Historic Bowraville Theatre reopens for performances after COVID restrictions eased, with first performances by First Nations artists

Jessie ‘Rabbit’ Miller and Dave Human.


BOWRAVILLE Theatre is a not-for-profit space putting on performances to provide community engagement and entertainment.

The Theatre was closed for performances from March 2020 owing to Covid-19 restrictions and has now reopened for business.

Originally built as a picture theatre, the space has been adapted and is now equipped with state of the art digital and lighting equipment.

HSC students from Nambucca Heads High are now accessing these after damage caused by recent floods to school equipment.

Bowraville Central School also uses the space for Drama classes during the week.

Bowraville was originally a segregated theatre, with First Nations visitors having to buy their tickets separately and enter through a different door.

This also required them to enter and leave the theatre at different times.

What a difference time and a concerted effort to achieve racial equality makes.

A confirmation of this progress can be seen with the first shows to be put on following COVID restrictions being eased.

Headlining the reopening of the performance space was Arrernte Country music legend Warren H Williams, with Gumbaynggirr artists, and supported by pianist Juliane Croft, on April 1.

The show was a sell-out.

Coming soon to the Bowraville Theatre is Koori Comedy Showcase, a comedy displaying the talents of First Nation comedians.

The Showcase will be hosted by start-up entertainment company Human-Rabbit Entertainment, owned by Dharug born Wiradjuri woman Jessie ‘Rabbit’ Miller, and Papua New Guinean and Wiradjuri comedian Dave Human.

Both Jessie and Dave are from Stolen Generation families.

Jessie’s family was spread across NSW and raised as ‘white people’, a story that includes her English grandfather denying Jessie’s great-aunt access to Jessie’s Nan.

They were never reunited.

Dave’s family was also displaced after his mum was raised in an orphanage, resulting in the loss of family knowledge.

His aunty, a proud Indigenous woman (now deceased), has always, according to Dave, inspired, and continues to inspire him in what he does.

Their choice of Bowraville Theatre to put on their first show comes from their attendance at the Uncle Warren H Williams concert in April.

“The energy was amazing,” they said.

“The Bowraville Theatre acknowledged the pain caused by the past and an apology was read out to the Indigenous people. It was a beautiful moment to be part of.”

Both Jessie and Dave want to bring a smile back to people’s faces after a tough time with Covid-19 in the past year.
They believe that, “laughter frees the soul”.

“(We want) nothing more than to enrich people’s lives and take them away even just for a moment from their troubles and bring a smile to their face.

“We also want to continue the healing that began at Bowraville theatre and amongst our Gumbaynggirr mob.”

The Koorie Comedy Showcase is on 4 and 5 June at Bowraville Theatre.



Leave a Reply