Shane and Gareth used to be pirates. Marooned by time, now they're stuck in the real world trying to figure out how to live.

Gareth starts to get out and meet new friends. Shane is less keen. Civilisation is confusing and old school pirate rules don’t seem to apply. Can their friendship survive this new situation? Can they?

Once Were Pirates is a tale of two bad men trying to make good. It includes singing, sword fighting and a stuffed parrot.

This darkly comic and absurdist play probes questions of masculinity, friendship and identity and asks the question can we ever really change who we are?

  • absurdist, comedy
  • 60
  • 2 total
  • 2 male identifying
  • 18+
  • teen, young adult, adult
  • Australian Script Centre


You can preview the full online text with a Membership


Male | 20s | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 20

EXTRACT: Okay. Well, I mean there’s poor people and sick people and homeless people and people who’ve had the shit kicked out of them by their dads or by someone they know, or just by, by a stranger or by the system, you know, the fucking system.


Male | Unspecified | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 8

EXTRACT: I dream about this man. He’s never the same man but he’s always big. Like a big, bear man. I meet him in my dreams and it’s always after something violent or dangerous has happened to me. Last night … I was trying to navigate this narrow embankment. The ground was slippery and thick, like wet clay.



'///Thoroughly enjoyed this clever 2 hander. Recommended///.'

PLEASE NOTE: This page contains links to files that have been sourced, and websites that are maintained by other businesses and organisations. Please refer to our terms of use.

Search for details of past productions at

AusStage provides an accessible research facility for investigating live performance in Australia.

Search by play title and/or playwright name
Results will open in a new window

PLEASE NOTE: You will be directed to for search results; Australian Plays Transform is not responsible for their completeness. Refer to our terms of use.

SKU: ASC-1779 Category:

We acknowledge that we live and create on unceded lands. We pay our respects to the First Peoples of Australia, and to their elders past, present and future.

© Australian Plays Transform 2024