Uncle Jack Charles is an Australian legend: veteran actor, Koori elder, activist and, until recently, heroin addict and cat-burglar. This is a show about his life – told by him.

Rachael Maza Long – Artistic Director of Melbourne’s Ilbijerri Theatre Company – has reunited Charles with his longtime collaborator playwright John Romeril. Together they are crafting a telling of Charles’s extraordinary story.

From Stolen Generation to Koori theatre in the 70s, from film sets to Her Majesty’s prisons, Jack Charles v the Crown runs the gamut of a life lived to its utmost. Charles’s unswerving optimism transforms this tale of addiction, crime and doing time into a kind of vagabond’s progress – a map of the traps of dispossession and a guide to reaching the age of grey-haired wisdom.

This fleet-footed, light-fingered one-man show is a theatrical delight and a celebration of Australia’s dogged refusal to give up on getting on.


Jack Charles


Writers Jack Charles & John Romeril Director Rachael Maza Dramaturg John Romeril Set & Costume Designer Emily Barrie Lighting Designer Danny Pettingill Musical Director Nigel Maclean Audio Visual Designer Peter Worland Production & Stage Manager Suzie Franke


There is something special about Uncle Jack. Something about his voice, his stature, his laugh, his story – something powerful but humbling. It was that something that richoted people to their feet to give the man a standing ovation. It is most certainly, something that you won’t want to miss.

Dione Joseph | Australian Stage

Jack Charles v the Crown is a tribute to an indigenous star, and an inspiring journey of resilience and reconnection.

Cameron Woodhead | The Age

It’s a story about hope and understanding told with heart and cheekiness. It’s Jack’s story, and now it’s ours.

Sometimes Melbourne