Trent Dalton’s Love Stories adapted for stage by QPAC and Brisbane Festival

Trent Dalton Fiona Franzmann Sam Strong and Tim McGarry photo by Lyndon MechielsenQueensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and Brisbane Festival today announced the stage adaptation of Trent Dalton’s Love Stories will have its world premiere in the Playhouse from 10 to 29 September as part of the 2024 Festival.

Love Stories will be adapted for the stage by Tim McGarry, with additional writing and story by Dalton and Fiona Franzmann, and directed by Sam Strong.

In 2021, internationally best-selling author Dalton spent two months on a Brisbane city street corner with his Olivetti typewriter asking people from all walks of life the simple question: “Can you please tell me a love story?”.

The result was a bound exploration of love in all its guises, which fast became a much-needed tonic for a pandemic and went on to win Book of the Year at the 2022 Indie Book Awards.

The unashamedly joyous stage adaptation will bring to life the love stories taken straight from the streets of Brisbane, and promises to be a dramatic, poignant and often humourous reflection on love.

Dalton’s book is a sentimental snapshot of Brisbane, and the diversity of love stories and cast in the stage adaption will hold a mirror to a contemporary Australian city.

Leading the cast are Jason Klarwein as the writer and husband, and Michala Banas as his wife – characters inspired by Dalton’s own love story with wife Franzmann.

Rashidi Edwards is the narrator Jean-Benoit, a Belgian busker who befriends the writer and will set the scene from his corner of the world on Adelaide and Albert Streets.

An ensemble cast including Kimie Tsukakoshi, Jeanette Cronin, Mathew Cooper, Bryan Probets, Harry Tseng, and dancers Jacob Watton and Hsin-Ju Ely, will illuminate the extraordinary in the lives of ordinary Australians.

The lovefest prevails in the creative team, with director Strong reuniting with playwright McGarry following their phenomenal success with the stage adaptation of Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe, which opened the 2021 Brisbane Festival and still stands as QPAC’s highest-selling drama ever.

Dalton, Franzmann, McGarry and Strong joined forces to pitch their vision for Love Stories to Brisbane Festival, with QPAC then coming on board to co-present the world premiere season. Strong said he was thrilled to bring another Trent Dalton work to the stage for QPAC and Brisbane Festival.

Love Stories the show will be filled with everything that people adore about the book (and Trent’s work) – beautifully specific Brisbane stories that speak universal truths, undeniably unforgettable people, and stories that sometimes break our hearts but always fill them,” said Mr Strong.

“In translating Love Stories into the theatre, we’re also building on the original. Trent and Fiona’s own love story, which interweaves through the book, has been expanded by them for the stage show. In addition, we’re including some of the incredible love stories that have been shared since the book was published.

“Finally, while we can’t give too much away, Love Stories will dissolve the wall between the theatre and the city, bringing the rich diversity of Brisbane centre stage, and sending a joyous message of love back into the world,” said Mr Strong.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said following the enormous success of the Boy Swallows Universe production, it was an easy decision to commission another stage adaptation of Dalton’s books.

“Trent’s power is not only in his words – which are inherently so theatrical – but in his ability to scrutinise the complexity of what it is to be human with a heavy dose of heart and optimism that we can all connect with,” said Mr Kotzas.

“We saw this power to stunning effect in the tens of thousands of people who came to see Boy Swallows Universe in the Playhouse, and I know we’ll see the same impact in this theatrical tribute to love,” said Mr Kotzas.

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina embraced the project wholeheartedly from the beginning and said she was delighted to champion Queensland stories and artists. “After the heady success of Boy Swallows Universe, Fiona, Trent, Sam and Tim got together and started dreaming about how to bring Love Stories to the stage,” said Ms Bezzina.

“When they came to me, I could see the phenomenal potential for this show and immediately wanted to see it brought to life so that more Australians could experience the vivid joy and bittersweet ache of Trent’s incredible concoction of love and loyalty.”

“We’re thrilled that QPAC is as excited as us to see this modern classic prance off the page and onto the stage with a world-class cast who will take your breath away anew,” said Ms Bezzina.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the enormous global appetite for Trent Dalton’s inspiring work shared through page, stage and screen reflects his immense talent, the value of Queensland stories and the importance of celebrating our storytellers.

“This exciting production of Love Stories will be in safe hands with the creative team who brought the best-selling novel Boy Swallows Universe to the stage,” said Minister Enoch.

Love Stories delivered in a new collaboration with QPAC is set to be at the heart of this year’s Brisbane Festival, sharing local stories, generating creative employment opportunities for Queensland artists and arts workers and building the state’s reputation as an important cultural tourism destination,” said Minister Enoch.

Dalton said he was constantly awed and inspired by the ways in which one creative endeavour could inspire another. “It’s a rare and wondrous thrill to see one’s words brought to life in the boundless universe of Australian theatre,” he said.

“It’s an even greater thrill to see the love stories of so many not-so-ordinary real-life Queenslanders given such reverence and weight.”

“I’ve already had the great honour of informing many of the storytellers who so kindly told their stories to me on that corner that their words will now be retold in the most thrilling theatrical way by the most gifted team of creatives. These beautiful people who come from every corner of Queensland are just as excited as I am,” said Mr Dalton.

Presented by QPAC and Brisbane Festival, the world premiere season of Love Stories will take place in the Playhouse from 10 to 29 September 2024. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: for details.

Image: Trent Dalton, Fiona Franzmann, Sam Strong and Tim McGarry  – photo by Lyndon Mechielsen