Ian Michael to direct bold new production of Jane Harrison’s seminal Australian play Stolen

STC Kartanya Maynard to star in Stolen photo by Rene VaileFollowing his award-winning Sydney Theatre Company directorial debut with Constellations, STC Resident Director and Wilman Noongar man Ian Michael will helm a bold new production of Jane Harrison’s Stolen, playing the Wharf Theatre from 6 June 2024.

With a heart-rending script that slips seamlessly between the past and present, Stolen tells the stories of Jimmy, Ruby, Shirley, Sandy, and Anne: five members of the Stolen Generations whose lives are irrevocably altered by their experiences in a social and political system that sought to erase their cultural identity.

Nunga actor Kartanya Maynard (Netflix’s Heartbreak High, Amazon Prime’s Deadloch) stars alongside an incredible cast featuring Waanyi, Djiru, Kuku Yalanji and Yidinji actor Jarron Andy, Wongatha actor Mathew Cooper, Truwulway and Martu actor Stephanie Somerville and Gamilaroi actor Megan Wilding in this seminal Australian play based on real-life testimonies of the Stolen Generations.

Director Ian Michael reflected on the continuing relevance of the work and how it resonates with him today: “There is not one First Nations person of any generation in this country who has grown up unaffected by the government policies to forcibly remove children from their families,” he said.

“As the child of a man who was taken in the early 70s, I feel a deep responsibility to honour the truth, pain, tenderness, humour and injustice contained within Jane Harrison’s timeless script. Stolen is a beacon of what Aboriginal storytelling has been and can be, and the impact this play has had on the Australian cultural landscape cannot be overestimated.”

“It is my privilege to be working with this exceptional cast and creative team to share the real-life stories of our families and communities with new audiences in 2024,” said Micahel.

Muruwari playwright Jane Harrison (The Visitors) first penned the vital text in 1998 and it soon became an essential record of Australian history taught in schools around the country. Over 25 years on, Stolen continues to shine a galvanizing light on the ongoing injustices faced by First Nations people.

Five adults stand in a darkened room, their childhoods playing out across the walls like shadows. Five suitcases in their hands, each filled with painful memories and forgotten histories. Five beds, perfectly made and ready to receive five children who have been torn away from their families. Five lives, stolen.

Director: Ian Michael | Featuring: Jarron Andy, Mathew Cooper, Kartanya Maynard, Stephanie Somerville, Megan Wilding | Designer: Renée Mulder | Lighting Designer: Trent Suidgeest | Composer & Sound Designer: James Brown | Movement Director: Danielle Micich | Fight Director: Tim Dashwood |  Assistant Director: Megan Sampson | Playwright: Jane Harrison

Wharf 1 Theatre – Wharf 4/5, 15 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay (Sydney)
Season: 11 June – 6 July 2024 (previews: 6 – 10 June )
Information and Bookings: www.sydneytheatre.com.au

Image: Kartanya Maynard to star in Stolen – photo by Rene Vaile