A co-production with Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company.
Back in the early 1970s a group of pioneering Indigenous theatremakers occupied a dilapidated terrace in Redfern and started the National Black Theatre. The first full-length play they staged was Robert J. Merritt’s The Cake Man. A droll examination of white paternalism from a black point of view, Merritt’s play kicked off a renaissance of art and performance that laid the foundations of contemporary Indigenous theatre.
The Cake Man is at once straightforward and complex. It is about the small details of life in a changing world. Jumping effortlessly from a pre-invasion idyll to the hard scrabble of modern life on a mission in western New South Wales, Merritt’s virtuosic play pings with closely observed portraits of people doing what they have to do to get by. Tucked away inside it is an account of the roots of despair and of the beautiful means of overcoming it.
Kyle J. Morrison is from the new generation of Black theatre. He is the Artistic Director of Perth’s Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company. We are teaming up with this great little powerhouse of new and old Indigenous stories to give this forgotten gem its overdue revival.
Robert J. Merritt watched his first opening night under police guard: he was an inmate of Long Bay at the time. The Cake Man is his real testimony.
By Robert J. Merritt
Director Kyle J. Morrison
Set & Costume Designer Stephen Curtis
Lighting Designer Jenny Vila
Composer & Sound Designer Wayne Freer
Stage Manager Sue Wilkes
Production images by Heidrun Lohr