brett and Wendy), Carpenter has written and designed a new ballet for The Australian Ballet, The Happy Prince, to open at Sydney Opera House in May 2019.

Peter Kennard – Composer/Musician

Composer/musician/percussionist/sound designer and highly-experienced musical director. Worked on many Theatre of Image productions including Monkey … Journey to the West

Lucas Jervies – Choreographer

Jervies is an Australian theatre and dance maker, choreographer and director working across ballet, contemporary dance, cabaret, opera and theatre. He has created dance for both national and international companies including Sydney Dance Company, QLD Ballet, and Opera Australia; and Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, Louisville Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet and Korzo Theatre Den Haag. Most recently, he choreographed The Australian Ballet’s Spartacus.

Fabian Astore – Digital Media

Digital Media Artist, Macquarie University. Worked on many Theatre of Image productions. Winner of many awards including The Blake Prize.

Sian James Holland – Lighting Designer

Lighting Designer. Monkey…Journey To The West, Bell, Shakespeare, Sport For Jove

Genevieve Graham – Costume Designer

In context of our work

The core of BRETT & WENDY springs from ToI’s history of integrating diverse disciplines and forms to tell a story. It belongs to a group of ToI works exploring an artist’s life and work – Swimming In Light … the world of Lloyd Rees (Melbourne Festival, Canberra, Sydney, Caracas Festival), White Heat: Arthur Boyd Retrospective, AGNSW (ToI patron 1994-1999); Litte Beauty, National Portrait Gallery 2011, reflecting the Australian identity.

This project provides the opportunity to apply the vast knowledge and skills of visually-minded creators to a subject they are absolutely passionate about.

Carpenter trained as a visual artist under John Olsen (his mentor). He was the first Australian artist-in-residence at France’s Atelier de Seguret. Numerous exhibitions of his mixed media works followed. Recently his Art For The Theatre – opened by Edmund Capon at Danks St Depot Gallery Sydney.

Image: Swimming In Light … the world of Lloyd Rees