Story, movement and comedy in Gela's show
COMPASSION, understanding, and a whole lot of laughs.
They are the three main aspects of Ghenoa Gela's storytelling experience, titled 'My Urrwai', coming to Lismore's NORPA on July 10.
Drawing on her experience of life as a proud mainland Torres Strait Islander woman, Gela weaves story, movement and comedy into a compelling and deeply moving theatre experience.
"We want to try to connect to community as much as possible,” Gela said.
"I'm really just trying to connect with our young people ... letting them know they can do anything as long as they work hard.
"We've got blackfella nurses, blackfella lawyers, blackfella doctors ... showing them the path is quite a liberating thing to do.
"We are already storytellers - we do that through our songs and our dances and when we yarn to each other.”
Gela doesn't let one aspect of her identity dominate, however, as she is part of many different communities; Torres Strait Islander, arts, female and black communities all play a role and inform her experiences simultaneously.
Gela has established a national profile as winner of the prestigious Keir Choreographic and Melbourne International Comedy Festival Deadly Funny awards; as a presenter on NITV's Move It Mob Style; and through performances with companies including Bell Shakespeare and Force Majeure.
On-stage you can expect a splash of cultural storytelling, a whole lot of laughs, and even an air guitar rendition, with which she won national competitions for in Sydney.
Dances and storytelling plays a strong part in Torres Strait Islander communities, and Gela had the honour of having her grandmother's dance passed down to her.
"This one amazing woman - my Aka - a dance, and that has been passed down through the women on my mother's side,” Gela said.
"My mum and all of her sisters learned it and I was the only one that learned it in my generation.”
Of course, the show is open to anyone, and Gela will be in Lismore from July 10 to 13.
Tickets can be booked via performinglines.org.au/projects/my-urrwai/