Balit Liwurruk

Strong Girl

        ‘A girl's strength is hard to describe. The impossible task is holding the sky up on your shoulders. No one can take my sky, my tree and my red earth from me’.  - Kaitlyn

In collaboration with Worawa Aboriginal College, St Martins presents a work that overturns common assumptions about First Nations’ girls. In 2017 St Martins was invited to run workshops at Worawa and so began a relationship with the school and some of its Year 10-12 girls, who come from the remotest parts of Australia and board in Healesville to get an education, grow in confidence and claim ownership of their identities and abilities. Many leave home being the first or only girl to get a secondary school education. They hope to finish Year 12, continue onto tertiary study or go back as leaders in their own communities.

Balit Liwurruk: Strong Girl is a performance made with a mix of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists that speaks out about strong and smart girls. Often the girls are multilingual, with English not their first language. Aunty Lois Peeler, the school’s principal, Aboriginal Elder and sister of founder Hyllis Maris (Wurundjeri and Yorta Yorta woman), refers to the girls holding the ‘parallel realities’ of Aboriginal lore and Western culture - at the school they learn to ‘walk the two worlds’. With these coexisting realities as a departure point, the project asks what it takes to carry language and culture whilst being a girl today.

In a rite of passage from girl to woman, twelve girls turn the classic myth of Hercules inside out, repossessing its masculine notions of being strong into their very own 12 tests of strength. Balit: Liwurruk: Strong Girl is an invitation to contemplate the Herculean determination, depth and pride of girls emerging from Country across our vast Australian continent.

        ‘I’m a strong-minded person. I’ve been through stuff. I had to be determined. I told my mum that I wanted to go to school.’  - Paris

Balit Liwurruk: Strong Girl is a contemporary and poetic take on culture and the ways we find the inner strength to stand on the shoulders of previous generations to reach into the unknown.

        ‘It’s like you’re holding something really old but when you carry the language, you’re carrying the land and you’re carrying the people with you. No matter how much time goes by, it’s still going to be there, inside of us. Nobody knows what's inside of us but us.’  - Mary Cruz

Worawa Principal and Elder: Dr Lois Peeler AM

Featuring: Aunty Zeta Thomson with Rose Archie, Kimberley Benjamin, Paris Carpio, Shontay Charles, Tiara Douglas, Mary Cruz Fernandez, Mariah Manggurra, Justine Ronberg, Rochelle Tipiloura, Dorothea Tipiloura and Katelyn Woodhouse.

Director    Nadja Kostich
Composer    Naretha Williams
Set and Costume Designer    Emily Barrie
Choreographer    Rheannan Port
Dramaturge    Kamarra Bell – Wykes
Producer    Damienne Pradier
Production/Stage Manager    Sarah Jane Robertson
Lighting Designers    Rachel Burke and John Ford
Rigger    Andy Bright
Video Designer    Michael Carmody
Artistic Associate    Katrina Cornwell
Artistic Contributors    Eva Grace Mullaley and Carissa Lee
Performance Coach    Chanella Macri

Four performances only!

Wednesday 4 September
Community Performance

Friday 6 September

Saturday 7 September
3pm ( Auslan Interpreted show) and 6pm


4-7 September, 2019

Irene Mitchell Studio St Martins 44 St Martins Lane South Yarra


General admission
Community Performance

Purchase Tickets

Information for Presenters

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