will play two roles in a revival of Strangers in Between, the Australian classic that depicts the highs and lows of growing up gay in rural Australia.
The 35-year-old may be an international celebrity now, but his rise to the top wasn’t linear. The all-time great athlete, and native Aussie, experienced many trials and tribulations, even as he reached the apex of his sport.A post shared by Matthew Mitcham OAM (@matthewmitcham88)A post shared by Matthew Mitcham OAM (@matthewmitcham88)A post shared by Matthew Mitcham OAM (@matthewmitcham88)The play, an instant hit when it debuted in 2016, follows the journey of a young man who flees his rural hometown for Sydney, where he’s finally free to live his true life.
The protagonist, Shane, befriends an older gay man and meets a casual lover. Lost and confused, he relies on his chosen family for support.
While Mitcham grew up in Brisbane–a city of 2.28 million–his childhood wasn’t easy. His mother battled mental health issues, and he felt ostracized in a heteronormative world.Mitcham was so uncomfortable with his homosexuality, he physically tried to suppress his feelings for men.“I was so scared of it that I would actually tie a rubber band around my wrist, and every time I had a gay thought I would snap it, to try and associate pain and suffering with the gay thought.