The Arrival

Adapted from the award winning graphic novel by Shaun Tan, The Arrival is a universal migrant tale set in a fantastical time and place.

A man flees his homeland and journeys across vast seas to arrive in a strange, wondrous new world where giant ships fly through the air and curious creatures abound. There he negotiates dazzling architecture, bizarre foods and foreign tongues to build a new life. On his travels the man meets fellow migrants each with their own tale to tell.

Like Tan’s book this production is a tribute to migrants, refugees and displaced people worldwide. It is ultimately a story of overcoming hardship, of humanity and of hope.

Commissioned by Auckland Arts Festival 2009. Winner of 6 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards including Best Production, Most Original Production, Best Director, Best Set Design, Best Costume Design and Best Newcomer.

In 2018 The Arrival was reworked to perform at Out of the Box Festival for Children in Brisbane.

"One of the most memorable, remarkable, technically complex and beautiful productions this country has seen." Capital Times

"Every once in a while you see a show that is such a breath of fresh air that you feel aglow when you walk out of the theatre. The Arrival is that kind of show." Jack Teiwes, Australian Stage Online

Creative Team

Shaun Tan
Concept and Imagery Design
Kate Parker
Julie Nolan
Set Design
John Verryt
Composition and Sound Design
Andrew McMillan
Lighting Design
Jeremy Fern
Costume Design
Elizabeth Whiting
Imagery Construction
Kate Parker, Simon Coleman & Jessika Verryt
Devising Cast
  • Jarod Rawiri
  • Alison Bruce
  • Ella Becroft
  • Tama Jarman
  • Jared Turner
  • Justin Haiu
  • Tahi Mapp - Borren
  • Kate Parker
  • Chris Graham
  • Sally Stockwell


  • Best Production Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards
  • Most Original Production Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards
  • Best Director Julie Nolan Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards
  • Best Set Design John Verryt Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards
  • Best Costume Design Elizabeth Whiting Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards
  • Best Newcomer Ella Becroft Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards


  • Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland - Auckland Arts Festival The Civic March 2009
  • Sydney International Arts Festival Carriageworks January 2010
  • Hong Kong Arts Festival City Hall Theatre February 2010
  • Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington - New Zealand International Arts Festival The Opera House March 2010
  • Seoul, Korea LG Arts Centre May 2012
  • Korea - Busan International Performing Arts Festival Busan Cultural Centre May 2012
  • Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland - The Edge Winter Showtime Programme Aotea Centre July 2012
  • Macao Macao Cultural Centre March 2013
  • Taiwan - Kaohsiung Spring Arts Festival Da Dong Arts Centre March 2013
  • Brisbane - Out of the Box Festival QPAC June 2018