It is 1905, and in Australia women have just achieved the right to vote. Mirabella Martin is a highly successful, but rapidly ageing, soubrette. She wants to catch the eye of Harry Rickards, boss of the Tivoli Circuit, but she needs to find a new act to secure her place on a bill dominated by American and British theatrical imports.

Her pianist, Tommy, tells her about the rage in the home country for male impersonation and encourages Mirabella to discover the power of pants. Mirabella hates the idea and tries to burn the trousers that Tommy has loaned her. Only when there are no other options does she takes to the stage cross-dressed.

The audience loves her and, very gradually, Mirabella begins to embrace the opportunities that her on-stage persona creates for her. But when Harry Rickards finally turns up to see her, Mirabella is faced with a heart-wrenching decision between the he that she's learned to embrace and the she that might secure her future
A delightful and very funny cabaret style show, Butterfly Dandy is a story about the pleasures and challenges of finding the 'new you' in the most unlikely place and of realising that the 'ideal man' might be closer than you think.

"One helluva dandy show...a delightfully entertaining, thought-provoking and original blend of music hall, cabaret, melodrama and community theatre."—Peter Wilkins, The Canberra Times

  • drama with songs
  • 90
  • 2 total
  • 1 female identifying, 1 male identifying
  • history
  • 18+
  • adult
  • Australian Script Centre


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Female | Unspecified | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 17

EXTRACT: It is like having two giant mens hands running permanently up and along one's own legs. It is like...O is like having some woolly man with his head buried permanently in one's private parts. I am not being vulgar, Mr Rickards. I am not. It is sincerely the most accurate description I can give you. It is an incomparably despicable experience. And how is one supposed to walk? Like an ape? Like a dog.


Female | Unspecified | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 54

EXTRACT: You're a man of the world, Mr Rickards. You're someone who knows who he is and what he wants. So, maybe you can tell me. When do we become so certain? At what age does that happen? At what age do we fix on our likes and dislikes and then become so terribly fixed that we deny ourselves the pleasure of still being surprised? What compels us to say 'this is me, and nothing else' and then suffer the tedium of, frankly, boring ourselves to death?

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