Cake Man

By Robert J. Merritt
Director Kyle J. Morrison

  • Venue Downstairs Theatre
  • Dates 14 Nov – 8 Dec 2013
  • Duration Approx 1 hour, 40 mins (no interval)

    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 


    Luke Carroll
    Oscar Redding
    George Shevtsov
    James Slee

    Tim Solly
    Irma Woods


    Production images by Heidrun Lohr

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