A Kimberley story that speaks to everyone
In 2005 the Black Swan State Theatre Company commissioned Bunuba Films (Now BCE) to adapt the existing film script as a work for theatre. Writer Steve Hawke had been working with the Bunuba people on developing the story as a film script since 1994. We knew the shape and the themes of the story we wanted to tell, but shaping this as a work for the stage was a new challenge.
Mona is a senior Bunuba woman with a passion for her first language. She has worked extensively with the Kimberley Language Resource Centre and with younger members of her community on Bunuba interpreting, translation and dictionary projects. Mona was the main informant and authority in the translation of the Bunuba elements of the play.
Patsy was born and bred in Fitzroy Crossing, where she grew up speaking Bunuba as her first language. After a long career in the state public service, Patsy joined the Kimberley Language Resource Centre, working in Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek on a wide range of projects across a number of languages. But her major project, nearing completion, has been to compile a comprehensive Bunuba dictionary.
June is a prominent community leader in the Kimberley. Holder of a Business degree from Notre Dame University, she is a director of Bunuba Films, the CEO of Marninwarntikura Women's Resource Centre in Fitzroy Crossing, and the Chairperson of the Kimberley Language Resource Centre, amongst other positions. She is also a leader in a long term social reconstruction plan for the people of the Fitzroy Valley that involves restrictions on alcohol sales in Fitzroy. June has been involved in the Jandamarra project since the 1980s, and despite her hectic schedule, has never wavered in her commitment and input.
Selina was born in Fitzroy Crossing, and has spoken Bunuba all her life. She has worked with Patsy and others on the dictionary project and other Bunuba language publications. She first worked on the Jandamarra project as a young woman in the 1980s, and has been a director of Bunuba Films since 2006. She worked as the Local Co-ordinator for Bunuba Films during the most critical phase of the play's development, including the translation and dialogue recordings.
Kaylene is a young single mother living in Fitzroy Crossing who emerged from nowhere to assume a crucial role in the play's design. She had previously contributed artwork to Thangani Bunuba, a collection of Bunuba stories. Her talent and intrinsic understanding of the animated image were spotted at an art workshop run by Black Swan and Bunuba Films in March 2007. She worked with designer Zoe Atkinson and animator Clancie Shorter to create the animations which are a core component of the play. Her father Harry Marr (dec.) was a founding member of Bunuba Productions Aboriginal Corporation.
George is a senior Bunuba man and community leader from Bungardi Community. He is a lawman, a singer and a dancer, and in his day, a great horseman and stockman. George's traditional singing is an integral part of the performance.
Danny is a musician, having led country rock band Fitzroy Xpress since its formation in the 1980s, touring widely, and releasing a number of albums. His classic ballad about the Bunuba people, Raining on the Rocks, was recorded as a duet with Paul Kelly in 1996. He is the chairman and a director of Bunuba Films, and is also on the board of Yaranggi Cattle Company which operates the Leopold and Fairfield pastoral leases on Bunuba country. His father Johnny Marr was a senior elder who played a key role in Bunuba Productions and Bunuba Films. Danny plays the role of Dibinarra.
Emmanuel got a taste for acting when he took part in a silent recreation for a documentary about Jandamarra in the ABC's Rewind series. He was one of the most enthusiastic participants in the acting workshop held in Fitzroy Crossing in 2007, and from there, was selected for an intensive ten day training program in Perth. He played the role of Ilaji in the premiere season, then went on to complete the Indigenous acting course at the WA Academy of Performing Arts.
Kevin came through the same workshop and training program as Emmanuel Brown. He appeared in a variety of roles in the premiere season, and also went on to complete the Indigenous acting course at the WA Academy of Performing Arts. In the 2011 season he will play the role of Darudi and other parts.