Bundjalung Nghari – Indigenise
“Storytelling has never been so compelling”
Bundjalung Nghari (meaning: story) is a theatrical reading of a collection of stories, poems and essays, penned by First Nations Writers. Five Bundjalung writers, Steven Oliver, Melissa Lucashenko, Daniel Browning, Kylie Caldwell and Ella Noah Bancroft, explore the healing and resurgence of being back home on country. We are still here, with the same voice and language of our ancestors, Bundjalung Nghari – Indigenise enables a new amplification of the continued truth-telling in the 21st century.
“Passionate poetry, storytelling, book-reading and stream-of-consciousness…a glimpse of the past, the present and hopefully a better future: A better future embracing ‘truth telling’ and bearing witness, through NORPA’s production of Bundjalung Nghari – Indigenise. Listening to the five stories presented to us on Saturday evening, I’m sure most of the audience came away with more hope, more ‘truth’ and more inspiration than we might have felt in a very long time.”
Director and Performer Rhoda Roberts
Writer Melissa Lucashenko
Writer Kylie Caldwell
Writer and Performer Steven Oliver
Writer and Performer Daniel Browning
Writer and Performer Ella Noah Bancroft
Performer Billy McPherson
Performer Sarah Roberts-Field
Performer Tom Davies
Senior Producer Letila Mitchell
Producer Paris Mordecai
Production Manager Karl Johnson
Stage Manager Michael Weir
Melissa Lucashenko is a Goorie author of Bundjalung and European heritage. Her first novel, Steam Pigs, was published in 1997 and since then her work has received acclaim in many literary awards. Too Much Lip is her sixth novel and won the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance. It was also shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Stella Prize, two Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, two Queensland Literary Awards and two NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Melissa is a Walkley Award winner for her non-fiction, and a founding member of human rights organisation Sisters Inside. She writes about ordinary Australians and the extraordinary lives they lead.
Photo | LaVonne Bobongie
Kylie is an experimental Bundjalung emerging writer and inter-disciplinary artist based in Northern Rivers, NSW. Her writings and art explore themes that reverberate around her. Her attentions lie in reviving and pursuing traditional cultural practices and values whilst delving deeper into present-day issues and themes interconnected to her interests and lived familiarities. In 2020 Kylie participated in a First Nations Writers / Illustrators Residential Retreat; reigniting, connecting and encouraging the writer in Kylie to venture out.
Steven Oliver is a descendant of the Kuku-Yalanji, Waanyi, Gangalidda, Woppaburra, Bundjalung and Biripi peoples. He has worked with numerous theatre companies, festivals and arts organisations across Australia but became notorious with ABC’s Logie/AACTA nominated sketch comedy show Black Comedy as a writer/actor/associate producer. Other ABC Film/TV roles include Tiger Cops for Iview and A Very Sexy Xmas. He is co-creator/writer/presenter for Indigenous Arts Quiz Show Faboriginal as well as the documentary Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky (SBS/NITV). His poetry is published in both national and international poetry journals such as Ora Nui, Australian Poetry Journal, Solid Air and Firefront. His plays Proppa Solid (Jute Theatre) and From Darkness (La Boite Theatre) are also published (Playlab) with both plays receiving audience and critical acclaim.
Photo | Kelly Gardner. Noble Savage Pictures
Daniel Browning is an Aboriginal journalist, radio broadcaster, sound artist and writer. His paternal Bundjalung family is from Fingal on the mouth of the Tweed River, and he grew up there and across the river in South Tweed and later Cabarita. His mother’s family is from south-eastern and south-western Queensland, extending from Yugambeh country north to Kabi Kabi country and west to Kullilli country. Currently, he is the ABC’s Editor of Indigenous Radio, overseeing the flagship programs Awaye! and Speaking Out. Daniel also presents The Art Show on ABC Radio National, the specialist arts and journalism network. A visual arts graduate, Daniel is also a widely published freelance writer on the arts and culture. He is a former guest editor of Artlink Indigenous, an occasional series of the quarterly Australian contemporary arts journal and is the inaugural curator of Blak Box, an award-winning, architect-designed sound pavilion commissioned by UTP, the multiform arts organisation based in western Sydney.
Photo | Kelly Gardner. Noble Savage Pictures
Ella Noah Bancroft
Ella Noah Bancroft a descendent of the peoples of the Bundjalung nation and has bloodlines to England, Poland and Scotland. Indigenous change-maker, artist, storyteller, mentor and founder of “The Returning” and Yhi Collective, Ella Noah Bancroft is active advocate for The Decolonisation movement. Through her writing and work Ella has been promoting re-wilding, the return of the black matriarchy, a remembering to deep relationship nature and decolonizing of personal, social and ecological well-being for 10 years. A current theme she has been exploring in her current world is “It takes cour
Photo | Charlotte Wighton
Rhoda Roberts AO
Rhoda Roberts AO is a significant force on the Australian art scene. A member of the Bundjalung nation, Widjabul/Wia:bul clan of Northern NSW and South East QLD, Rhoda is the former Head of First Nations Programming for the Sydney Opera House, is Festival Director of the Boomerang Festival/Bluesfest, Festival Curator of the Parrtjima Festival (NT) and Creative Director First Nations at NORPA. With a diverse range of international and national industry experience within commercial, community and non-profit organisations, Rhoda is a practising weaver, and a sought-after speaker, writer and performer in theatre, film, television and radio.
Photo | ABC Arts: Anna Kucera
A Kamilaroi and Kooma man from south-west Queensland, Billy is an actor and playwright living in Sydney. Billy’s recent screen work includes roles in The Twelve (Foxtel), RFDS (Nine Network) and Frayed (ABC). Other television roles include Thalu (NITV), Black Comedy, Redfern Now, My Place, Dead Heart and Heartland (ABC). Billy’s theatre credits include most recently, Cutter and Coota for Moogahlin Performing Arts, Boomkak Panto for Belvoi Theatre, Yellamundie Festival 2021 at Carriageworks, and The Black Drop Effect (Sydney Festival 2020).
Photo | Tree Faerie
Sarah Roberts–Field is a Bundjalung Woman belonging to the Widjabul/Wieybal clan group. She commenced working in the creative industries at the age of 16 years, while a student at Maclean High School and completing work experience with the Northern Rivers Performing arts ( NORPA) . This has led to the involvement in the theatre production Three Brothers, assisting with the photographing, documenting and collecting and compiling research for the production over a period of two years. Three Brothers was under the Artistic Direction of Julian Louise with Creatives the late David Page and Kirk Page. In July 2018, Sarah performed in the NORPA multi-disciplinary production A Horses Mouth Director Kirk Page, with Victoria Hunt and Jade Dewi, performing several roles. In 2016 Sarah performed alongside Shari Sebbens and Richard Franklin in play readings, Conversations with the Dead as part of the Blues / Boomerang Festival at Byron Bay for the Talks and Ideas program. She has performed at the Cultural Opening events as a dancer for Boomerang Festival, The Dreaming Festival and Homeground at the Sydney Opera House. Currently Sarah is looking at developing her craft and continues to attend auditions and castings and is signed to the acting agency BGM.
Photo | Sarah Roberts-Field
Tom Davies has trained at Ecole Philippe Gaulier and John Bolton Theatre School.As an actor and deviser, Tom has worked with artists and theatre companies including John Bolton (What A Joy To Be Alive), Nicola Gunn (Green Screen), Peter Fraser and Barry Laing (Together), Tamara Saulwick (Public), Born in a Taxi (ZZ Radio), De Quincey Co (Run, Dictionary of Atmospheres, FIVE), Yumi Umiumare and Tony Yap (In-compatibility), Complete Works (The Crucible, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet) and Melbourne Theatre Company (Metamorphoses). Tom also teaches drama in the Northern Rivers and Gold Coast and recently performed in Mr Bailey’s Minder at The Drill Hall Theatre.
Photo | Art Work Agency
Letila Mitchell is a Rotuman performing artist from Fiji, and currently undertaking her Doctor of Creative Industries at QUT. Letila is the Managing and Artistic Director of Rako, a multi-disciplinary artist and designer collective. She is Former Director of the Fiji Arts Council, Founder and Secretary General for the Pacific Arts Alliance, and Member of the Commonwealth Group for Culture and Development. Letila has trained and worked as an arts manager, producer and project manager, and as a practicing artist in the Pacific region for the past 17 years. She has gained experience and education working internationally in London, the US, Australia and New Zealand. She has worked extensively in the Pacific arts and cultural sector, and trade and tourism, both at community and government level. Her current consultancy and development work focuses on cultural entrepreneurship, arts education, arts for social change, and developing Pacific models for environmental and cultural sustainability through the creative industries.
Karl has worked with NORPA since 2001 and has 30 years experience in lighting design and production management. Credits include Company B, Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Urban Theatre Projects, Powerhouse Youth Theatre, Lismore Lantern Parade and collaborations with many artists such as Noel Tovey, Deborah Leiser-Moore and Michael Hennessy.
Photo | Kate Holmes
BLEACH* 2022– presented by NORPA and BLEACH*
Byron Writers Festival 2022 – presented by NORPA in association with Byron Writers Festival
Bundjalung Nghari – Indigenise was developed with the support of the Koori Mail, the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the NSW Government through Create NSW.
Slideshow Images | Art Work Agency