don’t ask what the bird look like

AAR-Queensland-Theatre-don't-ask-what-the-bird-look-likeA gently funny, almost gothic tale about land, family and reconnection, Queensland Theatre presents the world premiere of don’t ask what the bird look like by First Nations writer Hannah Belanszky at the Bille Brown Theatre.

Joan needs her father. She hasn’t seen him since he left her and her Mum when she was just a little girl. She wants answers, she wants history, she wants to know more about who she is.

Travelling into country as remote as it is strange to this city girl, Joan finds Mick. He doesn’t speak much, and bears little resemblance to the man who taught her to play Scrabble all those years ago.

But amid the flies, the heat, the dust and the stillness of this small river town lurk many ghosts and mysteries. Over cups of tea and Scrabble in Mick’s weather-beaten old house, Joan is about to discover some family secrets that have been hidden below the surface for decades.

“I’m so proud to be given the opportunity to share the story of don’t ask what the bird look like on a main stage like the Bille Brown Theatre. This play is about discovering culture and creating a place within ourselves for that culture to grow,” said Belanszky.

“By supporting this play, Queensland Theatre has entrusted me with the profound responsibility to contribute to the ever growing story of our state and to touch hearts and minds through the power of storytelling.”

Co-Director and Queensland Theatre Artistic Elder, Roxanne McDonald, is excited to be amplifying the voice of a young First Nations creative. “Nurturing the voices and talents of young First Nations women is not only a cultural responsibility and honour, but also a vitally important mission,” she said.

“These stories have the power to strengthen our communities and pave the way for future generations to find their voices and celebrate our heritage.”

“The story Hannah has shared in don’t ask what the bird look like is about family and reconnection. It’s something that is universally relatable, but also innately personal. It’s beautiful and I can’t wait to read everything she continues to create in her career,” said McDonald.

A finalist for the 2018-19 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award, don’t ask what the bird look like was postponed during the 2022 Season due to the floods which devastated Queensland Theatre.

The story is ready to come to life with Matilda Brown (The Sapphires) stepping into the lead role of Joan, Michael Tuahine (Country Song) playing opposite her as Mick and Shakira Clanton (Barbara and the Camp Dogs) as Pattie.

don’t ask what the bird look like is a gentle, funny, almost gothic tale about land, family and reconnection. It has such a skilled light touch of humour and philosophical undercurrent that speaks volumes for the writing talent in our state,” said Artistic Director and Co-director, Lee Lewis.

“Hannah is just one remarkable measure of the undeniable quality that our state can produce when our talent is invested in and nurtured. This story deserves to be seen.”

Discounted tickets for the First Nations community are available through MOBTIX for all performances and all are encouraged to join Hannah Belanszky and Roxanne McDonald for a Yarning Circle on Tuesday 5 September.

Co-directors: Roxanne McDonald, Lee Lewis | Featuring: Matilda Brown, Shakira Clanton, Michael Tuahine | Set and Costume: Chloe Greaves | Lighting Design: David Walters | Composer/Sound: THE SWEATS | Stage Manager: Angela Roff | Assistant Stage Manager: Tia-Hanee Cleary

don’t ask what the bird look like
Bille Brown Theatre, 78 Montague Road, South Brisbane
Season continues to 9 September 2023
Information and Bookings:

Image: Shakira Clanton, Matilda Brown and Michael Tuahine in don’t ask what the bird look like – photo by Brett Boardman