The Whisper

The Whisper Artwork by Emma SalmonA deeply personal story, drawn from his own family’s experience and inspired by his grandmother, fortyfivedownstairs presents The Whisper by Wamba Wamba playwright and performer Brodie Murray, this February.

In The Whisper, a tip-off sparks a journey of Indigenous family survival, made by horse and cart under the cover of dark. Set against the racialised backdrop of 1940s Australia, a Ngarrindjeri family must make the impossible choice to leave home and country forever.

Directed by Meriam Mer Writer/Producer Maryanne Sam (Oh My God, I’m Blak!, Coconut Woman), The Whisper tells a story of courage and bravery. It reimagines the journey of one Aboriginal family striving to stay together at all
costs, in the context of the painful 20th century colonial policies of separation, child removal, and racial segregation.

“I wanted to write this play to honour family, to honour legacy, and to honour the stories of survival of people from South Eastern Australia,” says Brodie Murray, who is quickly establishing himself as one of Australia’s most exciting emerging playwrights.

Recent credits include Soul of Possum (Castlemaine State Festival, Yirramboi Arts Festival) and Billy’s Choice (Melbourne Fringe Festival), for which he was awarded the Young Creatives Award (2021), the Australia Council for the Arts First Nations Emerging Career Development Award (2022), and the Melbourne Fringe Festival’s Best Emerging Indigenous Artist Award.

In 2023, Murray received the Inaugural Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Arts Award (7NEWS Young Achiever Awards), the Mr Vic NAIDOC of the Year Award at the Victorian NAIDOC Awards, and the Hannah Barry Memorial Award. Murray was also a Youth of the Year Finalist at the 2023 National NAIDOC Awards.

This season of The Whisper follows the plays premiere at the Melbourne Fringe Festival in 2022, allowing Murray to further develop the work and to expand the audience for this powerful story.

“I felt like I wanted to shed a light on how tough it was for Aboriginal people, First Nations people, to survive. And how we as a people and as families come together to survive. And I wanted to tell this story to honour Nan and her journey,” said Murray.

The playwright will also perform in the play alongside a stellar First Nations cast: Melodie Reynolds (Is That You Ruthie?, Black is the New White); Greg Fryer (The Sapphires, Wentworth, The Circuit, Mad as Hell, Wake in Fright); and renowned choreographer and performer Balla Neba.

Director: Maryanne Sam | Featuring: Melodie Reynolds, Greg Fryer, Balla Neba, Brodie Murray | Dramaturgy: Glenn Shea, Mari Lourey, Maryanne Sam | Lighting and Sound Designer / Stage Manager: Shane Grant | Scenic Artist: Emma Salmon | Producer: Sarah James | Writer: Brodie Murray

The Whisper
fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: 16 – 25 February 2024 (preview: 15 February)
Information and Bookings:

Image: The Whisper Artwork by Emma Salmon