War Stories

Co-written with Rob Johnston as part of an international writing collaboration between the 24:7 Theatre Festival in Manchester and the You Are Here Festival in Canberra, Australia.

Elsie’s search for answers has brought her from Australia to the other side of a world in chaos. Bernard’s answers are no further away than the hospital room he woke up in. For both, the search is almost over. They each have just one more story to tell.

First produced at 24:7 Theatre Festival. Restaged at Re:play 2015 at HOME MCR.

“Gibson’s characterisation of the Australian nurse beautifully balances direct narrative delivery to audience and storytelling skills with emotional expressiveness and impressive restraint.” The Observer

“Remarkably seamless … it has a particularly affecting passage of quiet heroism, in which Emily Spowage recalls an escape from a torpedoed transport vessel by clinging to a drowning mule.” The Guardian

“Gibson’s writing should be commended as the audience finds themselves forgetting they are listening to a monologue of past events, but immerses themselves in the memories and stories.”  The Public Reviews

“It was as quietly moving as anything else I’ve seen on World War One … The audience’s taut silence validates the work.” Manchester Confidential


War Stories



The Pyjama Girl

“Ladies and gentlemen… Tonight we will Entertain and Elucidate. We will bring you Drama! Tragedy! Intrigue. Pretty girls…. And a True story almost too Shocking to be Believed.”

On September 1, 1934 the body of a young woman was found near the Howlong Road, about 8 kilometres out of Albury, NSW. She had been bashed and shot and her body set alight. No one knew who she was, so the body was preserved in formalin solution.

She was found wearing only silk pyjamas so the newspapers named her the Pyjama Girl. The mystery ignited local gossip and, for a time, put Albury on the map as the sensational story played out in the national tabloids.

In 1944 the woman was identified as Linda Agostini, and her husband Antonio arrested for the murder. But Linda Agostini had brown eyes, while the Pyjama Girl had blue eyes. This and other evidence suggests the mystery remains unsolved to this day.

The Pyjama Girl

“By employing vaudeville style, Gibson neatly short-circuits the impact of this story’s horrendous detail.

At the same time, her approach guarantees audience involvement as the atmosphere of 1930s Australia is evoked through speech, music, song and glitzy chorus-line routines for girls in spangled costumes.” Border Mail


Johnny Castellano is MINE

This is more than love. This is more than rebellion.
This is a twisted tale of pain and perfection.

Acclaimed Canberra playwright Emma Gibson re-imagines Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid as a supernatural psychological thriller in this sharp-edged, full-throttled ride into the limits of human torment.

Johnny Castellano is Mine follows Alice across time to on her quest to find a way to reach town heart-throb Johnny Castellano and escape the prison of unreliable memories she finds herself trapped in.

Produced as the first collaboration between The Street and Canberra Youth Theatre.

Canberra Critics’ Circle Award 2015

Johhny Castellano is Mine

“Johnny Castellano is Mine is worth more than the hour it lasts on stage.  It lives on in one’s imagination as good theatre should.” Canberra Critics’ Circle

“This realisation of Gibson’s script, developed between Canberra Youth Theatre and The Street, is powerful and disturbing.” The Age

“Gibson uses just one character in Johnny Castellano is Mine to trace the surreal and compelling journey of self-absorbed teenager, Alice, who falls desperately in love with the school dreamboat.” Australian Arts Review

“Gibson’s play strips a person down to the layers below all pretence and lays bare the yearnings and magnetism that propels personal action into the realms of the grotesque.” CityNews

“Gibson’s text is a tightly scripted prose poem, which benefited from Karla Conway’s direction, who was able to show the light and humour in this tragedy. … This hypnotising and disturbing play was well realised by a talented team.”  Stage Whispers