U.S. Debut of JACK CHARLES, Grandfather of Australian Indigenous Theater in Award-Winning Solo Show, March 22-25
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 06:13 pm EDT 03/13/17


Grandfather of Australian Indigenous Theater, Recovering Addict and Survivor of Racist Government Policy Makes U.S. Debut In Award-Winning Solo Show

Performance Space 122 and New York Live Arts present an
ILBIJERRI Theater Company production of
Jack Charles V The Crown (U.S. Premiere)
Co-written and performed by Jack Charles
Co-written and dramaturgy by John Romeril
Directed by Rachael Maza
Toured by Performing Lines

New York Live Arts (219 West 19th Street, Manhattan)
March 22-24 at 7:30pm, March 25 at 2pm, 7:30pm
Tickets start at $15/$20; ps122; 212.352.3101
75 minutes with no intermission

“Steeped in decades of our history (social, political, theatrical), surprisingly upbeat and very attractively packaged… Jack Charles v the Crown makes for a warm-hearted, very entertaining evening.” – Jason Blake, Sydney Morning Herald, 2011

Performance Space 122 and New York Live Arts present the U.S. premiere of Jack Charles V The Crown by award-winning indigenous Australian actor, musician, and activist Jack Charles, who spent a significant portion of his 72 years homeless, an addict, a thief and a regular throughout the Australian prison system. These performances mark the U.S. debut of “the grandfather of Indigenous theatre,” (The Guardian). After New York, Jack Charles V The Crown will run March 29–April 8 at Canada Stage in Toronto.

Jack Charles V The Crown tells the true story of a life lived to its utmost – from film sets to prisons to 1970’s Koori theater to the Stolen Generation of Australia’s indigenous children. Charles’ unswerving optimism transforms a tale of addiction, crime and prison time into the story of a vagabond’s progress. It is a map of the traps of dispossession, and a guide to reaching the age of grey-haired wisdom.

A respected Aboriginal elder who founded Nindethana, the first Aboriginal theatre company, Charles is one of Australia’s most highly regarded performers. No longer caught in the cycle of addiction, and the prison system, Charles sings and tells his unforgettable tale with extraordinary flair. Accompanied by a three-piece band, this one-man show celebrates a nearly forgotten Australian treasure from one of Australia’s leading and longest running Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander theater company.

Performances of Jack Charles V The Crown will take place March 22–25 (see above schedule) at New York Live Arts (219 West 19th Street, Manhattan) Tickets start at $15/$20 and available online at ps122.org and by phone at 212.352.3101.

About the Artists

Uncle Jack Charles (co-writer, performer) has a career that spans almost six decades.Heco-founded the first Aboriginal theatre company Nindethana in 1972 and has performed with the cream of Australia’s actors, directors and writers including Geoffrey Rush, Neil Armfield, John Romeril and Tracey Moffatt. Jack Charles V The Crown (ILBIJERRI Theatre Company), the production he co-wrote and performed in, has toured Australia in 2013 and internationally at London’s Barbican in early 2014. Jack’s work has spanned feature films, TV series and hundreds of plays including The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Bedevil, Ben Hall and The Marriage of Figaro. Jack was the subject of Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s award-winning documentary Bastardy, and was awarded the prestigious Tudawali Award at the Message Sticks Festival in 2009, honouring his lifetime contribution to Indigenous media. His most recent work includes Warner Bros “PAN” and Wolf Creek 3. Uncle Jack was the recipient of the Green Room Awards 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award and Victorian Senior Australian of the Year.

Born in 1945, John Romeril (co-writer, dramaturge) began writing plays in the late 1960s while a student at Monash University. He was a founding member of the Australian Performing Group at the Pram Factory during the 1970s, writing nearly 40 plays for them. They included the greatly acclaimed The Floating World, which earned him the Literature Board’s inaugural Canada-Australia Award in 1975. He is also remembered for other works from the 1970s, such as Marvellous Melbourne, The Dudders and The Accidental Poke. Romeril’s recent works include the script for the film One Night the Moon and the stage plays Miss Tanaka and Love Suicides. One Night the Moon, a 2001 Australian music drama, gained both cinema and television release. Miss Tanaka, based on a short story by Xavier Herbert, was the writer’s last major play in Melbourne. He transplanted its setting from Darwin to Broome as a salute to Noriko Nishimoto, the Perth-based Japanese puppeteer who was a key collaborator on the script. Other recent work has been as dramaturg for Kamarra Bell-Wyke’s Chopped Liver and Body Armour, plays with themes of Hepatitis C produced by ILBIJERRI Theatre Company. After touring Aboriginal health centres, community centres and prisons in regional Victoria and South Australia in 2009 it has been touring other states. Over a 40-year career as a dramatist, John has produced nearly 80 works for stage, film and television, including satirical, musical and humorous drama. His theatrical approach retains an improvisational element, is collaborative in style and is responsive to a wide range of social issues. In the 1980s and 1990s his involvement in live theatre concentrated on musical drama with History of Australia: the Musical, Jonah, Legends and The Kelly Dance among his significant works. John’s work has been consistently performed at all levels of theatre: state, company, community and educational. His plays have also been translated and performed in Japan, Vietnam, Italy and elsewhere.

Rachael Maza (director) brings with her a wealth of acting, directing, dramaturgical experience and profile as well as a strong commitment and passion to further ILBIJERRI’s vision of creating an Indigenous brand of theatre that resonates with local, national and international audiences.

Rachael is well known throughout both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities as a presenter on ABCs Messagestick, for her performance in the film Radiance and as an acting coach for the film Rabbit Proof Fence. She performed in the highly acclaimed production of The Sapphires, and has played numerous roles from Narrator to Board Member for the Black Arm Band.

Rachael has a long history with ILBIJERRI Theatre Company. Her first role was directing several seasons of STOLEN, working as a dramaturge and director on the Victorian Indigenous Playwrights Conference and has worked extensively in the industry as a Director, Dramaturge and Actor. Rachael received the 2003 Uncle Bob Maza Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Indigenous Theatre at the Victorian Indigenous Performing Arts (VIPA) Awards.

Since coming on board as Artistic Director in 2008, her ILBIJERRI directing credits include: CHOPPED LIVER, JACK CHARLES V THE CROWN, FOLEY, WHICH WAY HOME and a co-devisor and performer in BEAUTIFUL ONE DAY.

About ILBIJERRI Theatre Company

ILBIJERRI is Australia’s leading and longest running Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre Company.We create challenging and inspiring theatre creatively controlled by Indigenous artists. Our stories are provocative and affecting and give voice to our unique cultures. Each year we travel to national, regional and remote locations across Australia and the world.

Born from community, ILBIJERRI has become a spearhead for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in telling our stories of what it means to be Indigenous in Australia today. Our work possesses the power to reach out and remind audiences of every person’s need for family, history and heritage.

Our collaborative relationships with communities and artists are at the heart of our creative process and all our work empowers and enlightens our audiences. For more information, visit www.ilbijerri.com.au.

About New York Live Arts

Located in the heart of Chelsea in New York City, New York Live Arts is an internationally recognized destination for innovative movement-based artistry offering audiences access to art and artists notable for their conceptual rigor, formal experimentation and active engagement with the social, political and cultural currents of our times.

At the center of its identity is Artistic Director Bill T. Jones, world-renowned choreographer, dancer, theater director and writer. New York Live Arts serves as home base for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and is the company’s sole producer, providing support and the environment to originate innovative and challenging new work. New York Live Arts produces and presents dance, music and theater performances in its 20,000 square foot home, which includes a 184-seat theater and two 1,200 square foot studios that can be combined into one large studio. New York Live Arts offers an extensive range of participatory programs for adults and young people and supports the continuing professional development of artists and commissions. www.newyorklivearts.org

Funding Credits

Jack Charles V The Crown is co-presented by Performance Space 122 and New York Live Arts with support from the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, Barragga Bay Fund, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State Legislature, and was co-curated by Performance Space 122 and the City of Melbourne’s Arts House. ILBIJERRI acknowledges the assistance of the Australian Government, through the Indigenous Arts & Languages Program, the Catalyst program, the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria; the City of Melbourne and Performing Lines.

About Performance Space 122

Performance Space 122 (PS122) provides incomparable experiences for audiences by presenting and commissioning artists whose work challenges boundaries of live performance. PS122 is dedicated to supporting the creative risks taken by artists from diverse genres, cultures and perspectives. We are an innovative local, national and international leader in contemporary performance.

Beginning in 2011, PS122 embarked on one of the most unusual and potentially radical shifts in its history, including a re-structuring of artist support, a business model overhaul, and the renovation of our building. As PS122’s East Village home undergoes a much-needed interior renovation supported primarily by the City of New York, DCA and DDC, PS122’s core activity continues to be providing audiences with contemporary live performance.

For over 3 decades, Performance Space 122 has been a hub for contemporary performance and an active member of the cultural community. PS122 has developed a set of programs designed to re-establish the value of live performance, provide singular experiences for audiences that inspire critical thinking, and sustain the creative process for artists throughout their career. Largely in partnership with peer organizations, PS122 currently presents artists in all disciplines in spaces all over the city during an annual fall & spring season and the Coil festival in January.

In addition to the commissioning and presenting of artists from NYC across the US, and around the globe, PS122 has increased our activity off the stage to provide audiences with a variety of access points and context for the work on stage. These activities include both talkbacks with the artists as well as in depth conversations that bring together luminaries from non-arts disciplines to discuss a variety of topics including everything from religion, to migration, to queer real estate and cultural diplomacy. PS122 encourages the asking of questions and debate of contemporary society’s issues in both artistic practice and audience experience.

Website: ps122.org

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