Little Birung

Mee, Sean, Rodgers, John, & Samardin, Megan (2011) Little Birung. [Live Performance (Play)]


The field of research was contemporary indigenous theatre practice. The aim of the project was to produce theatre that remained as close and true to its source as possible, in both form and content.

Little Birung is the final part of a 6-year mentorship of young indigenous artist, Megan Samardin, conducted by renowned musician and composer, John Rodgers, producer Leah Cotterell and director Sean Mee. The culminating event of the mentorship was to develop to create an original music theatre piece, composed by John Rodgers and Megan Samardin, that featured both Megan’s prodigious talent as a singer and her family’s remarkable story. Creative development consisted of extensive interviews with family members, creative development workshops (supported by both State and Federal Government) and critique and input from leading indigenous creatives such as Wesley Enoch (artistic director, Queensland Theatre Company). The challenge was to keep faith with the family and their story whilst creating a work that would appeal to national/international producers and their audiences. The result is a song cycle of 12 original songs that presents an intensely personal exploration of 6 generations of Megan’s family down the maternal line, as told through Megan’s sometimes uneasy relationship with her great grandmother, Flora. Uniquely, each of the 12 songs presents the personal response of each of the women as they confronted the often-brutal consequences of institutionalised racism and government-imposed oppression.

The work was produced in Cairns in 2011 as part of the Cairns Festival to substantial critical acclaim and was an official event of Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair. A revised version was successfully presented at the Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane in November 2011. As a result of the Brisbane season, Little Birung has been invited to make a presentation at the 2012 APAM (Australian Performing Arts Market) in Adelaide. Importantly, the family and the indigenous community have embraced the work and have continued their fervent support. It has strengthened them as a family and as a part of the indigenous people of Australia.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 48965
Item Type: Creative Work (Live Performance (Play))
Refereed: No
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 24 Sep 2014 22:29
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2014 22:29

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