The Wantok Musik Foundation works on various theatre projects with particular focus on Indigenous Australia and Melanesia.
"Ulumbarra - Gather Together" 2015
On Friday the 17th of April 2015, a collection of strong Indigenous performers, artists and musicians gathered together in collaboration to present a new work for the Gala Opening of the Ulumbarra Theatre in Bendigo. Musically directed by acclaimed producer/musician David Bridie, this was an exciting staged theatre concert dedicated to the Dja Dja Wurrung story and song. The show consisted of entirely original music, as well as spoken word and visual components to present a celebration of the way forward together plus a strong encapsulation of past and present Dja Dja Wurrung identity and presence.
The performance featured artists Uncle Jack Charles, Emma Donovan, Kutcha Edwards, Tjimba Possum Burns, Benny Walker, James Henry, and Jessie Lloyd, with backing from James Folley and the My Friend the Chocolate Cake string section.
"Bungalow Song" 2013
"I’ve read stories of the Stolen Generation, I’ve heard the story sung… but this was something else. The Bungalow Song, part of the Mbantua Festival in Alice Springs 9-13 October, brought together people who had been stolen from their families and incarcerated in the Bungalow institution with 30 local children related to survivors to sing and tell their traumatic story in a rich and incredibly moving mix of testimony, song and visual theatre.
Set at the site of the Bungalow, just north of Alice Springs, in the open air on a warm and windy desert night, the production acknowledged the grief and trauma caused by the policy of stealing Indigenous children from the freedom and love of their families, communities and land and their life giving culture.
Using the outdoor location and darkness of night, the production projected black and white images onto the roof above the performance space – photographs of the children and communities then, of the men who enacted the policy, and letters and documents describing the inhuman legislation...
Hearing the direct testimonies, I was poleaxed by simple statements that conveyed, with such understatement and dignity, a mountain of suffering and indignity"
- Karen Prout via Social Ventures
"Behind The Cane" 2011
Composed by David Bridie and Andree Greenwell with script and lyrics by Margery Forde and Michael Forde, Behind The Cane was community-driven music theatre, commissioned specially as the signature work the 2011 Queensland Music Festival.
Co-presented by the QMF and the Whitsunday Regional Council in association with QUT Creative Industries, Behind The Cane was created with and performed by over 180 Bowen residents and told the story of the South Sea Islanders who were brought to Australia to work in the cane fields in the 19 century and the journey of their descendants through the succeeding generations, through racial discrimination and economic hardship, to the present day.
The large-scale spectacle event was performed the Sound shell on the Bowen harbour foreshore to audiences of 8,000 over 3 performances and included many of the descendants in featured roles.