Queensland Theatre | Directors Note: 37
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Directors Note: 37

For generations, stories have been told right here on this land and it's a pleasure to be contributing to the rich tapestry of songlines with our new production 37.

MTC Footy recital Cwolf Media 59


My name is Isaac Drandic and I am a Noongar man from the southwest of Western Australia. I come from a long line of storytellers who have travelled this continent time and time again sharing stories, through song, dance and cultural exchange that has shaped our way of life for generations. First Nations people continue to share stories, now wielding the powerful medium of theatre for over half a century to communicate ideas and bring attention to what’s important to us today. 37 is about the potential we have to make this country — we now call Australia — a place where everyone feels they can belong. It’s about opportunities and missed opportunities. It’s about hope and working together to create a story we can all be proud of.

We as First Nations people continue to create new stories, new songlines through practicing theatre and that’s why it’s exciting to be collaborating once again with my Palawa brother Nathan Maynard on our fifth production. He writes such rich characters who speak like real people and always have something to say about the world that’s worth saying. They are recognisable, they are flawed, and they are human. They are also very funny. To create this work with an exceptional group of humans has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I’m thrilled to be directing a cast of 10 exceptional men. Men who feel as deeply as Maynard and I about creating a show that speaks to our state of affairs. It’s rare to work with such a cohesive and connected cast and equally rare to work with such a large cast for a theatre production. Especially a First Nations lead work. There is an appetite across the board for more large-scale work and the energy on stage that comes from 10 men in football shorts is electric. I can’t wait for you to feel it. The passion and enthusiasm from the cast to tell this story inspires me every day. I think about our process and how respect, deep listening and collaboration have been the foundations of which we’ve built this show and it’s that collaborative spirit that I hope comes through on stage and we as a country might someday harness to create a more connected and cohesive community.

There have been so many wonderful people who have touched this work from the seed of the idea to the workshops and developments that have taken place over the past four years. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge their contributions. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) graduates of 2022 for helping Maynard and I develop this work, and the VCA creative team, Jacob Boehme, Leon Salom, Olivia Lucia Pimpinella, Stephen Hawker and Riley McCullagh. I’d also like to thank Chris Mead for believing in this work and supporting its development through the VCA. The Vizard Foundation for their financial contribution to develop the play. Kamarra Bell-Wykes, the most concise and insightful Dramaturg and Assistant Director. Queensland Theatre and Melbourne Theatre Company for backing us in and programming a larger-scale First Nations production! And of course, a massive heartfelt thank you to my family, Johannah Maza and my children Sofia and Lewis for allowing me to be away from home to direct 37.


— Isaac Drandic

Nathan Maynard's 37 will perform at the Bille Brown Theatre until 4 May.

Isaac Drandic is a Noongar man from the southwest of Western Australia. He is an award-winning director, dramaturg, actor and playwright. As director/dramaturg, Isaac specialises in new First Nations work, guiding emerging playwrights to the main stages including Meyne Wyatt (City of Gold), Nathan Maynard (The Season, At What Cost) and Jacob Boehme (Blood on the Dance Floor).

Photography by Pia Johnson

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