Tiddas by Anita Heiss La Boite Theatre
Minister for Communities and Housing, Minister for Digital Economy and Minister for the Arts, the Honourable Leeanne Enoch MP; La Boite Theatre Chairman, Mr Julian Myers and Artistic Director, Ms Courtney Stewart; Brisbane Festival Artistic Director, Ms Louise Bezzina and CEO, Mr Charlie Cush; Chief Executive of QPAC, Mr John Kotzas AM; Playwright, Dr Anita Heiss AM; Director, Ms Nadine McDonald-Dowd; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I would also like to begin by acknowledging the original owners of the lands around Brisbane, and their continuing connection to land, waters and communities. I pay my respect to Elders past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to all First Nations people here with us today.
Graeme and I are thrilled to be here this evening to attend the opening night of this highly anticipated stage-adaptation of proud Wiradjuri woman, Dr Anita Heiss AM’s, much-loved novel, Tiddas.
Since hosting a Reception in support of the Brisbane Festival at Government House three weeks ago, we have been eagerly awaiting tonight – being our first official Festival event.
As Governor, and Patron of Brisbane Festival, I am so in awe of all the talented artists and creatives involved in bringing this truly exceptional international arts festival to fruition. You continue to pave Queensland’s path towards being recognised as global Arts powerhouse, and there is no doubt we are now shining brilliantly under the world’s spotlight.
What better way to celebrate our wonderful City than with tonight’s opening night performance and world premiere of Tiddas, so fondly described as a ‘love letter to Brisbane’. I was particularly admiring the purple carpet on the way in – reminiscent of the jacarandas that will soon erupt, covering our City in a sea of purple rain as we venture further into Spring.
For those of us lucky enough to live here, it is heart-warming to see the beauty of our city, and the people who call it home, brought to life on stage by such a talented director, cast and crew, bolstered by the powerhouse storytelling of Dr Anita Heiss.
How fitting that today is also Indigenous Literacy Day, with Anita being a Lifetime Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and a passionate advocate for improving literacy in our First Nations communities – an area I am also deeply committed to as Governor.
Anita’s storytelling in Tiddas, along with the invaluable work she does with Indigenous children in remote communities helping them to tell their own stories, plays such a critical role in fostering greater understanding of our First Nations people and their unique experiences. It was wonderful to see Anita’s significant contribution in this space recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List this year, with her appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia.
I thank and applaud everyone involved in tonight’s performance, particularly Director Nadine McDonald-Dowd who began collaborating with Anita back in January 2020 to adapt Tiddas from the page to the stage as part of La Boite’s Artist-in-Residence program.
I also commend the Brisbane Festival, QPAC and La Boite Theatre for their vision and support in bringing this Boldly Brisbane story to the world.
Finally, to the talented homegrown cast, and band of sisters who will soon regale us with stories of their secret lives … Chookas!
Graeme and I thank you for the invitation to attend and wish you all a wonderful evening.