Black Swan Theatre Company and INPEX have announced a major new business arts partnership agreement for Black Swan’s 2008 season. INPEX will be the production sponsor of Jandamarra, written by Steve Hawke and directed by Tom Gutteridge. Black Swan will present the play’s world premiere in February, with Jandamarra being one of the centrepieces of the 2008 Perth International Arts Festival.

Jandamarra is the story of one of Australia’s great tragic heroes. Jandamarra, a Bunuba man from the Fitzroy Crossing area of Western Australia’s Kimberley region, grew up just as the first pastoralists were settling his native lands. His tumultuous life, lived on the jagged edge of change and uncertainty, saw him transform from station child, to police tracker of his own people and finally to inspirational leader of the most successful Indigenous resistance against white settlement.

This epic and passionate production by Black Swan Theatre Company, with Bunuba Films and the Perth International Arts Festival, brings this important and moving story to Perth audiences in three languages. Playwright and long-term Kimberley identity Steve Hawke has worked with Bunuba and Kriol translators on a story that belongs to the Bunuba people of the Kimberley, but speaks to everyone.

Sean Kildare, INPEX Group Manager External Affairs commented, “INPEX is very pleased to be able to support this production and be involved in this significant work of Indigenous theatre”.

“The Jandamarra story will also showcase the Kimberley region, a community that we are strongly committed to as our plans to build an LNG plant progress.”

The financial support provided by INPEX for Jandamarra will assist Black Swan in staging this complex world premiere production. The development of the play Jandamarra commenced in 2004, with the Bunuba community being involved throughout: in the translation process, consulting on cultural questions, leading language and cultural immersion workshops for non-Bunuba Indigenous actors and providing the artistic input for the animation component of the play. With a brilliant cast, vast set, animated projections and inventive sound design, Jandamarra promises to be a truly memorable world premiere of a uniquely West Australian story.

Jandamarra will be showing at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre, Pavilion 6, between 9 and 23 February 2008.

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