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03 November 2014– 20 December 2014

Venue: Drama Theatre  View Seat Map
Presented by: Sydney Theatre Company

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Switzerland by Joanna Murray–Smith is an original thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. Inspired by renowned crime novelist Patricia Highsmith (The Two Faces of January, The Talented Mr Ripley, Strangers on a Train).

In light of the situation in the Sydney CBD today, tonight's performance of ‘Switzerland’ (Mon 15 Dec 2014 6:30pm) has been cancelled, in order to minimise pressure on transport networks. Purchasers who have booked via Sydney Opera House are asked to please contact us on +61 2 9250 7777 or via to request an exchange into one of the remaining performances, or to request a full refund if remaining dates are unsuitable. Customers who have booked via Sydney Theatre Company directly will be contacted within the next 48 hours.


The sharper the wits, the higher the stakes

Somewhere in the Swiss alps, a grande dame of best-selling crime literature lives with an impressive collection of books, and a somewhat sinister collection of guns and knives. She finds solace in her seclusion, her cats and cigarettes. But when a mysterious international visitor barges in to her home unannounced, will her love of fictional murders become a dangerous reality?

 is an original thriller inspired by renowned master crime novelist Patricia Highsmith by Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith ( Fury , 2013).

Highsmith’s books are the source of many cinematic adaptations -
The Two Faces of January , The Talented Mr Ripley , Strangers on a Train - but in Switzerland the tables are turned and it is Patricia Highsmith herself who is the central character.

Sydney Theatre Company Resident Director Sarah Goodes guides a superbly talented cast, Sarah Peirse and Eamon Farren, in a production that will have you on the edge of your seat.

True to its genre, 
Switzerland  kicks off with a knock at the door and spirals into a calculated contest of wits and words. In a Highsmith world, villains enjoy happy endings as often as their victims… who will make it out of Switzerland  alive?

strong language

The best-selling author behind the character 

Patricia Highsmith was born in Texas in 1921, the only child of her feuding artist parents. She grew up to have a macabre sense of humour, a fascination with psychological disorders and plethora of controversial opinions. Her friends described her as stingy, neurotic and cantankerous. 

Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, was turned into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock. Her second, The Price of Salt, was a lesbian romance that defied 1950s conventions and sold almost a million copies.

Highsmith created some of the greatest suspense novels in modern literature, writing dozens of works that would become notorious for their startling violence and unstable, morally ambiguous characters. She became best known for the Ripley series and its eponymous criminal hero; a seductive, amoral libertine who gets away with murder.

Patricia Highsmith died in Switzerland in 1995. She was alone.

Daily Review - 4.5 star review

“Murray-Smith’s work has never been darker or more compelling and Sydney Theatre Company’s world premiere production, directed by Sarah Goodes, explores Highsmith’s shadows with sophistication and two outstanding performances.”

“Switzerland seems certain to go international, and has the makings of an excellent, claustrophobic film. Highsmith is the type of role the Streeps and Benings of the world win awards for, and it’s hard to imagine they won’t come knocking.”

“It’s a truly great new play”

Sydney Morning Herald - 4 star review

“This dark, generously entertaining new play by Joanna Murray-Smith gets the sleek premiere it deserves. Everything about it shouts quality. Something about it whispers "Broadway potential".

“Presented as a straight-through and engrossing 100 minutes, Sarah Goodes' production is handsome (moodily lit and scored by Nick Schlieper and Steve Francis, respectively) and draws you into Highsmith's world completely.”

The performances are excellent. In mannish get-up, Peirse is entirely convincing as Highsmith, prickly as a cactus yet possessed of warm intelligence and a willingness to engage with those she deems worthy. Farren, in the performance of his career to date, is a brilliant foil.”  

 The Australian 

“The twists in this multi-layered meta-thriller are fascinating” 

Artist Information

Director Sarah Goodes
Designer Michael Scott-Mitchell
Lighting Designer Nick Schlieper
Composer and Sound Designer Steve Francis
Eamon Farren
Sarah Peirse
Photo James Green

Pricing Information

Prices correct at the time of publication and subject to change without notice. Exact prices will be displayed with seat selection.  Children aged 15 and under must be accompanied at all times 

Preview $45 - $78
Standard $45 - $99
Concessions* $45 - $99
Senior Card Holders $45 - $85
Under 30 $45 - $58
Group 10+** $45 - $85
Booking fee applies per transaction

$8.50 - Contact Centre
$8.50 - Internet
$5.00 - Box Office Counter

Pricing Information Explained

Pricing Information Explained

For events which offer concession pricing, if you purchase concession tickets, please ensure you have your Proof of Concession with you when you attend an event.

Children aged 15 and under must be accompanied at all times 
*Concessions available for Australian Pensioners, Australian Full-Time Students and Unemployed benefit holders

Ticket Booking Enquiries: For all general booking enquiries please email the Contact Centre or call on +61 2 9250 7777 for more information.

**Groups Bookings: Please email the Group Booking team or call on +61 2 9250 7700 for more information.

Insider Prices: Insiders are Sydney Opera House members. Insiders get waived booking fees, up to 20% off Sydney Opera House Presents shows and more. More Info

Performance Dates

Monday 3 November - Thursday 6 November

Friday 7 November - Saturday 20 December

strong language

Running Time: 105 minutes, no interval (approximate and subject to change)


  1. Fri 19 Dec 14 8:00pm
  2. Sat 20 Dec 14 2:00pm - Limited Availability
  3. Sat 20 Dec 14 8:00pm - Limited Availability


‘Love is what interests me. And love is indivisible from murder.’ Patricia


Feature: Tom Ripley

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