Photos by Charles Zuber
Stradbroke Dreamtime, adapted from the book by celebrated poet, author and artist Oodgeroo of the tribe Nunukul, is a tale of a place not far from home — that transports audiences to the oldest living culture on earth. In this newly created work from QPAC and QLD Theatre Company, Oodgeroo’s stories come to life on stage, connecting audiences with her tales of growing up on Stradbroke Island.
In keeping with this year’s LINES theme — Nature First — Stradbroke Dreaming celebrates First Peoples’ embedded presence within Nature and spiritual stewardship of the land and water. Stradbroke Dreaming brings to the stage not only the strength of Oodgeroo’s vision, but also invites the audience to experience firsthand how Nunnukal and Quandamooka peoples cherish and nurture their relationship with Nature. This relationship has fueled the 15-year struggle that saw the Queensland government return stewardship of Stradbroke and neighboring islands to the Nunnukul and Quandamooka as Traditional Owners on July 4, 2011. The future resilience of the Nunnukal and Quandamooka cultures, the passion for place which is integral to Australian identity, and the preservation of the natural environment for all peoples rest upon this organic synergy with and respect for “Nature First.”
LINES in the SAND has offered a fantastic opportunity to stage Stradbroke Dreaming with one performance on Macleay Island, and three on Stradbroke with the final performance culminating in a closing ceremony of song and dance at the North Stradbroke Historical Museum. The performances bring together young people, their parents and grandparents, those visitors new to aboriginal culture, as well as members of the islands’ aboriginal communities who know Oodgeroo’s stories and honour these tales as integral to their heritage.
Minjerriba – North Stradbroke Island – is the home of Oodgeroo and where her descendants and community live. Our children need to know about the stories, recent history and culture from this place. Stories communicate how we see ourselves and our history – and history helps to shape the values, beliefs and future we build for our children. At this present moment in time, it is so important for us to celebrate a strong connection to Nature, to family, and to preserving our love for community as the foundations for healthy and productive lives.