Australia’s macabre, untold history revealed in RISING’s ‘The Return’
13.04.2022

Australia’s macabre, untold history revealed in RISING’s ‘The Return’

The Return
words by sidonie bird de la coeur

‘The Return’ is an epic tale that tells a 250 year battle to return the stolen ancestral remains of First People to country.

In his Malthouse directorial debut, Jason Tamiru draws upon his experiences as a repatriation worker and a Yorta Yorta man to tell a macabre history of Australia in The Return – one of First Peoples remains stolen under the discredited a harmful scientific rhetoric of eugenics.

Presented in co-commission with Melbourne’s RISING festival, The Return is an epic tale that spans 250 years and weaves together the threads of three separate narratives; a repatriation officer, a museum curator and a bone collector.

What you need to know

  • The Return is showing at the Malthouse in co-commission with Melbourne’s RISING festival
  • It is the Malthouse directorial debut of Jason Tamiru, inspired by his identity as a Yorta Yorta man and experiences as a repatriation worker
  • The show is on from May 18 until June 4

Check out Melbourne’s latest stage shows and theatrical events here.

Written by Torres Strait Islander playwright John Harvey (Heart is a Wasteland), this tale of the repatriation of ancestral remains to country from the depths of museums and universities is one that highlights the necessity for homecoming and healing.

As an immersive work at the Malthouse, the creator says that the work is a painful but vital step towards national healing. “The inhuman practice of removing our People from Country for research and curiosity has brought much trauma and pain to my People and Country,” states co-Director Jason Tamiru. “Bringing our People back home to Country helps to heal the planet and allows our ancestors to reset their journey to the spirit world. Yurratha, Woka, Biyala, Wala (Sky, Land, Tree, Water, Dreaming).”

The Return includes a cast of First Nations people from across Australia, including Jimi Bani, Ghenoa Gela, Damion Hunter, Angelica Lockyer, Guy Simon and Laila Thaker.

Buy tickets to the show, and find out more about other shows at the Malthouse and at RISING, by clicking here