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21° & PARTLY CLOUDY ON SUNDAY 20 OCTOBER IN SYDNEY
By Zacha Rosen
July 20, 2011
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Windmill Baby

This Patrick White award-winner returns to the Belvoir to shock and charm.
By Zacha Rosen
July 20, 2011
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Renowned actor and playwright Ningali Lawford (Rabbit Proof Fence) grew up on a cattle station, daughter of the head stockman and hearing her grandparents' stories of the 1950s. Aboriginal cattle-station workers of the fifties worked in what their own government's 'Chief Protector' had described as "semi-slavery" not too long before. When the stockmen won the right to equal wages in 1968, a lot of station owners reacted to their new obligations by firing most of their workers. Belvoir are about to restage Windmill Baby, a show steeped in the era, and starring Sapphires alumnus Roxanne McDonald.

Windmill Baby was the first script by indigenous authors to win the Patrick White award. Lawford worked with playwright David Milroy to bring the era to life, humour and horror intact. Its protagonist returns to the cattle station where she'd worked as a domestic in the fifties, half a century before. In the intimate space of the downstairs theatre, McDonald will bring that distant era to life with stories of what had happened, who was loved and what went wrong. The lives in this play were harsh, the conditions equally so. But listening to Roxanne McDonald tell stories for an evening will be anything but a chore.

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