The AgeThe theatrical strength of the dance and its ideas make Mathinna a benchmark in Bangarra's repertoire
Sydney Morning HeraldBangarra's young dancers are passionate, athletic, emotional, inspirational and sexy. Stephen Page, is a visionary
Sunday Herald Sun
Inspired by a young girl’s journey between two cultures, Mathinna traces the story of a young Aboriginal girl removed from her traditional like and adopted into western colonial society, only to be ultimately returned to the fragments of her original heritage. Mathinna has become the archetype of the ‘stolen child’ and, in this outstanding work, Bangarra recreates her powerful story of vulnerability and searching in an era of confusion and intolerance.
Young Mary (Mathinna) was born on Flinders Island, Tasmania in 1835 to the Chief of the Lowreenne tribe, Toweter, and his wife Wongerneep. As a young girl, Mary captured the hearts of Governor Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin and was adopted into their household at Government House in Hobart. Mathinna was raised with the Governor’s daughter Eleanor and was described as a ‘very nice, intelligent child’, an educational and charitable project.
When Governor Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin returned to England, Mathinna was sent to the Queen’s Orphan School in Hobart where she struggled to adjust. When Mathinna was sixteen she left the School to rejoin her people at an Aboriginal station at Oyster Cove, south of Hobart. At this settlement Mathinna’s life came to a disheartening end.
Bangarra’s production of Mathinna has won numerous awards including: 2009 Helpmann Awards for Best Ballet or Dance Work, Best Choreography (Stephen Page) and Best Original Score (David Page); and the 2011 Helpmann Award for Best Regional Touring Production.