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GOING OUT

Bringing it home Tired of stereotyped indigenous female roles, actor Katie Beckett wrote her own hit play as a tribute to her dad Fiona Purdon

ROLE CALL … Writer and performer Katie Beckett. Picture: Josie Hayden

Katie Beckett set out to write her father a tribute letter but wound up penning a play that would attract a 76-show national tour. Arriving at Brisbane Powerhouse this month, Which Way Home has also caught the eye of publishers and filmmakers who are considering the play for book and feature film adaptations. It’s a result that Brisbane-bred Katie, 33, never expected, and one that could also change the way indigenous women are represented on stage. Katie, an actor, was inspired to write the humour-filled show and its indigenous characters because the roles she had received were “stereotypical and stale”. “I was playing these women who were victims and voiceless, who were bashed or raped, and the male perpetrators were always drunk,’’ she says. “These are not the stories I grew up with. I wanted to show people a different side to our culture. We are funny people and we are resilient in the face of so much adversity. We are strong women who are loving and caring.’’ Which Way Home covers a road trip taken by a father and daughter from Brisbane to visit family in Goodooga, northern New South Wales. Katie says 80 per cent of the show is based on her relationship with her dad, Les, and she also drew on a real-life road trip she took six years ago with her father, her young son Mark (now eight) and the play’s director Rachael Maza.

“We got lost in the desert, on a dirt track, in 42 degrees and my son was freaking out,’’ she says. “I wrote (Which Way Home) for my dad. At the time he had had five heart attacks and I had just had my son. I thought I was going to lose him (Dad).” She marvels at her 70-year-old father, who single-handedly brought her up after her mother was killed in a car accident when Katie was five years old. “He’s now had six heart attacks, he has diabetes and high blood pressure, but he still comes to look after my son while I’m on tour. He drops everything to do it,” she says. “I wasn’t expecting (Which Way Home) to go anywhere … it was mainly a love letter to Dad to say thanks for putting up with all the stupid stuff I’ve done.” It was a lengthy process from initial writing to the show’s debut with Ilbijerri Theatre Company in 2016 in Melbourne, but Katie received lots of encouragement from leading indigenous actor Leah Purcell and from Rachael Maza. The result was a sellout season of Which Way Home at Belvoir St Theatre as part of the 2017 Sydney Festival. Now Katie, who lives in Sydney but is considering a return to Queensland, is “excited to bring it home to Brisbane”. Which Way Home, Aug 8-11, Brisbane Powerhouse, Lamington St, New Farm brisbanepowerhouse.org

MUSICA VIVA PRESENTS

“A world-class violin virtuoso with a technique of fire and ice.” SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

QUEENSLAND CONSERVATORIUM THEATRE GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY, SAT 11 AUGUST, 7PM musicaviva.com.au/raychen ǀ 1800 688 482 ǀ qtix.com.au | 136 246

16 BRISBANE NEWS August 1-7, 2018

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Profile for Brisbane News

Brisbane News Magazine Aug 1 - 7, 2018. ISSUE 1188  

Brisbane's premier weekly lifestyle mag, featuring the people, events, food, and properties that make our city beautiful. brisbanenews.com.a...

Brisbane News Magazine Aug 1 - 7, 2018. ISSUE 1188  

Brisbane's premier weekly lifestyle mag, featuring the people, events, food, and properties that make our city beautiful. brisbanenews.com.a...