By John Harvey & Tainui Tukiwaho

BLACK TIES Thu 13 Feb - Sun 16 Feb Studio Underground Thu 13 Feb - Sun 16 Feb Studio Underground $25 - $59 + BF
Ticket info Buy Tickets
Thu 13 Feb - Sun 16 Feb at Studio Underground, from $25 - $59 + BF

'A sharp, funny version… masterfully – and mischievously – played.’

THE AUSTRALIAN (on Te Rēhia Theatre’s SolOTHELLO)

A Perth Festival Commission
ILBIJERRI Theatre Company & Te Rehia Theatre

When Māori corporate hotshot Hera and Aboriginal entrepreneur Kane locked eyes at a Cultural Awareness session, it was love at first sight. Ambitious and career focused, Kane and Hera now have their perfect future all mapped out. But there is one thing they can’t control … their families!

As the biggest mob of Aunties, Uncles and cousins from both sides of the ditch get worked up for the blackest wedding ever, reality is sinking in. Fast! Will this international love story bring two strong cultures together? Or will it blow Hera and Kane’s world apart?

BLACK TIES is a hilarious and heart-warming immersive theatre experience that reminds us of the power of love to unite us.

Created by a bold and brilliant team of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori artists and with a peerless cast including Uncle Jack Charles, Mark Coles Smith, Lisa Maza, Tuakoi Ohia and Brady Peet, BLACK TIES re-imagines the popular rom-com wedding from a distinctively First Nations perspective.

Set to a live score of Black anthems and wedding classics, this will be a party to remember happily ever after.

John Harvey & Tainui Tukiwaho
Rachael Maza & Tainui Tukiwaho
Set Designer
Jacob Nash
Composer & Musical Director
Brendon Boney
Lighting Designer
Jane Hakaraia
AV Designer
James Henry
Sound Designer
Laughton Kora
Costume Designer
Te Ura Hoskins
Jack Charles
Mark Coles Smith
Lana Garland
Tawhirangi Macpherson
Lisa Maza
Tuakoi Ohia
Brady Peeti
Tainui Tukiwaho
Dalara Williams
Dion Williams
led By Brendan Boney and featuring Laughton Kora


ILBIJERRI is Australia’s leading and longest running First Nations theatre company. The company creates, presents and tours powerful and engaging theatre creatively controlled by First Nations artists that gives voice to their cultures. Born from community, ILBIJERRI remains grounded in telling the stories of what it means to be First Nations in Australia today. ILBIJERRI supports self-determination for First Nations voices through programs that foster emerging First Nations theatre makers and industry professionals. ILBIJERRI works to reclaim First Nations ways of working within the Australian arts sector, through programs and projects grounded in deep listening with and for community and country. They engage purposefully and promote discussion around key issues facing First Nations community. There is a growing hunger for ILBIJERRI’s work across Australia and around the world, and they are committed to continuing to develop meaningful relationships with audiences through sharing the stories they are uniquely placed to tell.


Established in 2012, Te Rēhia Theatre is a proudly Māori theatre company, championing Māori playwrights, tikanga Māori arts practice and the presentation of diverse stories. Te Rēhia Theatre, named in honour of the atua of leisure is led by Amber Curreen and Tainui Tukiwaho based at Te Pou – The Auckland home of Māori Theatre. The company is passionate about te reo Māori (the Māori language) in theatre and the exploration of innovative ways of telling Māori stories.

JOHN HARVEY (Saibai Island)

John Harvey is the Creative Director of Brown Cabs and is a producer, writer and director across theatre and film. He is the writer of the Green Room nominated and highly acclaimed Heart Is A Wasteland. He has been a recipient of the Footscray Community Arts Centre Writer-In-Residence and in 2018 he was a recipient of the Malthouse Theatre Sydney Myer Fund Tower Residency creating a new theatre work. In the same year he was a recipient of Creative Victoria Creators Fund. He currently has writing commissions with Malthouse Theatre, ILBIJERRI Theatre Company and has a new work in development for Brown Cabs. In 2018 he directed new theatre work A Little Piece Of Heaven for Orana Arts. He has many accomplishments in film including producing feature film Spear, being a producer on The Warriors TV series and has produced numerous First Nation short dramas. He has also directed documentary and short film narratives for screen. 


TAINUI TUKIWAHO (Te Arawa / Tuhoe)
Writer & Director

Tainui Tukiwaho has been a company director, producer, director, actor and writer of Māori theatre for a number of organisations over the last decade, leading Te Rēhia theatre, Takirua and Te Pou Theatre.  His most recent directing credits include Astroman, presented in partnership by Te Rēhia Theatre and Auckland Theatre Company, Māori language play He Tūrū Māu (2018), Albert Belz’s Cradle Song (2018). He has worked with Albert Belz as director and co-creator over many projects since 2008 developing their distinctive comedic style.


RACHAEL MAZA (Meriam Mer / Yidinji)

Rachael Maza is widely known for her wealth of acting, directing and dramaturgical experience across the Australian film, television and theatre industry. Most notably, the AFI (Australian Film Institute) award-winning Radiance, stage production of The Sapphires, as presenter for ABC’s Message Stick and acting coach for multi-award winning Rabbit Proof Fence. Her performances have also been acknowledged with a Green Room Award and Sydney Theatre Critics Circle Award. Maza first worked with ILBIJERRI Theatre Company in 1992, as director of Stolen, and in 2008 joined the company as Artistic Director. Since then she has directed iconic works such as Jack Charles V The Crown (2010), Foley (2011) and Which Way Home (2017). Her contribution has been recognised through multiple awards, including the Touring Legend Drover Award (2017) and the Australia Council of the Arts Award for Theatre (2019), as well as an Honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts from Edith Cowan University (2019).


Set Designer

Jacob Nash graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) Design Course in 2005. In 2010 he designed the set for Bangarra Dance Theatre’s of earth & sky and received a Green Room Award for Best Design in Dance. He was appointed Artist-in-Residence at Bangarra the following year and is now Head of Design. Jacob received a Green Room Award nomination for his unique set design for Bangarra’s season of Belong (2011) and has designed sets for each of their annual productions since. In 2019 he was awarded a Helpmann Award for Best Scenic Design for his powerful and evocative set in Bennelong. Nash was the specialist production designer and creature designer on the critically acclaimed sci-fi TV drama Cleverman season one and production designer and creative designer for season two.


BRENDON BONEY (Wiradjuri / Gamilaroi)
Composer & Musical Director

Brendon Boney has been a recording and performing artist touring the world as part of the act Microwave Jenny for the past decade. He has composed for and performed at festivals such as Bluesfest, Woodford Folk Festival, Festival of the Sun and The Aussie BBQ (UK). His theatre credits include Dubboo Bangarra Dance Theatre - David Page Fellowship, Winyanboga Yurringa Belvoir Theatre - Composer and Sound Designer and Black Cockatoo Ensemble - Assistant Music Supervisor and Sound Design.


JAMES HENRY (Yuwaalaraay / Yorta Yorta)
AV Design

James Henry is involved in many aspects of the music industry: from singer/songwriter to sound engineer to musical director. His diverse skill set has seen him perform as a guitarist on the Black Arm Band tour of the UK and as a choir member and guitarist as part of Archie Roach’s Into the Bloodstream tour. His composition skills have attracted commissions from City of Melbourne to compose for experimental medias. Henry was also musical director of Tanderrum for the 2014 Melbourne Festival, and AFL’s Dreamtime at the ‘G performances. He has also worked with ILBIJERRI as sound designer for the 2017 touring production of Coranderrk.


JANE HAKARAIA (Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga)
Lighting Designer

Jane Hakaraia is a freelance theatre and TV designer. Theatre companies she works with regularly include Auckland Theatre Company, Bullet Heart Club, Silo Theatre and Massive Company. In theatre she is known primarily for lighting design but, in the last few years, has expanded into set design. She also works with Blue Bach Productions as Art Director on their TV offerings and is currently working with Māoriland Film Festival in the design of their outdoor spaces at the Māoriland Hub in Otaki. This year she will be working with all her favourite theatre companies, including Te Rēhia and Auckland Theatre Companies on Astroman and Silo Theatre on Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, both for Auckland Arts Festival. She will also work on Half the Sky and Like a River, I Disagree with Massive, and Owls Do Cry with Red Leap Theatre. She has a degree in design from Unitec and undertook an honours degree in design at AUT.


LAUGHTON KORA (Ngāi Tūhoe / Ngāti Pūkeko)
Sound Designer & Band Member

Laughton Kora has been playing music since the age of six, appearing on stage as part of his father’s band until he was 17 years old, when he won Smokefree rockquest. His band, Aunty Beatrice, toured New Zealand and released a single. He moved to Queenstown and formed Soul Charge with members KP (Sunshine Sound System) and P Digsss (Shapeshifter). In 2001 he headed to Wellington and formed Kora (2003 – 12) with his brothers. He toured extensively with Kora to Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Singapore and the USA. Since 2012 he has forged ahead with his own solo project and has also formed duo Neon Ninja with Andy Keys (ex-Opshop).

Kora attended NZ Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School – and has a bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts. He featured on series two of Songs from the Inside, with Don McGlashan, Anika Moa and Annie Crummer, and starred in TVNZ’s drama series Coverband. He has sound designed Amadeus and Astroman with Auckland Theatre Company.


JACK CHARLES (Boon Wurrung / Dja Dja Wurrung)

Uncle Jack Charles is a beloved and respected elder, actor, musician, potter, writer and gifted performer. He is acknowledged as the grandfather of Aboriginal theatre in Australia and co-founded the first Aboriginal theatre company, Nindethana Theatre, with Bob Maza in 1972. 

Charles’ acting career spans over six decades and has touched many across the globe. He has showcased his work in many nations including Ireland, Japan, New Zealand and the USA. His early career highlights include Cradle of Hercules (Old Tote Theatre); Ben Hall and Rush (ABC TV); and the feature film The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith.

In 2019 Charles memoir, Born-Again Blakfella, was released by Random House, and tells his extraordinary life story.

Jack Charles V The Crown, co-written by Charles and John Romeril, directed by Rachael Maza, was first produced by ILBIJERRI Theatre Company in 2010. The almost entirely autobiographical work Charles was able to bring the lived experience of being a member of the Stolen Generation to the world, with empathy and charm. The production won the Drovers Award for Best as well as a Helpmann Award for Best Regional Touring Production in 2012.

His recent credits include Gods of Wheat Street, Cleverman, Black Comedy, Play School (ABC TV); the feature film Pan (Berlanti Productions, RatPac-Dune Entertainment); and Wolf Creek (Stan). 

In 2009 Charles was awarded the Tudawali Award at the Message Sticks Festival, honouring his lifetime contribution to Indigenous media. He was the recipient of a Green Room Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and in 2016 was named Victorian Senior Australian of the Year. Most recently, Charles was awarded the 2019 Red Ochre Award at the National Indigenous Arts Awards, a prestigious honour that recognises his outstanding contributions to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts in Australia and abroad.



Mark Coles Smith is a Helpmann Award winner for Leah Purcell’s The Drover's Wife and has twice been nominated at the AACTA Awards, for Last Cab to Darwin and Pawno. He also won a Film Critics' Circle of Australia Award for Last Cab to Darwin. His most recent screen credits include Channel Nine's Halifax, ABC TV’s Les Norton, KGB and Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell and Lucy Durack's writing debut, Lift.  He also presented the ABC documentary Will Australia Ever Have a Black Prime Minister? An in-demand voice artist, he voiced the 2018 character of Crash in Call of Duty Black Ops 4, for PlayStation.

Coles Smith works as a sound designer under the alias Kalaji, which is a Nyikina word for 'whirlwind'. His first major experimental work, Night River, played at the 2019 YIRRAMBOI Festival in Melbourne. He has produced across an array of genres and projects, including the sound for Which Way Home (ILBIJERRI Theatre Company 2018). Recent theatre acting credits include Bottomless (fortyfivedownstairs); both seasons of Bliss (Malthouse and Belvoir); and The Man with the Iron Neck (Legs on the Wall Theatre Company). Previous screen credits include the short film Miro, Picnic at Hanging Rock, US series Hunters: Old School, opposite Bryan Brown and Sam Neill, The Gods of Wheat Street, American comedy Modern Family, Hard Rock Medical and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, among others.



Lana Garland has been working as an actor for over 20 years both in theatre and on screen in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Appearing on television in Aotearoa every evening for seven years doing Food in a MInute is probably what she is best known for and she has worked with Te Rēhia theatre presenting the highly popular musical drama Raising The Titanics at festivals throughout New Zealand. What excites her most is the potential of theatre and storytelling to affirm, reflect and transform our community. She has been fortunate to have been cast in many new Māori theatre works, helping to bring Indigenous stories and perspectives to the stage. Being a part of this collaboration between ILBIJERRI and Te Rehia theatre companies is a great next step on her journey and she can’t wait to share it with the world.



Tawhirangi ‘Duchess’ Macpherson is an exciting emerging young talent from Rotorua, New Zealand who is currently studying drama in high school and received her first public review this year after she “impressively played” Tatiana in a Māori adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She is a keen singer and performer who aspires to find a career in stage and screen.


LISA MAZA (Meriam / Yidindji / Dutch)

Lisa Maza has been acting and singing professionally for more than 20 years. Most recently she appeared in the world premiere of The Season (Tasmania Performs) in Sydney, Tasmania and Melbourne, followed by a national regional tour in late 2018. She was awarded Best Supporting Performance (Female) at Tasmania Theatre Awards in 2018 for her portrayal of Aunty Marlene. Her other credits include The Rabbits (Opera Australia/Barking Gecko) for sold out Perth, Melbourne and Sydney Festival seasons and a short season in Brisbane; Going Through (Castlemaine State Festival); Swanson!!! The Musical!! & Things that Fall Over (Peta Murray & Co); The Sapphires (Company B); Gronks (STC/Zeal); Ingkata (State Opera SA); Yanagai! Yanagai! (MWT/Playbox); Stolen (Playbox/ILBIJERRI); An Evening with Richard Frankland (Sydney Opera House/Adelaide Festival); Enuff (Playbox); Kan Yama Kan (FLN), Corrugation Road (Black Swan) and in one of her earliest performances on stage, in Brisbane 1997, where she played Cressy in Radiance (QTC/Kooemba Jdarra). In 2016 Maza was awarded an Australia Council Fellowship and recently worked as Associate Producer of the 2019 YIRRAMBOI Festival. Most recently, she featured in From Darkness (Co-presented by La Boite & Brisbane Festival).



Tuakoi Ohia is a dynamic and exciting young Māori actress in New Zealand, new to the entertainment industry but already securing some strong roles in TV and now theatre. She was recently cast in Māori TV’s Ahikāroa as the role of Dylan, a standout role in the bi-lingual TV Series and she has recently been cast next to Brady Peeti for Te Rēhia Theatre’s new show Black Ties. This is the beginning of what will be a continuing and successful career for this young wahine.


BRADY PEETI (Te Ati Hau Nui A Paparangi / Ngati Maniapoto)

Brady Peeti is a Takatapui actor and singer hailing from the Whanganui region. They have worked on multiple productions in and around the Auckland region and was awarded the NAPTA Award for Best Supporting Male Actor in a Musical for their role as 'Jimmy' in Dreamgirls. Recent credits include Auckland Theatre Company's Astroman, Fine Fatale's The Heels Are Alive programmed in the Cabaret Festival with Auckland Live and a directorial debut of Sinarella with the Mangere Arts Centre. Peeti’s single of Allen Toussaint's ‘It's Raining’ made it to the top of the 2016 New Zealand Blues Charts twice and their “killer voice” and “soulful vocals” have been praised in productions including Dominion Road The   Musical, Larger than Life and The Wizard of Otahuhu.


TAINUI TUKIWAHO (Te Ararwa / Tuhoe)

Unitec graduate (2001) Tainui Tukiwaho has multiple short films and television shows and theatre productions in Aotearoa and abroad to his name. In 2011 he took on the challenge of playing legendary entertainer Billy T James, for telemovie Billy and other notable roles include Tangiwai – A Love Story, playing Dave's boss in TV series Step Dave and co-starring in feelgood fishing movie The Catch, as a man trying to win a Kaipara fishing contest. His latest work includes The Sounds (2019), Channel 7 comedy Fam Time (2019), The Gulf (2018) and  Fluent in te reo Māori. Tukiwaho also hosted Māori Television talk show O Whakaaro and featured in te reo Māori drama Kōrero Mai.


DALARA WILLIAMS (Wiradjuri / Gumbaynggirr)

Dalara Williams graduated from the prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art in 2017. She made her feature film debut in Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and she has recently completed production on her follow up feature, Victoria Wharfe McIntyre’s The Flood.  Her recent television credits include Get Krack!N and the third and fourth series of Black Comedy for the ABC, which went on to win the 2018 Casting Guild of Australia Award for Best Casting in a TV Comedy. Her short film credits include Last Drinks At Frida’s, which premiered at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival and Origins.

Her stage credits include Winyanboga Yurringa for Belvoir and Blackie Blackie Brown for the Sydney Theatre Company and the Malthouse Theatre. At NIDA her stage credits included Realism, Love And Money directed by Judy Davis, The Season At Sasparilla and Twelfth Night.  She was also awarded the Hazel Treweek Shakespeare Award during her time at NIDA. Prior to NIDA, Williams studied Aboriginal Theatre at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and performed in Crowbones And Carnivores. She also performed as Goneril in The Shadow King, a reworking of Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear as part of Darwin Festival. Her professional acting debut was starring in the Tiwi adaptation of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs; Wulamanayuwi and The Seven Pamaui directed by Eamon Flack which toured nationally.


DION WILLIAMS (Wiradjuri / Wokaman)
Dion Williams hails from Echuca in country Victoria. He played the lead role of Ruben in the Jada Alberts play Brothers Wreck at the Malthouse and Adelaide’s State Theatre and is currently starring in a schools’ production of Black Diggers / The Longest Memory for Complete Works Theatre Company. Williams’ acting career began when he won the role of Marlon in Chris Lilley’s Angry Boys. He was a runner up in Melbourne Comedy Festival’s 2017 stand up competition Deadly Funny. He has played roles in large-scale drama series including a recurring role in the primetime drama The Time of Our Lives and was a lead guest in Redfern Now, both for the ABC. He also played a lead role in the Nine Network’s mini-series Gallipoli. Williams is also an accomplished athlete and footballer.

Time & Location

Thu 13 Feb - Sun 16 Feb

Thu & Fri, 7.30pm | Sat, 2pm & 7.30pm | Sun, 6pm

Studio Underground, 174 - 175 William Street, Perth / Yandilup


2hrs 30mins with interval

    • Adult: $59
    • Concession: $56
    • Friend: $53
    • Student: $25
  • Captioned performance Sat 15 Feb 7:30 pm
  • Audio described performance Sun 16 Feb 6pm
  • Tactile tour Sun 16 Feb 6pm
  • Auslan interpreted performance Fri 14 Feb 7.30pm

Coarse language and loud sounds

Connect Events

Post Show Q&A

Fri 14 Feb

Stay in your seats after the performance to hear from creators and artists in a Q&A session.

Community Partner

Thank you


  • BLACK TIES was commissioned by AsiaTOPA, a joint initiative of the Sidney Myer Fund and Arts Centre Melbourne; and has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative, managed by the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals Inc., Sydney Festival, Perth Festival, NZ Festival of the Arts, Auckland Arts Festival, AsiaTOPA Festival and Brisbane Festival. BLACK TIES is also supported by Creative New Zealand and The Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts & Cultural Development | Faculty of Fine Arts and Music.
  • ILBIJERRI Theatre Company is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and by Creative Victoria and City of Melbourne.


  • Garth Oriander

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