BLACK TIES brings ‘blackest wedding ever’ to Sydney Festival 2020

Black Ties Sydney Festival

BLACK TIES brings ‘blackest wedding ever’ to Sydney Festival 2020

Featured image by Garth Oriander

“You’re invited to the wedding reception of Māori woman Hera and Aboriginal man Kane, two ambitious and deeply in love career-hotshots who have their perfect day flawlessly mapped out. But there’s one thing Hera and Kane can’t control…their families.”

Coming to the beautiful stage at Sydney Town Hall, BLACK TIES is a celebration of the ‘blackest wedding ever’, but not without the twists, turns and scrambles that come with a huge family event like this one.

BLACK TIES was co-directed by Rachael Maza, a Yidinji woman from North Queensland and artistic director of ILBIJERRI Theatre company. Bringing together her culture and love of theatre, Rachael, Aotearoa’s Te Rēhia Theatre, and the team made up entirely of First Nations people, have created a work that is sure to leave audiences grinning from ear to ear.

To learn more, check out the CulturalPulse Q&A with Rachael Maza below!

How was the concept for BLACK TIES formed? Is it based on a true story?
Black Ties – came about when our two companies ILBIJERRI and Te Rēhia decided we wanted to make a show together: two First Nation-lead theatre companies. This in itself was something we were both very exciting about doing.  The concept of a wedding between a Maori woman and an Aboriginal man, came about as the most logical scenario to talk about the coming together of our two cultures. We both wanted to make a work that was fun: full of comedy and music, the kind of show you know your Aunty or Nan would enjoy so much they’d want to come again.  The characters and the scenario are fictitious, but drawn from all out personal experiences of family and community.  The characters will be very familiar to the mob.

Why do you think it’s important to bring a showcase a romcom from a First Nations perspective?
Whether it’s important or not for anyone else – It was important for us to be able to tell this story in which we see ourselves as we are in all our diversity and complexity, our humour, our vitality and resilience, and just having fun!  This narrative is between two first nation cultures and the negotiation between them, as opposed to the all too familiar Black against white narrative.  White fella’s get a small mention but only as a throw away joke.

How do you hope people feel after watching this play?
I have no doubt people will leave feeling ‘love and joy’, but not just romantic love between a young couple, but love of family and community, of culture, or life itself. Black Ties is a celebration of life.

The play features a stellar cast from Maori and Indigenous backgrounds – how have they each brought their own cultural influences to the show?
Most of the actors have been involved over several developments – and each of them has contributed significantly to the integrity of their characters, sharing insights and personal experience with the writers. Uncle Jack for example has very much influenced his character who’s story is very similar to his own: a stolen gen survivor, living in Fitzroy, done time etc.

How do you think the live band will elevate this show?
Live music is a critical component of the show, the band an integral part of the team: Lead by Brendon Boney the musicians are able to weave in and out of the world seamlessly. Live music is such an essential part of our world as First Nations people that it was one of the first elements we agreed on that had to be in the show.  The fact that the musicianship of the band is brilliant means they are guaranteed to please all.

BLACK TIES: Sydney Festival 2020
WHEN: January 10-18, 2020
WHERE: Sydney Town Hall
COST: $70-$80

For more information about Black Ties, click HERE

Anisha Mistry

As the Editor of CulturalPulse, Anisha is passionate about listening to, writing and sharing stories of Australia's multicultural achievement. Got a story to tell? Get in touch: [email protected]