Sunday, November 07, 2010


Welcome everyone to my Australian Indigenous Theatre blog. A space created for information, links and conversations to do with Contemporary Indigenous Theatre in Australia. Please feel free to add comments, to start a conversation or just explore. I will create links to further sites for reading on and about Indigenous theatre, culture, history and society. I hope you find this an informative site. Start a conversation today. Or if you have any information you want posted just drop me a line in the comment basket

(Banna Hankin & Jie Pittman in EPHEMERA-The Reconciliation Monologues 2004).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Brian Syron

Check out my cousin's page on Uncle Brian;

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Brian Syron as Sweet William in The Cakeman (1982).
If any one has any stories, experiences or information on Brian Syron and his involvement in theatre both in Australia and overseas please make comments on the post below. Check out the dawn article which will give you more information on where and where he was throughout his life.

Sunday, April 05, 2009



Wednesday, November 07, 2007

EPHEMERA in New York City

EPHEMERA-The Reconciliation Monologues written by the Eora College (Redfern Sydney) 2004 theatre graduates and Liza-Mare Syron, was invited to the 2007 World Indigenous Festival in New York City. A reading of the production took place at the famous La Mama Theatre and at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. For more information check out their web site;

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

PROFILE: Kevin Gilbert

Kevin Gilbert was born in Condobolin, New South Wales in 1933, of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi peoples. He left school after fifth grade at age fourteen, and worked in itinerant seasonal jobs. In 1957 Gilbert was sentenced to life imprisonment after a domestic dispute in which his wife was killed. During the fourteen years that he spent in some of the worst jails in Australia he strove to educate himself, honing his artistic talents to become a prominent poet, playwright, printmaker (Gilbert was Australia's first recognised Aboriginal printmaker) and photographer. Gilbert wrote the play The Cherry Pickers in 1968 and first exhibited his work in 1970 at the Arts Council Gallery, Sydney, in an exhibition organised by the Australia Council. He was granted parole in 1971. Gilbert was instrumental in the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy opposite Old Parliament House, Canberra the following year, and wrote Because a White Man'll Never Do It in 1973. His book Living Black: Blacks Talk to Kevin Gilbert (1977) was awarded the National Book Council Book Award in 1978.
For more information visit:

Tuesday, August 30, 2005



(Taken from Creating Frames, Contemporary Indigenous Theatre in Australia.
Maryrose Casey. University of Queensland Press)
1968 Gilbert, Kevin. The Cherry Pickers. Burrambinga Books, 1988.

1971 Gilbert, Kevin. Evening of Fear. Mews Theatre Sydney.
Gilbert, Kevin. The God’s look Down. Wayside Theatre. Sydney.

1972 Jack Charles is up and Fighting. Nindethana Theatre. Melbourne.
Maza, Bob and Gary Foley Basically Black. National Black Theatre & Nimrod Theatre. Sydney.

1973 Davis, Jack. Steel and the Stone. Bunbury Arts Festival. Western Australia.
Williams, Harry. Mission Urban Identity. Nindethana Theatre. Melbourne.

1975 Davis Jack. The Biter Bit Black Theatre Arts Center Redfern.
Merritt, Robert. The Cake Man. Black Theatre Arts Center. Redfern. Currency Press, 1978.

1976 Gerry Bostock. Here Comes the Niggar. Black Theatre Arts Center. Redfern.

1977 Read, Bill. Truganinni. Heinemann Publishers. 1977.

1978 Shearer ,Jill. The Forman. Currency Press. 1978.

1979 Davis, Jack. Kullark. National Theatre Company WA. Currency Press, 1983.
Hewitt, Dorothy. The Man from Mukinupin. Currency Press. 1979.

1981 Keneally, Thomas. Bullies House. Currency Press. 1981.

1982 Davis, Jack The Dreamers. Swan River Stage Company. Currency Press, 1983.
Romerill, John. Bastardy. Yackandandah Publishers. 1982.

1983 Everett, Jim Put Your Boots. Salamanca Theatre. Hobart.

Maris, Hyllus, Sonia Borg. Women of the Sun. Currency Press. 1983.
Merritt, Robert Short Changed.

1984 Johnson, Eva Tjindarella. First National Aboriginal Women’s Art Festival. Adelaide.
Johnson, Eva. Onward to Glory.

1985 Davis, Jack. The Honey Pot. Melbourne Next Wave Festival. Currency Press, 1986.
Davis, Jack. No Sugar. Perth Playhouse Company. Currency Press. 1986.

1986 Maza, Bob. Mereki. Toe Truck Theatre.Sydney.
Strachan, Tony. State of Shock. Currency Press. 1986.

1987 Walley, Richard. Coordah. Western Australian Theatre Company.
Fransis, Gordon. Gods Best Country. Currency Press. 1987.
Motherwell, Phill. Steal Away Home. Currency Press. 1987.
Walker, Vivian. No Trouble. Universal Theatre. Melbourne.

1988 Foran, Barney. Come Hell or High Water.
Johnson, Eva. Murras. Belvoir Street Theatre. Sydney
Maza, Bob. The Keepers. Belvoir Street Theatre. Sydney
Mooney, Ray. Black Rabbit. Currency Press.1988.
Nowra, Louis. Capricornia. Currency Press. 1988.
Walker, Vivian. Kadi. Expo. Brisbane.

1989 Bennett, Roger. Up the Ladder. Darwin Theatre Company.
Davis, Jack. Moorlie and the Leprecorns. Marli Biyol Company. Perth. Currency Press 1994.
Johnson, Eva. Mimini’s Voices. Magpie Theatre Company. Adelaide.
Kelly, Ray. Get up and Dance. Freewheels Theatre. Newcastle.

1990 Bennell, Eddie. The Silent Years. Deckchair Theatre Company. Perth.
Chi, Jimmy and Kuckles. Bran Nue Day. Octagon Theatre. Perth. Currency Press & Magdabala Books 1991.
Davis Jack. Rainmaker. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. Perth.
Harding, John. Not just Bricks and Mortar. Ilbierri Theatre Company. Melbourne.
Johnson, Eva. What do they call me?. National Lesbian Festival. Melbourne. Australian Gay and Lesbian Plays. Currency Press. 1996.
McCarthy, Steve, Cheryl Buchanan. Jalalu Jala: Land Law and Lies. Street arts. Melbourne.
Weller, Archie. Nidjera. Melbourne Workers Theatre.

1991 Manning, Ned. Close to the Bone. Eora Centre for Visual and Performing Arts. Sydney. Currency Press 1994.
Narogen, Mudrooroo, Heiner Muller. Aboriginal Demonstrators Confront the Declaration of the Australian Republic on the 26th January 2001 with the Production of Deruftag by Heiner Muller. Belvior Street Theatre. Sydney. University Press. 1993.
Cragie, Cathie. Koori Love. Belvoir Street Theatre. Sydney.

1992. Bennell, Eddy. My Spiritual Dreaming. Deackchair Production. Perth.
Davis, Jack. Wahngin. Back Swan Theatre. Perth.
Davis, Jack. In Our Town. Currency Press. 1992.
Johnson, Eva. Two Bob in the Quid. Junctions Theatre. Adelaide.
Morgan, Sally. Sister Girl. Black Swan Theatre Company. Perth.
Watson, Maureen. Through Murri Eyes. Street arts. Brisbane.
Walley, Richard. Balaan, Balan Gwdha. Up Front Community Theatre. Playhouse. Canberra.

1993. Early, Eric. The Custodians. Currency Press. 1993.
Johnson, Eva. Heart Beat of the Earth. Second World Indigenous Youth Conference. Darwin.
Smith, Michael. Ingle Knight. Wicked. Aboriginal Youth Theatre. Perth.
Murray, Peta. One Woman’s Song. Queensland Theatre Company.
Nowra, Louis. Radiance. Currency Press. 1993.
Summons, John. Massacre at Myall Creek. Cambridge University press.

1994 Collie, Therese, Cathie Craige. Murri Time. KITE Theatre. Brisbane.
Lawford, Ningali Robyn Archer, Angela Chaplin. Ningali. Deck Chair Theatre. Fremantle WA
Lee, Gary. Keep Him my Heart. Darwin.
Nowra Louis. Crow. Currency Press. 1994.
Pell, Kelton. Bidenjarreb Pinjarra. Actors Center. Perth.
Shea, Glen. Food for Thought. Ilbijerri Theatre Company. Melbourne.
Parsons, Nick. Dead Heart. Currency Press. 1994.
Enoch, Wesley. Deborah Mailman. The 7 Stages of Grieving. La Boite Theatre. Brisbane. Currency Press. 1997.

1995 Bennett, Roger. Funerals and Circuses. Currency Press. 1995.
Everet, Jim Changing Time. SalamancaTheatre Company. Hobart.
Morgan, Sally The Flying Emu. Polygot Puppet Theatre. Melbourne.
Morgan, Sally Sally’s Story-Our Story. Come Out Festival. Brisbane.
Sam, Maryanne, Patricia Cornelius. Oh My God I‘m Black. Melbourne Workers Theatre.

1996 Chi, Jimmy. Corrugation Road. BlackSwan Theatre. Perth.
Janson, Julie. Black Mary. Aboriginal Studies Press. 1996.
Kelly, Ray. Somewhere in the Darkness. Sydney Theatre Company.
Lewis, Tom E, Mac Gudgeon. Thumbul. Gasworks Theatre Melbourne.
Morris, Mary. Shark Island Stories. Griffin Theatre Company. Sydney Festival.

1997 Close, Jo-Ann. Runamuck. Yirra Yaakin Noogar Theatre. Perth.
Cheetham, Deborah. White Baptist Abba Fan. Olympic Arts Festival. Sydney.
Love, Owen. Black Genius. Main Street Theatre. SA.
Koorie Klowns. Oogadee Boogadee. Melbourne Workers Theatre.
Purcell, Leah, Scott Rankin. Box the Pony. Olympic Arts Festival. Sydney.
Sketchley, Maudie. Head Space. Artrage. Perth.
Bovell, Andrew, Milissa Reeves, Patricia Cornelius and Christos Tsiolkas. Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?. Melbourne Workers Theatre.

1998 Graham, Trevor. Mabo. Life of an Island Man. Currency Press. 1998.
Harrison, Jane. Stolen. Currency Press. 1998.
2000 Enoch, Wesley. The Sunshine Club. Sydney Theatre Company.
Winmar, Dallas. Aliwa. Currency Press. 2002.

2001 Anderson, Tammy. I Don’t Wanna Play House.
Bovell, Andrew. Holy Day. Currency Press. 2001.

2002 Frankland, Richard J. Conversations with the Dead. In Black Inside Currency Press. 2002.
Harding, John. Enuf In Black Inside Currency Press. 2002.
Milroy, Jadah. Crow Fire. In Black Inside Currency Press. 2002.
Purcell, Leah. Black Chicks Talking. Sydney Festival. Sydney Opera House.
Rigney, Tracey. Belonging. In Black Inside Currency Press. 2002.
Sam, Maryanne. Casting Doubts. In Black Inside Currency Press. 2002.

Australian Indigenous Theatre Companies

Yirra Yaakin Noongar Theatre
Yirra Yaakin Noongar Theatre [Yir-raarh Yaarh-kin Noong-aarh] is Australia’s leading Aboriginal theatre experience. More than a theatre company, Yirra Yaakin is the response to the Aboriginal Community’s need for positive self-enhancement through artistic expression.
Established in 1993, Yirra Yaakin Noongar Theatre Aboriginal Corporation opened its doors with one successful funding application and three staff members. As the company grew, so did the commitment towards developing Aboriginal people in all aspects of theatre. A decade later, Yirra Yaakin Noongar Theatre is both a world-class theatre company and a leader in community development. (Photo Ningali Lawford)

Kooemba Jdarra
Contemporary Indigenous Theatre, resonating the uniqueness of the Indigenous Australian voice and culture. Based in Brisbane, Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts produces contemporary performances that present the stories of Indigenous Australians throughout Australia and Internationally.
The company was incorporated in 1993, the International Year of Indigenous People, and maintains a strong commitment to professionalism and excellence in the arts.
Kooemba Jdarra is a not-for-profit organisation that receives core funding through Department of Communications Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA), Australia Council and Arts Queensland. Kooemba Jadarra is proud to acknowledge the support of ENERGEX who, by way of an ongoing cash and in-kind sponsorship, recognise Kooemba Jdarra’s value to the community. Kooemba also receives ongoing support from the Indigenous community.

Ilbijirri is the longest running Indigenous Theatre organisation in Australia and the only one in Victoria. Formed by Indigenous Theatre practitioners and community members, Ilbijirr exists to provide a voice for Indigenous stories and support the professional development of Indigenous Theatre practioners through the creation of innovative Indigenous Theatre

Nindethana Theatre
In 1972, a group of Aboriginal people (who were involved in the Aboriginal Advancement League) created the Nindethana Theatre in Melbourne. The ensemble produced a version of The Cherry Pickers by Kevin Gilbert, recognised as the first Aboriginal play.

Relevant Articles

The Future in Black and White Aboriginality in Recent Australian Drama
By Katharine Brisbane, AM, Hon.D.Litt. Publisher of Currency Press.