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Black is the New White – Queensland Theatre

1 February - 17 March

black is the new white

Black is the New White to open Queensland Theatre’s sensational season 2018 on February 1 to 17 February 2018.

This amazing and powerful stage story with a star-studded line-up set to predicted to sell out quickly.

Queensland Theatre will open what is a refreshingly diverse 2018 season with the razor-sharp rom-com Black is the New White, by one of the country’s hottest artist-commentators Nakkiah Lui.

An astute and questioning social comedy on identity, politics and family. It blends Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? with Meet the Fockers, Black is the New White sold out its world premiere season at Sydney Theatre Company in 2017 – a triumph for Queensland Theatre’s director Paige Rattray, writer Nakkiah Lui and designer Renée Mulder.

Black in the New White was inspired by several intersecting issues, including the growth of the Aboriginal middle class and the spike in interracial marriages. It’s the story of a family Christmas. A smart and successful young Aboriginal lawyer, Charlotte Gibson, brings her surprise fiancé, Francis Smith – unemployed, white, experimental classical composer – and his family home to meet her parents. What could go wrong?

Charlotte is the favourite daughter of Australia’s most charismatic Aboriginal politician, and Francis is the son of his dour and stridently conservative rival. It’s been mutual hatred for decades, sparked by an infamous shoe-throwing incident on the floor of parliament.  As the two bitterly entrenched families collide in the Gibson’s glitzy holiday mansion over an Aussie Christmas dinner, the long-standing feud comes to a head. Cue a sharp-witted and riotously funny struggle for dominance where barbed insults fly, secrets come flooding out and hypocrisies of all kinds – race, gender, religion, status – are mercilessly skewered.

“I wanted to create a play that could explore race and politics and modern Australia in a way that was quite warm and joyous, and celebrated family. I want it to be genuine in its emotions – while also being quite critical of ideas of aspiration and success, and how we embody our oppressors in some ways,” said Lui.

The show will be held at the QPAC Playhouse featuring a stellar cast which includes:

  • Logie-award winning Shari Sebbens (The Sapphires and Redfern Now),
  • Tom Stokes (The Railway Man),
  • Tony Briggs (co-writer of the Helpmann Award winning play The Sapphires),
  • Miranda Tapsell (Love Childand The Sapphires),
  • Luke Carroll (Play School presenter and Redfern Now),
  • Vanessa Downing (former Home & Away star),
  • Melodie Reynolds-Diarra (Redfern Now and Natural Justice),
  • and NIDA graduate Anthony Taufa (The Golden Age – Sydney Theatre Company, An Octoroon –Queensland Theatre).

Nakkiah Lui (Kill the Messenger and Blaque Showgirls playwright, co-writer and star of Black Comedy), brings serious gravitas to our opening production for 2018,” said Queensland Theatre Artistic Director Sam Strong. “She made her directorial debut with Queensland Theatre in September last year with the acclaimed An Octoroon, and we are thrilled to have her return with such a stellar cast and her flagship work, Black in the New White.”

Director Paige Rattray said audiences could expect to experience a range of feelings and thoughts, often conflicting ones as they watch the on-stage debacle.

“Uniting two families can be quite complex, and this play explores all facets in the complexity of bringing two families together with differing values, opinions and history. Audiences can also expect powerhouse performances from our actors, they’re all theatrical beasts and have worked together before with this play – it’s going to be a wild ride,” she said.

About Black is the New White

By Nakkiah Lui

1 to 17 February at the Playhouse, QPAC

Director: Paige Rattray Designer: Renee Mulder

Lighting Designer: Ben Hughes Composer/Sound Designer: Steve Toulmin

Book your ticket today: 1800 355 528 or

About the Black is the new White Cast for Brisbane

Shari Sebbens: Darwin born Shari Sebbens returns to Queensland Theatre after starring in 2017’s critically acclaimed An Octoroon. The National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) graduate and Logie award-winning actor has featured in television and film including The Sapphires alongside Jessica Mauboy, and ABC’s Redfern Now.

Miranda Tapsell: The most recent addition to the cast, Miranda Tapsellis well-known for her 2015 Logie’s acceptance speech (Most Outstanding Newcomer and Best New Talent), in which she called for more diversity and inclusiveness on Australia’s incredibly whitewashed TV screens. With many stage and screen roles under her belt, she is best known for playing Cynthia in the film The Sapphires and Martha in the TV series Love Child.

Anthony Taufa: After completing studies of Bachelor of Arts at La Trobe University and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Sydney-based Anthony Taufa has had a successful stage career performing regularly with Sydney Theatre Company, NIDA co-productions and Darlinghurst Theatre Company. He returns to Queensland after the success of the 2017 production An Octoroon.

Melodie Reynolds Diarra: Melodie Reynolds-Diarra is a Wongutha, Nadju woman from Western Australia. She attended the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), graduating in 1996. Making her acting debut at the age of 16, Melodie has been commended for her theatre resume, performing for Ibbikerri Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company and at the Sydney Opera House. After staring in the 2017 production of An Octoroon, Melodie returns to Queensland Theatre bringing with her 25 years of stage experience to the 2018 production of Black is the New White.

Luke Carroll: Award-nominee, Sydney-based actor Luke Carroll returns to the Queensland Theatre stage after three years, previously performing in Queensland Theatre shows, Black Diggers (2014) and Mother Courage and her Children (2013). Luke has been seen in Channel Seven’s Home & Away and ABC’s Redfern Now and as a presenter on Playschool.

Tom Stokes: A graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) Tom has joined the cast Black is the New White in 2017. He featured in the 2012 film, The Railway Man and appeared in Channel Seven’s Australia: The Story of Us (2014) and is famed for his ability to perform with many accents.

Vanessa Downing: Vanessa Downing has featured in Home & Away, All Saints, Packed to the Rafters and Headland and is a regular with Sydney Theatre Company and Ensemble Theatre while previously starring in the co-production of Bell Shakespeare and Queensland Theatre’s Faustus (2011).


1 February
17 March
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