The Black Woman of Gippsland

26 — 27 Feb 2021

Southbank Theatre, The Sumner

An onstage reading, offering an insight into the first draft of a new Australian work.

Approximately 75 minutes, without an interval.

Seating capacity in the Sumner has been reduced in line with government restrictions.

Please note that audiences will be required to wear a mask during their visit to Southbank Theatre. Learn more here.

Event Passed


From Sunshine Super Girl playwright Andrea James comes a new MTC NEXT STAGE Commission that delves deep into one of the first urban legends of colonial Australia. In a special development reading, audiences will be offered a unique opportunity to hear an exciting new Australian work in progress while gaining rare insight into a vital side of the playwriting process.

In 1840, a settler swore he found a bible printed in Edinburgh, a blue silk purse and a broken looking-glass in the remains of a Gunaikurnai camp near Ninety Mile Beach. But did he also really see the face of a 'pale woman' in a possum-skin cloak? Was there really a ‘white woman’ in Gunaikurnai country or were these unverified stories a cover for other activities – these are the questions Jacinta is trying to answer when she holes herself up in a country motel to put the finishing touches on her thesis. But can she solve a 150-year-old mystery in four days? And get justice for her people?

The Black Woman of Gippsland explores colonial Victorian ‘history’ through a vital First Nations’ lens. This presentation of James’s first draft will showcase a work of powerful personal importance for an acclaimed playwright, and offers audiences the opportunity to be part of the continuing development process – Saturday’s reading may even differ from the first as Andrea James takes on insights and observations from the initial public presentation to make subsequent textual adjustments.


The Black Woman of Gippsland was commissioned through MTC’s NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program with the support of our Playwrights Giving Circle Donors, The Ian Potter Foundation, Naomi Milgrom Foundation, The Myer Foundation, Malcolm Robertson Foundation and The University of Melbourne.

MTC's Summer Series is supported by Genovese

Genovese with coffee Blk RGB


  • Wheelchair Accessible

  • Hearing Assistance


Fiona Choi


Stephen Phillips

Stephen Phillips



Melodie Reynolds-Diarra


Artwork for Leonie Whyman

Leonie Whyman


Artwork for Glenn Shea

Glenn Shea


Artwork for Andrea James

Andrea James


Learn more about Andrea James

The Sumner

140 Southbank Boulevard

Southbank, Victoria 3006