'One hundred years ago, in 1914, a bullet from an assassin’s gun in Sarajevo sparked a war that ignited the globe. Patriotic young men all over the world lined up to join the fight – including hundreds of Indigenous Australians.
Shunned and downtrodden in their own country – and in fact banned by their own government from serving in the military – Aboriginal men stepped up to enlist. Undaunted, these bold souls took up arms to defend the free world in its time of greatest need. For them, facing the horror of war on a Gallipoli beach was an escape from the shackles of racism at home, at a time when Aboriginal people stood by, segregated, unable to vote, unable to act as their children were ripped from them. When the survivors came back from the war, there was no heroes’ welcome – just a shrug, and a return to drudgery and oppression.
Black Diggers is the story of these men – a story of honour and sacrifice that has been covered up and almost forgotten.
Directed by Wesley Enoch and written by Tom Wright, Black Diggers is the culmination of painstaking research into the lives and deaths of the thousand or so Indigenous soldiers who fought for the British Commonwealth in World War I.
Grand in scale and scope, it draws from in-depth interviews with the families of black Diggers who heard the call to arms from all over Australia, as well as conversations with veterans, historians and academics. Young men will step from the blank pages of history to share their compelling stories – and after the curtain falls, we will finally remember them.' (Source: QPAC 'What's On', September 2014)
Produced by Sydney Festival & Queensland Theatre Company in association with the Balnaves Foundation.
World premiere at the Sydney Festival January 2014
Director: Wesley Enoch.
Set Designer: Stephen Curtis
Costume Designer: Ruby Langton-Batty
Lighting Designer: Ben Hughes
Composer/Sound Designer: Tony Brumpton
Dramaturg: Louise Gough
Cultural Consultant: George Bostock
Researcher: David Williams
Black Diggers Indigenous Reference Group
Uncle Harry Allie
Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver AM
Dr Jackie Huggins AM FAHA
Pastor Ray Minniecon
'Aboriginal soldiers' stories are finally being told...'