The Happy Prince


War is over.

To celebrate, the Mayor, Lady Mayoress and Councillors reveal the statue of the Happy Prince.

As winter approaches, the Swallow family flies south to catch the sun; but the Little Swallow, infatuated with Rita, a fickle Reed, decides to stay, only to be dumped for a dragonfly!

The Little Swallow flies to find his family. But the night is stormy, and he is forced to take shelter at the foot of a golden statue. Here he meets his opposite: the wise soul of the Happy Prince.

The Prince shows Swallow the palace of his childhood, where sadness was not allowed to enter, and soon Swallow begins to see the disparity between rich and poor. At the Prince’s bidding he agrees to stay a while and distribute the Prince’s jewels to a widowed Seamstress and her sick child, a struggling Artist and a little Match Girl.

At the Prince’s command the Swallow shares the statue’s gold leaf between the city’s poor.

The Prince and the Swallow develop a true friendship built on love and sacrifice. Sacrifice takes its toll: the Prince is left blind and grey and broken-hearted as his beloved Swallow succumbs to winter’s cruelty.

However, in another life of heavenly light and warmth, The Happy Prince and the Little Swallow are forever united.


Based on the story by Oscar Wilde
Adapted by Kim Carpenter and Graeme Murphy
Choreography Graeme Murphy
Creative Associate Janet Vernon
Composer Christopher Gordon
Set and costume design Kim Carpenter
Lighting design Damien Cooper
Projection design Fabian Astore

With Queensland Symphony Orchestra

The Happy Prince is kindly supported by The Robert and Elizabeth Albert Music Fund, The Dame Margaret Scott Fund for Choreographers and a generous Queensland patron.

We thank Kim Carpenter’s Theatre of Image for supporting the creation of The Happy Prince.