Live Performance of Creative Work

The Visitors

Jane Harrison

Carriageworks for the Sydney Festival | Published : 2020


This play re-imagines the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 from the Aboriginal perspective. Seven senior Aboriginal men gather to decide whether to repel the 11 ships, or nowees, off shore, or to allow them to land. The play occurs in ‘real time’, with the Elders observing the activity on the ships as they enter the harbour. What follows is a tense and encapsulated period of negotiation, replete with their observations, misunderstandings, biases, concerns and judgements, some of them based on their experience of Cook's visit 18 years before. The Visitors contains many allusions to historical details, sourced from journals, books and letters written by early colonisers and explorers. Howev..

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University of Melbourne Researchers