Brittanie Shines as a Sapphire

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Mulgoa’s Brittanie Shipway has landed the role of a lifetime, after being cast as one of the lead characters in the touring production of The Sapphires in Australia.

Produced by HIT Productions, Brittanie plays the role of Kay, one of four Aboriginal women who tour as a singing troupe for soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War. The production will see 160 shows playing in city and regional locations right across the country.

The tour, which began this year in Charters Towers in Queensland, was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will continue once the restrictions are lifted and the situation is safe for everyone.

“This will be the biggest tour that I have ever been a part of! We started rehearsing for The Sapphires in Melbourne in February for two weeks. The tour then started in Queensland and the initial plan was to visit every state and territory in Australia up until December. With the current COVID-19 situation across the country and the world, the cast and crew are taking a break to stay healthy before we resume again” said Brittanie to the Mulgoa Valley Gazette.

The Sapphires was originally a play that debuted with the Melbourne Theatre Company in 2004 before being turned into a film in 2012.

Brittanie explained that the story is important as it celebrates success for Indigenous women during a troubled time of war in Australia, “It’s an amazing story that has been embraced by the Indigenous community. I feel privileged to be able to share Kay’s story of positivity and hope and she really was having the time of her life in tough situations”.

Shipway draws inspiration from her Ma (Grandma) Doreen Shipway, who sadly passed away in 2012. Doreen was from the Gumbaynggirr mob in Urunga, on the Mid North Coast of NSW.

“With my Indigenous background, I feel like my character of Kay is very similar to my Ma. There is definitely a connection there. They both lead fun and carefree lives in the 60’s. Ma also inspired me to take up theatre, so this experience is quite personal” reflected Brittanie.

“I’ve never been to the NT, WA or Tasmania. I’m looking forward to visiting there when the production continues. I hope that everyone, particularly the youth, will enjoy this story. It may even inspire them to get involved in the arts too” she ended.

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