Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), in collaboration with Oombarra Productions, is set to unveil the world premiere of “Is That You, Ruthie?” on December 2nd at the Cremorne Theatre, directed and adapted for the stage by the acclaimed Leah Purcell. Due to overwhelming demand, the season has been extended until December 16th.
Inspired by Dr. Ruth Hegarty’s award-winning books, “Is That You, Ruthie?” and “Buthalangi: A Maranoa Woman,” the play delves into a poignant chapter of Australia’s truth-telling history. The narrative unfolds the aftermath of the government’s separation policy, which tore apart Ruth and her mother Ruby from 1930 to 1957, leaving an indelible mark on their relationship.
The gripping story reveals the heartbreaking journey of four-year-old Ruth, forced to endure the harsh conditions of Queensland’s Cherbourg Aboriginal Mission dormitory until her late teens. At age 69, Aunty Ruth decided it was time to share her story, not only for herself but for her children and dormitory sisters.
Leah Purcell, a distinguished First Nations artist, brings her skills as a playwright, director, and actress to breathe life into this deeply moving play. “Is That You, Ruthie?” narrates a tale of resilience, courage, and the enduring human spirit.
In a recent statement, Purcell emphasized the urgency of truth-telling, especially concerning First Nations issues. “As the writer and director, I am honored and deeply humbled that Aunty Ruth has entrusted me with her story. At 94 years young, she continues to inspire us to stand in our truth as we breathe life into her story on the QPAC stage,” Purcell expressed.
QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas highlighted the importance of sharing stories like Aunty Ruth’s to foster understanding and empathy for those impacted by Australia’s true history. Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch also underscored the significance of First Nations stories in supporting truth-telling and healing in Queensland.
Tickets for “Is That You, Ruthie?” are currently on sale from QPAC’s website, offering audiences a unique opportunity to engage with an essential chapter of Australia’s past through the lens of powerful storytelling.