Show artwork for Brodie Murray's powerful new voice
Brodie Murray. Photo: Jacinta Keefe
Set The Stage

Brodie Murray's powerful new voice

Brodie Murray is a Wamba Wamba/Scottish-Australian playwright and performer, with a passion and drive to tell First Nations stories of South Eastern Australia.

Growing up on Dja Dja Wurrung Country, near Castlemaine, Brodie Murray’s love of theatre began when he joined the local youth theatre group. He speaks proudly of how his creativity has been influenced and inspired by his talented family and their cultural heritage – his father Ron Murray, a respected Wamba Wamba storyteller/Didgeridoo musician, and his mother, fiddler/vocalist, Sarah James. In fact, the first piece of theatre that Murray saw was at the age of six in 2007, when his uncle, the celebrated actor David James, starred in an MTC/STC produced play Ying Tong – A Walk With the Goons about the 1950s British radio comedy program, The Goon Show.

But it was in 2019 doing VCE, when Murray participated in MTC First Peoples Young Artists Program, that theatre became an essential part of his life. ‘I was trying to find my confidence. Growing up, I had always loved creative writing and performing. But being accepted into the program by MTC was life-changing. I was among other First Nations theatre makers, and I then knew, theatre is what I am going to pursue. That was when it all changed for me.’


‘Being accepted into the program by MTC was lifechanging’ — Brodie Murray


Murray recalls the first time he came into MTC. ‘Wow, this is an amazing place. I was a bit nervous … I was a country boy going to the big city, but straightaway MTC staff welcomed me with real warmth.’ Working in the rehearsal rooms, with facilitators Lenka Vanderboom and Declan Furber Gillick, relationships were formed, and the program’s alumni have continued to collaborate creatively together. ‘They’re all brilliant people and it’s not like the journey just ends when you finish the program.’

The following year, he continued to be mentored by Furber Gillick, who provided dramaturgy for Murray’s first self-written play, Soul of Possum, a first contact play set on Wamba Wamba country. The initial idea for the piece was formed during Murray’s time at MTC, in which he drew on the stories, traditions and cultural knowledge of his father, Ron and grandfather, Bes Murray. ‘A lot of their storytelling and their wisdom have influenced my approach to writing’, Murray explains, ‘hearing stories around the campfire.’ The play received its world premiere at YIRRAMBOI Festival in May 2021, directed by Beng Oh. Murray’s second play, Billy’s Choice, directed by Rachael Maza with dramaturgy by Geoff Kelso, a play about finding independence, debuted later the same year at Melbourne Fringe and was adapted for film when COVID lockdowns prevented an in-person performance.

Most recently at MTC, Murray rejoined his fellow alumni to work with the 2021 First Peoples Young Artists Program cohort. ‘Being a part of that process again was really powerful and seeing the new group coming up with new stories and hearing new voices was pretty powerful. Just to be a part of that was emotional. The program means so much to me.’

Now an award-winning artist, including the Australia Council’s prestigious First Nations Emerging Career Development Award and the Melbourne Fringe Best Emerging Indigenous Artist and Young Creatives Award, Murray has come a long way from his beginnings in theatre. Also a graduate of Aboriginal Performance at WAAPA and a current student of Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre) at VCA, we cannot wait to see where Murray’s passion, creativity and talent will take him next.

MTC’s First Peoples Young Artists Program works in partnership with the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development and YIRRAMBOI, and is made possible through the generous support of The John & Myriam Wylie Foundation.

Donate now to help MTC continue to support and nurture the next generation of theatre makers.

Published on 26 April 2022

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