BlackWrights: Stories Unfolding

Gain insights into the process of writing for stage

BlackWrights: Stories Unfolding was a rare public opportunity to witness the work-in-development of four of ILBIJERRI Theatre Company’s BlackWrights Program participants, via a series of live excerpt readings and a post-reading yarn about the script development process. Audience members gained insights into what it meant to be nurtured through the creative process from story concept to first draft.

BlackWrights is ILBIJERRI Theatre Company’s writers’ and dramaturg development program aimed at bringing new First Nations work to the stages of Australia. Under the leadership of Creative Associate, Amy Sole, four playwrights have been selected to access a seed commission, one-on-one dramaturgy sessions and story-circles over 2022 and 2023.

The four successful applicants, Dalara Williams, Isobel Morphy-Walsh, Melodie Reynolds, and Jackie Sheppard, had taken part in workshop sessions that provided dramaturgical tools and theory. Over six months, ILBIJERRI provided space and practical opportunities to upskill in First Nations storytelling and playwriting practice.

Fringe Common Rooms Trades Hall
Level 1, 54 Victoria Street Carlton VIC 3053

Sun 7 May 2023, 4pm - 6pm


Isobel Morphy-Walsh
Isobel Morphy-Walsh is a proud Nirrim Baluk Bagrook (woman) from the Dhaung Wurrung (Taungurung) Nation. They come from long lines of storytellers, different mediums used by different people, but at their essence storytellers, and see themselves as the latest link in the chain of storytellers to run through Hamilton, Walsh and Morphy bloodlines.

Isobel is interested in BlackWrights for several reasons, with ideas already forming into a potential script and she is keen to experience valuable formal guidance in the story making process with industry professionals and other culturally informed First Nations practitioners.

Jackie Sheppard
Jackie Sheppard is of the Tagalaka Clan Group, of far north Queensland and lives and works on Kulin Land. They are a mixed medium performer, storyteller, dancer and workshop facilitator, and their creations are inspired by the multilayered narratives of Sovereign Peoples.

Jackie attempts to identify and interrogate Ancestral, inter-generational and meta-physical narratives that are relative to Blak-lived experiences. Focusing on somatic, spiritual and sub-conscious ‘bodies’, Jackie seeks to shed light in dark places, exploring taboo and complex topics.

Dalara Williams
Dalara Williams is a Gumbaynggirr and Wiradjuri woman, and an actor and creative based in Sydney on Gadigal country. Dalara graduated from the prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 2017. Dalara’s first written play, The Lookout was picked up by Moogahlin Theatre Company as a part of their bi-annual Writing Festival, Yellamundi Festival.

Dalara has always had strong ties to her culture and now through writing is on the journey to bring those two worlds together, showcasing the importance of our voices, language, culture and stories to the stage and screen.

Melodie Reynolds-Diarra
Melodie Reynolds-Diarra is a Wongutha Nadju woman from Western Australia. She made her acting debut at the age of 16 in No Sugar at Belvoir St and went on to graduate from the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in 1996.

Melodie’s theatre credits include multiple shows for ILBIJERRI, Sydney Theatre Company, Playbox, Malthouse Theatre, Black Swan State Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, and Red Stitch Theatre - as well as several television credits. Melodie’s first play Skylab made its world premiere in Perth as a co-production with Black Swan State Theatre and Yirra Yarkin Theatre Companies.

Presented by ILBIJERRI Theatre Company as part of YIRRAMBOI Festival 2023



Mob Tix FREE
Allies from $10

The Team

CREATIVE ASSOCIATE & CO-DIRECTOR Amy Sole CO-DIRECTOR & DRAMATURG Kirk Page WRITERS & WORKING TITLES Isobel Morphy-Walsh | Moorana Melodie Reynolds-Diarra | Juicing Sky Jelly Jackie Sheppard | The Heart Legion Dalara Williams | Big Girls Don’t Cry CAST Nelson Baker Tahlee Fereday Kristel-Lee Kickett Dalara Williams Dion Williams PRODUCERS Joel Stevens & Alexandra Paige STAGE MANAGER Lauren Bok

Supporter Acknowledgement

The BlackWrights program is supported by the Australian Government through the Indigenous Languages and Arts Program, City of Melbourne, and the Dennis Osborne Clarke Charitable Trust. BlackWrights: Stories Unfolding was supported by YIRRAMBOI, and Melbourne Fringe Common Rooms.

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