Saturday, October 31st, 2009 - Blak Yak Theatre
BLAK Yak (note to subs: there is no ‘C’ in Blak) Theatre’s production of Blackbird will touch on taboo and controversial subjects when it plays in Subiaco this November

Written by Scottish author David Harrower, the play revolves around a meeting between a young woman and middle-aged man 15 years after they had a sexual relationship – when she was just12.

Director Dean Schulze said the story explores why the woman comes back into his life, looking at whether it is for revenge, closure or to re-kindle what used to be there.

“No audience will agree,” he said. “I saw the play done in Melbourne and was mesmerised, sitting in my chair for five minutes after it had finished as it went through my mind.

“If a play stays in your head for some time after seeing it, that’s a sign of a very good play – and this is one of those plays.

“I bought the script and read it numerous times because it’s a great piece of writing.”

Blackbird was partly-inspired by the crimes of sex offender Toby Studebaker, a former US Marine who abducted a 12-year-old British girl in 2003, after grooming her via the internet and was then jailed for 4½ years.

Schulze described difficult, challenging theatre – such as Blackbird – as potentially great theatre and he wants to ensure people go on the same journey he did when he first saw the play.

“My main challenge is keeping the audience captivated for 90 minutes with just two actors, which is no easy task but what’s needed,” he said.

“The other task is to ensure the writing isn't lost with poor direction of the actors.”

Schulze brings a wealth of experience to the project with more than 20 years as an actor and director in Perth theatre, mainly working with Playlovers and the Graduate Dramatic Society.

He directed Dinner for Playlovers in 2006, coming in third for best director at the annual Finley Awards, and was named best actor for his role in Art at the Old Mill Theatre in 2007.

Blackbird plays at.8pm on November 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and December 3, 4 and 5 at the Subiaco Arts Centre’s Studio. Tickets are $18, $14.50 concession – book through BOCS on (08) 9484 1133.

blackbird1.jpeg: Laura Vertigan and Eliot McCann in rehearsals for Blackbird.

blackbird2.jpeg: Eliot McCann and Laura Vertigan rehearsing for Blackbird, coming to the Subiaco Arts Centre’s Studio.

blackbird3.jpeg: Director Dean Schulze, right, discusses the Blackbird script with actors Eliot McCann and Laura Vertigan.

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Blak Yak Theatre

Blak Yak is a vibrant community theatre company based in Perth, Western Australia. Established in 1993, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our productions and our dedicated audience which spans a broad range of loyal theatregoers.

Blak Yak was the first theatre company in Australia to present Terry Pratchett's plays, starting with Mort in 1997, and has built a reputation as being the premiere theatre group staging adaptations of popular novels, films and television shows such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Red Dwarf, Human Traffic, Men Behaving Badly, The Underpants and Coupling. More recently, Blak Yak mounted the world stage premiere of Black Books drawing on three episodes of the award-winning TV hit to create a single night of hilarity.

But there's much more to Blak Yak than film and TV adaptations. Not afraid to take chances, Blak Yak has presented original WA-written plays including our most recent offerings Prod and Prejudice and Enmity, both of which received critical recognition at the 2007 Southwest Dramafest. Other notable productions include Lysistrata and Amadeus and our recent production of Picasso's Women also received critical praise, with one of our performers winning Best Actress at the 2007 ITA Finley Awards. At the same ceremony, one of our actors won Best Other Than Lead Male for Black Books.

Blak Yak has won many awards over the years, particularly for our one-act repertoire. At the 2003 WA State Drama Festival, for example, Blak Yak was the first theatre group to win Best Play in both the Adult and Youth sections with Two Women and a Chair and Cloud Over the Morning. These accolades stand as testament to the talent and commitment of our performers and directors as well as those who lend a helping hand behind the scenes.

At Blak Yak, we are always open to new ideas and new talents. For performers, upcoming auditions will be posted on the Auditions page of this website as well on the Theatre Australia website (

Directors and scriptwriters are also encouraged to make contact and explore opportunities to mount their shows with us.
Dean Schulze
P: 0419 949 546


WA theatre company staging David Harrower's controversial Blackbird


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