Nambucca-made film by Sandy Greenwood features in Melbourne Fringe Online

Sandy Greenwood in her powerful one woman play, Matriarch.


LOG on to Melbourne Fringe Online and catch the last few days of Nambucca-made film Matriarch.

The film is written, performed and produced by Sandy Greenwood, a Gumbaynggirr custodian and an award-winning actor, playwright, producer and emerging director.

Matriarch is a powerful one-woman show which has won numerous awards since its debut in 2018 including a Green Room Award for Best Actor in Independent Theatre and a nomination for Best Writing.

To adapt to the times, Matriarch was filmed in the old Nambucca Valley School of Arts by fellow local John Merkel, and is now available to watch at the 2021 Melbourne Fringe Digital Program which closes on 17 October.

Sandy toured Matriarch extensively around the country and was in the planning stages of a New York Season when COVID hit last year.

The play explores the lives of four generations of Gumbaynggirr women, the matriarchs of Greenwood’s own family, who all lived in the Nambucca Valley area: Sandy plays herself, her mother — a survivor of the stolen generation — her grandmother, a Dunghutti Gumbaynggirr woman who was brought to Bowraville from Kempsey when she was four to escape the authorities, and her great-grandmother, who was a highly respected Gumbaynggirr cultural midwife.

Sandy told News Of The Area, “It traverses the times where Aboriginal women in the Bowraville/Nambucca area weren’t allowed to give birth in the hospital — when my grandmother had her children taken — when my mum was put in Cowper orphanage for nine years.

“I tell the story of the massacre at Red Rock, the Gumbaynggirr dreaming story about the women and the sea when Gumbaynggirr kids in the 1950s would run free in the bush immersed in language and culture taught by our old people and nan’s generation who were getting all dolled up for the Aboriginal social dances around the Valley.

“So, a lot of tragedy, a lot of heartache, but a lot of beauty and strength as well because a lot of healing comes from being on country and connecting to culture, language and family.

“I wanted to pay homage and testament to the strength, beauty and resilience of the beautiful women I am from.”

Sandy and her family live in Nambucca Heads.

Her mum and sister are the Gumbaynggirr artist mother and daughter duo ‘Miimi and Jiinda’.

When she is not home on Gumbaynggirr country, Sandy travels for acting and directing gigs.

Next up, she is performing in three plays at Belvoir Theatre in Sydney and is directing an independent Australian Feature Film in QLD early next year.




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