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Stage show celebrates King of Cairns’ granddaughter

Madelaine Dickie -

A stage show celebrating the life of Australia's first Indigenous United Nations' worker, traditional owner and Yidinji elder Henrietta Marrie, will feature at this year's giant Woodford Folk Festival on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Jute Theatre Company's production of Bukal was last week announced as part of the program for the festival which runs from December 27 to January 1 at the town of Woodford, 72kms north of Brisbane.

Jute chief executive officer and artistic director Suellen Maunder said Woodford would be a chance to perform the show for a national and international audience.

"Woodford Folk Festival has become iconic nationally and internationally and when they approached us to secure a season of Bukal this year we were excited for Jute and all of the creative team and our supporters who worked so hard to bring this work to an audience," she said.

"We are thrilled that the incredible story of Henrietta Marrie (Fourmile) will reach a national and international audience."

The show is directed by Andrea James and its cast includes Maurial Spearim, Alexis West and Cairns born actor, Taeg Twist. Each of the actors play Ms Marrie.

The show tells the story of a young Indigenous woman, the granddaughter of the King of Cairns, who used education to unlock her place on the world stage after a humble childhood growing up in the coastal Aboriginal mission of Yarrabah.

Jute Indigenous creative producer Yvette Walker said Bukal was about a social justice warrior.

"Each year Woodford attracts festival goers in their hundreds of thousands," she said.

"These people are interested in the arts and culture and being immersed in new and different experiences. We could not think of a better audience for Bukal and spreading the Jute-word."

"Bukal is the imagining of social justice warrior, traditional owner, elder, mother and internationally recognised academic Henrietta Marrie, which via the pen of Andrea James and an exceptional cast, is realised on stage."

Bukal had a season in Cairns in July and has also toured Queensland's far north.

The program for Woodford will be announced later this month.

By Wendy Caccetta

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