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Platform Papers 30
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Platform Papers 30

INDIG-CURIOUS: Who can play Aboriginal roles?

Jane Harrison
Australia’s first Indigenous writer, David Unaipon (1872–1967) made a commitment to sharing his stories with non-Aboriginal people. Did he hope that they would be valued as part of our country’s cultural expression? Since his time Aboriginal myths and stories have been widely adopted and adapted, often without reference to their origins or history. Homer and Shakespeare are no longer around to defend their work, but Aboriginal people are alive and outspoken about how they are depicted on the page, stage and on the screen. How, if ever, asks Muruwari playwright Jane Harrison, can Aboriginal themes be ‘used’ by others in a way that is acceptable to Aboriginal people? How can non-Aboriginals learn to interpret themes, and indeed, what are Aboriginal themes? Who can give permission and who refuse? What about our shared experiences and common history, do we not all have the rights to that? Harrison treads her way through the challenging issues of exploitation, referencing, literary fraud, blacked-up actors and community ownership. Sharing our history and stories is essential, she writes, for the health of Aboriginal culture. But first we must acknowledge who is in control. 

Listen to Jane Harrison's interview on the Radio National AWAYE! Program HERE

Currency House | 978-0-98079-829-6 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
$20.90 ex GST
$22.99 inc GST


Jane Harrison
Stolen tells of five young Aboriginal children forcibly removed from their parents, brought up in a repressive children’s home and trained for domestic service and other menial jobs. Segregated from society from their earliest years, not all of them successfully manage their lives when released into the outside world.

The pain, poignancy and sheer desperation of their lives is seen through the children’s own eyes as they struggle to make sense of a world where they have been told to forget their families, their homes and their language. This tender and moving story, awash with childlike humour, brings the tragic history of the Stolen Generations to the Australian stage.

Features an introduction by Wesley Enoch on directing the first production of Stolen.


     eBook available from

Cast : 2M, 3F
Currency Press | 978-0-86819-797-5 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB