BLACK COCKATOO On Tour

Following its critically acclaimed success at the 2020 Sydney Festival, Ensemble Theatre’s production of BLACK COCKATOO by Geoffrey Atherden is hitting the road. Touring 10 March – 31 May, don’t miss this landmark play about Australia’s first international sporting team.

Overview

Over 150 years ago, 13 brave Aboriginal men in Western Victoria picked up their cricket bats and embarked on a treacherous voyage to England and into the unknown – all in the name of sport. Risking illness and persecution, Australia’s first international cricket team – including Australia’s first Indigenous sporting hero, Johnny Mullagh – amazed the English crowds with astonishing talent, personality and grit. They should have returned to Australia as celebrated heroes. Instead they came back to find the world they once knew was no longer there.

This is not just a story about cricket – this is story of strength, resistance, hope and possibility. When a group of young present-day activists sneak into the Wimmera Discovery Centre to expose the truth of what happened to Johnny and his team mates, a hidden legend of triumph and tragedy unfolds. Funny and incredibly moving, BLACK COCKATOO is a new artistic collaboration between iconic Australian writer Geoffrey Atherden (MOTHER AND SON, BABAKIUERIA) and former Sydney Festival Artistic Director Wesley Enoch (BLACK DIGGERS).

Venues & Dates

Theatre Royal, Hobart | 10 – 11 Mar

Frankston Arts Centre | 15 Mar

Clocktower, Moonee Ponds | 17 Mar

Bunjil Place, Narre Warren | 19 Mar

Geelong Arts Centre | 22 – 26 Mar

Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo | 29 Mar

Horsham Town Hall | 31 Mar

Harrow Discovery Centre | 2 Apr

Wangaratta Performing Arts & Convention Centre | 5 Apr

Logan Entertainment Centre | 7 Apr

Brisbane Powerhouse | 8 – 9 Apr

HOTA Home of the Arts, Surfers Paradise | 12 Apr

Mackay Entertainment & Convention Centre | 14 Apr

Pilbeam Theatre | 20 Apr

Glasshouse, Port Macquarie | 23 Apr

Capitol Theatre, Tamworth | 26 Apr

Orange Civic Theatre | 28 Apr

Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre | 30 Apr

Grifith Regional Theatre | 3 May

Cessnock Performing Arts Centre | 7 May

Glen St Theatre, Belrose | 11 – 15 May

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The Art House, Wyong | 18 – 19 May

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Civic Theatre, Newcastle | 21 – 22 May

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Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre | 25 May

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Zenith Theatre & Convention Centre, Chatswood | 31 May

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Cast & Creatives
Acknowledgment from the Barengi Gadjin Land Council

The first touring cricket team to tour England in 1868.

The First XI Aboriginal players are the original trailblazers for self-determination, putting on displays of traditional culture, showing resilience and creating pathways for all First Nation peoples.

Ensemble Theatre has the respect and admiration of the Board of Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation for their careful and respectful story of our ancestors who travelled to England in 1868.

Thank you to the Kennedys descendants and families of Yanggendyinanyuk, also known as Dick-a-Dick, who shared their oral stories and commitment to creating BLACK COCKATOO.

Dedication to Neil Balnaves AO

The 2022 tour of BLACK COCKATOO is dedicated to Neil Balnaves AO. Neil was a champion for the creative community and especially passionate about supporting First Nations artists and stories. His generous support of BLACK COCKATOO was instrumental to the development and success of this landmark Australian play.  

Neil’s vision to create a better Australia through education, medicine and the arts will continue through the philanthropic work of The Balnaves Foundation.  

Reviews

★★★★”This amazing Australian story rings with authenticity, humour and quirky compassion” Stage Noise

★★★★ “A vibrant, fascinating and challenging production” ArtsHub

“A tale of triumph, racism, exploitation, illness, culture clash and truth” ABC News

“A sincere and tender proclamation, paying tribute to Indigenous identities past and present” Suzy Goes See

“Commendably and sensitively asks difficult questions… entertaining and informative” Audrey Journal

★★★★ “Ripe with emotion, wit, and reflection” State of the Art

★★★★ “A captivating and inspiring story that reverberates today” ArtsHub

“A wonderful balance of educating and entertaining… hard hitting honesty and delightful comedy” Broadway World

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