AN EPIC, 250-YEAR STORY TO RETURN HOME THE CAPTIVE BODILY REMAINS OF FIRST PEOPLES.

Once considered ‘exotic’ trophies of antiquity, the bodily remains of Indigenous men, women, and children served scientific theories of evolution and were prized objects displayed on mantelpieces. In the cover of darkness, grave robbers would pillage burial grounds, to sell Ancestral remains to the highest bidder under the guise of scientific research. Thousands were stolen and sold.

Today, they are still locked away.

Some are displayed in private homes, while others are hidden deep within the bowels of museums and universities. Now is the time to bring them back to Country.

Torres Strait Islander playwright John Harvey (Heart is a Wasteland) recounts a dark history of Australia in The Return, inspired by Yorta Yorta man Jason Tamiru’s experiences as a repatriation worker. Three narratives interweave—a repatriation officer, a museum curator, and a bone collector—uncovering a macabre history of false justifications in an epic tale spanning 250 years.

In his Malthouse directorial debut, Jason Tamiru joins forces with Malthouse Theatre Artistic Director Matthew Lutton for a theatrical event that will give rise to how the repatriation of Ancestors can bring us closer to homecoming and healing.

 

 

 

WARNINGS

This production contains violent imagery, strobe lighting, haze effects, controlled smoke onstage from burning eucalyptus leaves, gunshot sounds, occasional coarse language, and replica human remains. For more detailed information, see our full list of content warnings here.

"A MASTERFULLY WRITTEN DARK COMEDY... SPELLBINDING"
— Time Out
"MAKES AN IMPORTANT STATEMENT WITHOUT INHIBITION AND WITH ENORMOUS GRACE AND STYLE"
— Stage Whispers

PRODUCTION PARTNERS AND SUPPORTERS


The Return
is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. A Malthouse Theatre and RISING co-commission. PRESENTED WITH THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF / Dara Foundation, Bardas Foundation, Circle5 Foundation, Lorraine & John Bates, Canny Quine Foundation, Pinky Watson 

Campaign Image: Shortcut Creative
Production Photography: Pia Johnson

Partners

John Harvey WRITER
Jason Tamiru CO-DIRECTOR & CULTURAL CUSTODIAN
Matthew Lutton CO-DIRECTOR
Mark Pritchard Dramaturg
Zoë Atkinson SET DESIGNER
Paul Jackson LIGHTING DESIGNER
Zoë Rouse COSTUME DESIGNER
Jethro Woodward COMPOSER & SOUND DESIGNER
Jason Tamiru Traditional Vocals, Yidaki, Clapsticks
Chloe Ogilvie DESIGN CONSULTANT (SET)
Jimi Bani CAST
Ghenoa Gela CAST
Damion Hunter CAST
Angelica Lockyer Cast
Guy Simon CAST
Laila Thaker Cast
Culture Evolves CULTURAL DANCE & CEREMONY
Sean Ryan YIKI YIKI (DIDGERIDOO)
Kristel Kickett Understudy
Ari Maza Long Understudy
Lyndie Li Wan Po STAGE MANAGER
Cointha Walkeden Assistant Stage Manager
PRODUCER & COMPANY MANAGER /

Laura Hale

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY /

Lyndall Grant

Event & ticketing details

Accessibility

Wheelchair Access
Auslan Interpreted
Audio Described

Dates & Times

PREVIEWS 7pm Fri 13 May, 7pm Sat 14 May, 6.30pm Mon 16 May, 6.30pm Tue 17 May
MATINEES 2pm Sat 21 May, 2pm Sat 28 May, 2pm Sat 4 Jun
OPENING NIGHT 6.30pm, Wed 18 May
TIME TO TALK 6.30pm, Tue 24 May
AUSLAN INTERPRETED 6.30pm, Wed 25 May
AUDIO DESCRIBED 7pm, Thu 2 Jun

Location

Merlyn Theatre

The Malthouse, 113 Sturt St, Southbank 3006

Get directions

Train

Any train to Flinders Street, then a 12-minute stroll through Melbourne’s sparkling Arts Precinct.

Tram

The No. 1 South Melbourne tram goes right past our door. Get off at Stop 18. Any tram down St Kilda Road—jump off at Grant Street, Stop 17 and take a 3-minute walk.

Event notes

DURATION /

Approx. 90 minutes (no interval)

WARNINGS /

This production contains violent imagery, strobe lighting, haze effects, controlled smoke onstage from burning eucalyptus leaves, gunshot sounds, occasional coarse language, and replica human remains. For more detailed information, see our full list of content warnings here.

REPATRIATION RESOURCES /

To learn more about repatriation see here.

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