Thirty years on, the first Indigenous musical is seeing the light of a brand new day, with a fresh retelling at this year’s Sydney Festival.
Bran Nue Dae was written in 1990 and based on the life of Australian composer Jimmy Chi from Broome, Western Australia, in collaboration with his band Knuckles. It’s a compelling coming-of-age story that addresses sensitive cultural issues whilst dancing to upbeat 1960s blues and rock tunes.
This year’s production is directed by Andrew Ross and tackles hard-hitting Indigenous issues like racism and the Stolen Generation and the incarceration of First Nation people still present today. It stars original cast member, Australian actor and TV presenter Ernie Dingo, who plays the role of Uncle Tadpole he performed for stage and film.
Associate director Naomi Pigram, who was born in Broome, said she is grateful for the opportunity to bring the idea back to life for a younger generation, while guided by the legacy of her father Stephen Pigram, who toured Knuckles around Australia, and casting her sister Ngaire Pigram as the character Aunty Theresa.