Karen Cobban has always had a love for history but became particularly intrigued after learning of the Mount Kembla mine disaster of 1902.
The professional actor had written children's plays before but decided to use the historical incident as the basis for her first foray into an adult production, 96 Candles, which will have its first rough reading to the public on Saturday at Mount Kembla Community Hall.
"I couldn't believe i hadn't heard of the event [before moving from Sydney]," she said.
"It was the largest industrial disaster, and still is to date, in Australia's history. The more I learnt about it, it had such repercussions, like it was such a huge event at the time that there were telegrams from Queen Victoria, there were condolences from Russia."
At 2:03pm on July 31, 1902, a massive explosion ripped through the No 1 shaft at Mount Kembla colliery - an force so powerful it was felt in Wollongong, some 11 kilometres away. In total 96 men and boys died as a result of the incident.
"The history of the event has faded away from the Australian consciousness," the playwright said.
Ms Cobban spent years researching the topic and begins her story with events leading up to the disaster before delving into the drama. She's based her script around real interviews and accounts given at the time.
Ms Cobban said the upcoming rehearsed performance was been made possible through a Wollongong City Council Small Cultural Grant.
96 Candleswill be performed for free on Saturday, July 27, with a Q&A post show with the playwright. To book a seat, visit: www.eventbrite.com.au