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Is That You, Ruthie?


  • Sat 2 Dec 2023, 7:00pm–8:30pm
  • Tue 5 Dec 2023, 7:00pm–8:30pm
  • Thu 7 Dec 2023, 7:00pm–8:30pm
  • Fri 8 Dec 2023, 7:00pm–8:30pm
  • Sat 9 Dec 2023, 1:00pm–2:30pm
  • Sat 9 Dec 2023, 7:00pm–8:30pm




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Buthalangi and Munya’s story.
A mother and daughter’s journey back.

Written and Directed by Leah Purcell.

Based on the books Is That You, Ruthie? – first published by the University of Queensland Press in 1999 – and Buthalangi: A Maranoa Woman written by Dr Ruth Hegarty.

Is That You, Ruthie? is a poignant exploration of a mother and daughter’s enduring connection; a deeply moving play that delves into the complex aftermath of a government removal policy that separated a mother (Ruby) and daughter (Ruthie) from 1930 to 1957, leaving scars that could never fully heal.

The adaptation of Dr Ruth Hegarty’s David Unaipon award-winning novel Is That You, Ruthie? for the stage by Leah Purcell shares a personal and profound chapter of Australia’s truth-telling history. We witness a relationship forever altered by the dormitory system’s cruel legacy. Though they tried to rebuild what was lost, the bond between mother and daughter would never be the same.

Ruthie’s story – of separation from her mother – is not unique. What she endured, affected many young First Nations girls and boys across Australia.

Is That You, Ruthie? is a raw and heartfelt portrayal of two souls navigating the depths of their shared history. It's a story of resilience, courage, and the enduring human spirit. We delve into the complexities of family ties, and discover whether the estranged love of a mother and daughter can bridge the gaps that time and tragedy have carved.

An unforgettable and timely journey through the pages of Australia’s past.

Two hearts breaking
Silently waiting to touch
No one hearing the sounds
Unable to see the tears
Across the large rooms
Their silence pounds
A message of love breaks
Their hearts – explode
Not hearing
Yet knowing
I am here.

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