It’s been a huge two months of rehearsing and touring Hipbone Sticking Out and the Murru Concert, and we’re now back home in Roebourne catching up with family and everyone who wants to know how it all went ‘down south’!
We’ve had the privilege of sharing our work with many people starting with the beautiful outdoor performance at the Roebourne amphitheatre to launch Stage 1 of the new Ngurin Pilbara Aboriginal Centre in mid-September, then on to the week-long season in Perth at the Heath Ledger Theatre, and finally our two weeks in Melbourne as part of their International Arts Festival.
The Murru Concert: 10 Songs of Freedom for John Pat launched the Festival on a beautiful Melbourne spring evening to a packed Federation Square, with wonderful performances from Lucky Oceans, Emma Donovan, John Bennett, Harry Hookey, Josie Alec and Roy Evans, supported by Wendy Matthews, Jae Laffer (the Panics) and the cast of Hipbone Sticking Out, all performed against a stunning backdrop of imagery from Roebourne and the Pilbara animated by Benjamin Ducroz.
Although all the songs of Murru are enormously heartfelt compositions, it was the Concert’s finale that will linger long in the hearts and minds of all that were there to witness Archie Roach’s emotional and heartbreaking performance of ‘John Pat’ (from his album Journey) as Masie Pat (John’s sister), and the rest of the Murru Band stood behind in silent reverence.
For the next two weeks, the Yijala Yala Project and Big hART took the Festival by storm presenting panel discussions, screenings, artist talks, Masterclasses and a knock-out season of Hipbone at the Arts Centre, all to a generous, open-hearted, supportive Melbourne audience who were captured by this resilient little town on the other side of the country whose tragic story they never knew.
One of the biggest compliments about Hipbone came from the Festival’s Artistic Director Josephine Ridge, who, when reflecting on the completion and success of the 2014 Festival, said: “Since the show opened, on a daily basis people are coming up to me and wanting to talk about it because it was dealing with incredibly important issues … and doing so in a very impactful and poignant way. It was an enormously important work and quite central to the entire program.”
It’s difficult to encompass the pride and gratitude we feel for our hardworking cast and crew, the open hearts of the audiences, the support of the Melbourne Festival and the wonderful media coverage, so we will just say a huge thank you to everyone who has made our tour so great – it has been a truly incredible experience taking stories from Roebourne on the road.