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Celebrated First People’s composer to bring powerful musical performance to Blacktown


Moogahlin Performing Arts and Blacktown Arts in association with Sydney Festival present The Last Shot by Troy Russell, a must-see musical odyssey traversing romance, heartbreak and tragedy.

Based on true events, The Last Shot by Troy Russell is an intimate musical tale of romance, heartbreak and tragedy in colonial times.

Star-crossed lovers Jimmy and Florrie take flight through Gomeroi Country. One night, after singing and dancing at the local camp, a foreboding event catapults them into turmoil. Forced to make an escape, Jimmy and Florrie set off into the night followed by a landowner in pursuit of revenge. 

Drawing on a range of musical genres, and accompanied by archival imagery, The Last Shot is a story of romance and chaos, pulling on your heartstrings and lifting your spirits. 

The piece will enjoy its world premiere in Blacktown at The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, in partnership with Sydney Festival.

“As Mayor of Blacktown City, it gives me great pleasure to welcome this marvellous musical performance to our City,” Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM said.

“Blacktown City has the highest urban population of First Nations people in NSW and Council is committed to supporting the arts and the work of Indigenous creatives, whether it be on stage, on screen or on canvas.”

Drawing on a range of musical genres and accompanied by powerful archival imagery, The Last Shot is the brainchild of acclaimed composer, musician and filmmaker Troy Russell (Biripi/ Gamillaroi).

The compelling work was first developed and shown in January 2021 as part of Yellamundie Festival, a platform dedicated to showing new First Peoples work for stage with a diversity and range of stories and voices from across Australia.

Beginning his musical journey at 11 years old, Troy first developed a passion for music when a neighbour offered to teach him the fundamentals. After discovering an old photograph of his father playing a banjo, he learned that his family from Taree was one of music.

Russell is currently one of the inaugural First Peoples Artist-in-Residence at the Sydney Conservatorium and, for The Last Shot, has collaborated with Storyteller, Writer and Musician, Nardi Simpson (Yuwaalaraay) of vocal duo The Stiff Gins and Dramaturg, Victoria Kennedy (Wongaibon). The pair are joined by a stellar team of musicians including, Breeana Baxter, John Blair (Nucoorilma, Gamilaroi), Kevin Hunt, Leila Hamilton and Preston Peachy (Wiradjuri/ Malyangapa).

Moogahlin Performing Arts is no stranger to Sydney Festival stages, presenting the Yellamundie Festival (2013, 2017, 2019, 2021) which has so far been the launchpad for eleven new First Peoples stage productions including the Sydney Festival world premieres of The Weekend by Henrietta Baird (2019) and The Visitors by Jane Harrison (2020).

Similarly, Blacktown Arts has presented a range of shows with the Festival, including Home Country (2017) and Blak Box – Four Winds (2019), both in partnership with UTP, as well as the world premiere of Broken Glass (2018), in partnership with Moogahlin Performing Arts.

In addition to the performance, audiences can enjoy a sumptuous selection of food and beverages with traditional native ingredients, provided by local Aboriginal catering company, Kallico Catering, before journeying through the annual Songlines and Sightlines.

Songlines and Sightlines returns for another year as part of the Blacktown Festival. An interactive drawing and colouring-in gallery where you can draw directly onto the walls of the Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre.

PERFORMANCE DETAILS
Venue: The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, 78 Flushcombe Road, Blacktown NSW 2148
Dates: Thursday 19 – Saturday 21 May 2022
Times: 7pm and 4pm (Saturday matinee)
Price: General admission $35, 2-person cabaret $70, 4-person cabaret $140
Ticketswww.blacktownarts.com.au/whats-on/performance/thelastshot/ 

Snacks and beverages will be available to purchase. Provided by Kallico Catering.

Troy Russell
Troy John Russell is of the Biripi people of the Greater Manning area near Taree, and the Gamillaroi people of the New England area.
In 2021 Troy was a successful applicant to Moogahlin Performing Arts’ Yellamundie Festival where his first musical piece The Last Shot was developed, furthering its story and legacy. Music from the show then toured to Brewarrina to close Moogahlin’s Baiame's Ngunnhu Festival 2021. 

Troy is now also one of the inaugural First Peoples Artist-in-Residence at the Sydney Conservatorium. He continues to write music in collaboration with his band GiiMusic. Gii means heart in the language of the Gamillaroi people and was founded by Troy and Bree Baxter in 2016.

Director , Lily Shearer 
Murrawarri/Ngemba woman Lily Shearer celebrates 40 years in Cultural Arts & Community Development, Performance and Theatre making, Producing and Arts Administration in 2021. A land-base storyteller based on the unceded lands of Ngemba & Gadigal peoples,  Lily collaborates with communities, emerging and established artists of all genres, enabling stories for the stage, festivals, music, installation and film.  Lily’s practice of enabling First Peoples leadership and ownership initiatives are at the core of all her works, including the establishment of Moogahlin Performing Arts (2007).

Lily’s practice is deeply embedded in Cultural Values and beliefs of Murrawarri/Ngemba peoples, instilled to her by her Grandparents, Parent and community of Brewarrina where she was born and raised.  Commencing in Cultural Arts as a Dancer, Lily also attributes her diverse knowledge and Cultural Arts practice to the University of Elders that she has so fortunately worked with over the past 40 years in Brewarrina, Redfern, Glebe, Blacktown (Mt Druitt) and Sydney’s Greater West.  These collective wisdoms inform Lily’s practice looking at the holistic self of First Peoples and PLACE Making to include physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being in relationship with Mother Earth, who sustains all life with food, shelter and clothing. 

Moogahlin Performing Arts
Moogahlin Performing Arts Incorporated is New South Wales’ leading First Peoples performing arts company. We develop, produce, and present new work, are strongly connected to the community, and are committed to nurturing First Peoples performing arts practitioners locally, regionally, and nationally by building platforms for emerging and established performing arts makers. Moogahlin was formed in Redfern N.S.W. in November 2007, in honour of the late Kevin Smith’s request, and in memory of the founding members of the Black Theatre.

Moogahlin’s vision is a culturally empowered First Peoples community and performing arts sector. Our aim is to inspire First Peoples communities and performing arts practitioners to tell their stories, and to provide opportunities for these stories to be developed and presented. Moogahlin (Muu-gah-lin) is a Yuin/Bundjalung word meaning to play, to fool about.

Blacktown Arts

At Blacktown Arts, we walk alongside our First Nations Elders, knowledge holders, and broader communities of artists, partners and collaborators in our shared vision of creative and cultural experiences being part of everyone’s daily lives.

In Blacktown we live and work on the land of the Darug people, home to Australia’s second largest urban Aboriginal population and one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse cities in the country. A deep sense of culture, place and people sit at the heart of everything we do. By exploring the histories and communities of Blacktown, we develop new work that draws on local and global issues.

Blacktown Arts is a division of Blacktown City Council, recognised as a leader in the commissioning and presentation of community engaged contemporary arts. Our work extends to city-wide cultural planning, public art, managing a city art collection and developing the capacity of local artists and creative practitioners.

We manage three cultural spaces - The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, Main St Studios and Kelso Lane Creative Hub. Our creative processes and outcomes need to be of the highest quality, reflecting the diversity of our neighbourhoods and fast
changing city.

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