Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Jack Charles v the Crown

Jack Charles v the Crown

ILBIJERRI Theatre Company

DATES: 15-18 March, 2018
LOCATION: Q Theatre, Rangatira

Australian legend Uncle Jack Charles started life as a member of the Stolen Generation. He once said, “Plucked from my mother’s breast, I grew up absolutely ignorant of my Aboriginal heritage.”

The indomitable rogue, now considered one of the Grandfathers of Australian First Nations theatre, will take the stand at the Auckland Arts Festival in March with his captivating one-man show, Jack Charles V The Crown.

The play is Uncle Jack’s life story, and undeniably a key story of Australia’s too.

He was born in September 1943 at Cummeragunja Mission on the Murray River, where the Yorta Yorta people had been forced to live in a reservation by the ‘Aboriginal Protection Board’ since 1915.

Charles was forcibly taken from his mother and ended up at a boys’ home where he was the only resident Aboriginal child and suffered years of abuse.

He grew up to be an actor, musician, addict, thief and activist. 20 years of heroin use, homelessness and petty crime landed him in jail…22 times.

In Jack Charles V The Crown, Uncle Jack’s yarns run the gamut of a life lived to its utmost. His unswerving optimism transforms this tale of addiction, crime and doing time into a kind of vagabond’s progress.

At 74 years of age Charles, accompanied by a three-piece band, sings and tells his extraordinary tale. This fleet-footed, light-fingered one-man show is a theatrical delight and a celebration of Black Australia’s dogged refusal to give up.
In the early 1970s Charles pioneered Indigenous theatre with the (also legendary) late Bob Maza, setting up the nation’s first Indigenous theatre company in Melbourne.

In 2008 Bastardy told the story of Jack’s life, when a documentary filmmaker followed Uncle Jack for six years. Since then, his profile has steadily grown, in part from the success of Jack Charles V The Crown, which has toured internationally, but also his recent roles in the ABC's groundbreaking Indigenous sci-fi series Cleverman.

Director Rachael Maza, Bob’s daughter, is a well-known actor and theatre maker, and the Artistic Director for the ILBIJERRI Theatre Company in Victoria - Australia’s leading and longest running Indigenous and Torres Strait Island theatre company. Rachael has also worked as a narrator for ABC Radio National and as Indigenous Liaison Advisor on films such as the multi-award-winning Rabbit Proof Fence.

Writer John Romeril began his career working as a performance poet. He started writing plays in 1967 and was a founding member of the groundbreaking Australian Performing Group. The Member of the Order of Australia (for significant service to the performing arts, to theatre companies and education) has written more than 80 plays and also for television and film.

Jack Charles V The Crown is a vital piece of storytelling, told by the most delightful actor audiences may ever come face to face with.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Three Stocking Stuffers from Te Papa Press

Te Papa has published three wonderfully informative and beautifully produced volumes that describe the people and cultures encountered during Cook's voyages and the Māori cultural treasures he discovered there. More>>

40 Years On: Prime Minister Delivers Erebus Apology

"That loss, in and of itself, was huge. It sent ripples across the country, and trauma that those who weren’t directly affected would probably struggle to fathom. But that loss and grief was compounded. It was undeniably worsened by the events that followed." More>>


The Testaments: Margaret Atwood Announces Three NZ Events

The evening will also feature Atwood’s remarkable career, her diverse range of works and why she has returned to the fictional world of Gilead 34 years later. More>>

Transit Of Mercury: Historic Viewing Recreated

Keen stargazers gathered at Te Whanganui o Hei on the Coromandel Peninsula to watch a rare astronomic event this morning. More>>

Forest And Bird: Hoiho Crowned Bird Of The Year For 2019

Widely considered an underdog, the valiant hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) has won Bird of the Year, a first for seabirds in the competition's 14-year history. More>>





  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland