by Geoffrey Atherton AM


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by Geoffrey Atherton AM

Inspired by the true story of legendary First Nations cricketer Jonny Mullagh and Australia’s first ever international sporting team, this is not just about cricket. This is a story of strength, resistance, hope and possibility.

Over 150 years ago, 13 brave Aboriginal men in Western Victoria picked up their cricket bats and embarked on a treacherous voyage to England and into the unknown – all in the name of sport. Risking illness and persecution, Australia’s first international cricket team – including Indigenous sporting hero Johnny Mullagh – amazed the English crowds with astonishing talent, personality and grit. They should have returned to Australia as celebrated heroes. Instead they came back to find the world they once knew was no longer there.

When a group of young present-day activists sneak into the Wimmera Discovery Centre to expose the truth of what happened to Johnny and his team mates, a hidden legend of triumph and tragedy unfolds. Funny and incredibly moving, Black Cockatoo is a new artistic collaboration between iconic Australian writer Geoffrey Atherden (Mother and Son, Babakiueria) and Sydney Festival Artistic Director Wesley Enoch (Black Diggers).

Black Cockatoo was first produced by Ensemble Theatre in association with Sydney Festival and premiered at Ensemble Theatre 4 January – 8 February 2020.


Black Cockatoo was part of Australian Plays' Sydney Festival 2020 Collection

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