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Straight from the Strait
28 - 31 August 2024

Performance Straight from the Strait World Premiere at Brisbane Festival 2024                                

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A Torres Strait Island Musical

On 8 May 1968, a group of remarkable Torres Strait Islander workers on the vast expanse of the Mount Newman railway construction project shattered a world record as they laid down an astonishing 7km of track in a single day, an unparalleled feat that still stands unchallenged. At the heart of their extraordinary achievement is the power of song – songs that are unique to Australia, that tell a passionate and inspiring story.

Straight from the Strait pays homage to the stories of these Torres Strait Islander men and women who ventured far from their homes in pursuit of employment on the mainland. Amid the gruelling labour, they discovered a sense of camaraderie that transcended boundaries. Their sweat and toil laid the foundation for Australia’s emergence as an industrial nation.

This production reverberates with the power of song, a harmonious fusion of traditional Torres Strait music and contemporary melodies. Through the vibrant ancestral languages of Meriam Mir, Kala Lagaw Ya and Torres Strait Creole combined with English and the backbeat of a contemporary band, it tells a tale that pulses with passion and inspiration.

Developed through collaboration and consultation with the Yumpla Nerkep Foundation and Torres Strait Islander artists, Elders, and communities, this project is led by a team of First Nations creatives, performers, musicians, and cultural advisors.

We acknowledge the many Torres Strait Islander families and artists who have generously contributed to this project.

Performed in Meriam Mir, Kala Lagaw Ya, Torres Strait Creole and English with English surtitles. Approximately 2 hr 20min including interval

CAST (Alphabetical)
Cleopatra Pryce
Edward Lampton
Georgia Corowa
Gertrude Benjamin
Ghenoa Gela
Harold Pascoe
Jalen Sutcliffe
Joseph Tapau
Kani Puru
Marcus Corowa
Maurice Sailor
Paul Isakara Williams
Vaughan Wapau
Zane Lemusu
Zeek Power

Writer/Co-Librettist Norah Bagiri
Composer/Co-Librettist Rubina Kimiia
Director Nadine McDonald-Dowd
Choreographer Rita Pryce
Assistant Choreographer Cleopatra Pryce
Set Design Kevin O’Brien
Costume & Assistant Set Designer Zoe Rouse

Cultural Advisors
Ruth Ghee, Tony Ghee (Eastern Islands), George Bagiri, Norah Bagiri (Western & Central Islands)

This project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body, and the Torres Strait Regional Authority.

Opening Night
Wednesday, August 28 2024 7:00 pm
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Thursday, August 29 2024 7:00 pm
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Complimentary Pre-performance Talk
Friday, August 30 2024 7:00 pm
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Auslan Interpreted Complimentary Pre-performance Talk
Saturday, August 31 2024 1:30 pm
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Audio Description Available Complimentary Pre-performance Talk
7.30 Report
Straight from the Strait

“These Torres Strait Islanders were the ‘living legends’ of WA’s mining boom and their story is now being told in a new musical”

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Straight from the Strait “Songlines Tour”
Straight from the Strait

In August 2022, the team from Straight from the Strait embarked on a Songlines Tour that included Cairns, Thursday Island and Logan to share, professionally record, and translate traditional songs from the Western and Eastern Torres Straight Islands.

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Straight from the Strait

Creative development of the show

Developed through collaboration and consultation with Torres Strait Island Artists, Elders and Community, this project is led by a team of First Nations creatives, performers, musicians and cultural advisors.

Discover more

Our partners

Presented by
  • Yumpla Nerkep Foundation
  • Queensland Performing Arts Centre
In Association with
  • Brisbane Festival

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