The Hatpin


Seymour Centre (York Theatre)

27th Feb - 15th Mar, 2008

American Theatre of Actors (Chernuchin Theatre)

15th Sep - 24th Sep, 2008

Theatre Works

13th May - 28th May, 2011

The Hatpin

Music by Peter Rutheford
Book & Lyrics by James Millar

Producers: Neil Gooding (Neil Gooding Productions) and Martin Kinnane & Kim Hardwick (WhiteBox)

Director: Kim Hardwick
Musical Director:  Peter Rutherford   
Set & Costume Designer:  Mark Thompson
Lighting & Vision Designer:  Martin Kinnane   
Assistant Director:  Neil Gooding
Technical Director: Josh Lemon

THE HATPIN has its own website:

THE HATPIN tells story of a single mother, Amber Murray, who advertised her baby in a newspaper trading column in the hope of saving his life...and ended up embroiled in one of the most captivating, moving and exciting criminal trials in Australian history. Using the moral support she gains from her friendship with the free spirited Harriet Piper, Amber fights the injustices of circumstance and tragedy to find hope and strength.

A moving and hopeful story about friendship and courage. Dealing with motherhood, poverty and the resilience of women thriving under extraordinary pressures, this show looks at the public's judgment of private choice, the power of self-liberty and the notion of "care".

This case of Amber Murray vs. The Makins was influential in bringing about awareness in society of the need for welfare for single-mothers and the demand for a review of the Australian Child Protection Act.

All production photographs (c) Danielle Lyonne, 2008

Following the World Premiere season in Sydney in February 2008, The Hatpin was invited to perform at the 2008 New York Musical Theatre Festival. The Hatpin was the only international production invited to perform in 2008.

The Hatpin made its US premiere on September 15, 2008 at the American Theatre of Actors in the Chernuchin Theatre at NYMF. Caroline O'Connor followed The Hatpin overseas to reprise her role of Harriet Piper, as did Gemma-Ashley Kaplan, who returned to play Clara Makin.

The NYMF season ran from the Setpember 15 to September 24, 2008

The Original Cast Recording of The Hatpin is available for purchase.


Nomination - 2009 Sydney Theatre Awards - Best New Australian Work - The Hatpin
Nomination - 2009 Sydney Theatre Awards - Best Actress in a Musical - Gemma-Ashley Kaplan

Winner - 2009 Sydney Theatre Awards - Best Actress in a Musical - Michelle Doake

2008 NYMF Best Of Fest Awards - Oustanding Individual Performance - Caroline O'Connor


From the World Premiere Production in Australia:

"A powerful piece of musical theatre...A landmark moment in Australian musical theatre"
Mark Hopkins, Sydney Morning Herald

 "A sophisticated work.....Taking the Australian musical a notch higher"
Troy Lennon, Daily Telegraph

"The Audience is gripped by the kind of tension and horror normally associated with a Hitchcock thriller...See it now!
Diana Simmonds,

"Gutsy, gritty, dark, funny, clever, rich in history and thoroughly moving...Strong casting and rich characters...The Hatpin is a revelation in Australian theatre"
Joanna Erskine,

Original Cast


Caroline O'Connor - Harriet Piper
Peter Cousens - Charles Makin
Melle Stewart - Amber Murray
Barry Crocker AM - Justice Stephens / James Hanone
Octavia Barron-Martin - Marianne Leonard
Nick Christo - Thomas Williamson
Michelle Doake - Agatha Makin
Jodie Harris - Rebecca Rigby
Gemma-Ashley Kaplan - Clara Makin
Tyran Parke - Edward Cleary
Jennifer Peers - Minne Davis

Caroline O'Connor - Harriet Piper
Alexis Fishman - Amber Murray
Paul Kandel - Charles Makin
Cyrilla Baer Pond - Agatha Makin
Gemma-Ashley Kaplan - Clara Makin
Casey Erin Clark - Marianne Leonard
Sharone Halevy - Rebecca Rigby
Matt Leisy - Edward Cleary
Mary Catherine McDonald - Minne Davis
Michael A. Pizzi - Justice Stephens / James Hanon
Billy Clark Taylor - Thomas Williamson