Jute Theatre Company in association with CQUniversity will present the little known, albeit remarkable story of traditional owner and Elder of Cairns, Henrietta Marrie (nee Fourmile) in stage production, Bukal; celebrating its world premiere on Tuesday 10 July as part of Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF).
Written and directed by Andrea James and featuring the talented cast of Maurial Spearim, Alexis West and Cairns born actor, Taeg Twist (each actor plays Ms Marrie at a different time in her life), Bukal is an inspiring story of a young Indigenous woman, the granddaughter of the King of Cairns, who used education to unlock her place on the world stage after a humble childhood growing up in the coastal Aboriginal mission of Yarrabah.
Notably, Henrietta is Australia’s first Indigenous member of the United Nations who in 2014, etched a place in the 100 Women of Influence Award recognising her work in Public Policy at the United Nations University. Added to this she is highly regarded for efforts driving positive change impacting Indigenous laws and legislation in the area of copyright, ownership, bio-diversity and intellectual property. Just this month, Ms Marrie, currently Associate Professor, Office of Indigenous Engagement at the Cairns campus of Central Queensland University received a Queensland Greats award which follows being honoured with a Member of the Order of Australia in January 2018.
According to Jute Theatre Company’s CEO and Artistic Director, Suellen Maunder, the production title, Bukal is Henrietta Marrie’s language name connecting her to country and to the black lawyer vine entangling tropical rainforests but used by Aboriginal people for many practical purposes.
“Most importantly this is a story about a courageous Yidinji woman, who set her sights on changing the world, travels from the Australian rainforest to Geneva and will stop at nothing to ensure what has been stolen is returned to its rightful place. And just like the spirit name that her grandfather spoke over the sacred fire, Bukal, Henrietta navigates her way around the obstacles blocking her path.
“Bukal is the imagining of social justice warrior, traditional owner, elder, mother and internationally recognised academic Henrietta Marrie that through the pen of Andrea James and an exceptional cast, is realised on stage,” Ms Maunder said.
Bukal is the second iteration of Jute Theatre Company’s Dare to Dream touring production following the award-winning success of Proppa Solid which engaged all-age, all-inclusive audiences from the remotest parts of Far North Queensland in 2016-2017.
After wrapping its Cairns season (6-14 July 2018) Bukal will immediately commence its nine-week tour of the Far North on 16 July incorporating five-day workshops with performance outcomes starting in Mossman before travelling to Bloomfield, Kowanyama, Pormpuraaw, Weipa, Mapoon, Lockhart and Hopevale.
Cast & Crew
Director: Andrea James
Concept Director: Rhoda Roberts
Creative Producer: Yvette Walker
Dramaturge: Peter Matheson
Designer: Simona Cosentini& Simone Tesorieri
Lighting Designer: Jason Glenwright
Composer and Sound Designer: THE SWEATS
Technical Advisor: Sam Gibb
Stage Manager: Ruth Maloney
Cultural Consultation: Carl Fourmile
Featuring: Maurial Spearim, Alexis West & Taeg Twist