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Roger Bennett (1948 – 1997) was an Arrernte man from Central Australia, and a playwright. His most well known works are Up the Ladder and Funerals and Circuses.

His works dealt with his life experiences, particularly the travelling boxing tents, where his father, Elley Bennett was a boxing champion during the 1940s and '50s. Roger himself had also fought in the travelling tents.

Up The Ladder, was first performed in Adelaide in 1990, before travelling to Melbourne, 1995, for a long stint at the Melbourne Workers Theatre and came to Sydney in 1997 for the Festival of the Dreaming.

In 2003, the play travelled to Tokyo. Staged by the Rakutendan Theatre Company and directed by Wesley Enoch (Ilbijerri Theatre Cooperative), the play used many Japanese actors.

In Funerals and Circuses, first performed at the Adelaide Festival in 1992, Bennett dealt with the issues of racism, and inter-racial relationships, in a small, racially tense town in South Australia. The music of Paul Kelly was used in this production.

Bennett's works are often studied in Australian high schools, including the NSW Higher School Certificate, for the issues they tackle.


  • Up the Ladder
  • Funerals and Circuses

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