Hauntingly Beautiful – Children of the Black Skirt

If you’re looking for a hauntingly beautiful Australian classic, Angela Betzien’s Children of the Black Skirt is an absolute must-see. This production was first performed 20 years ago by a group of young art graduates after approaching the Queensland Art Council, proposing a way to tell real Australian stories.

Time has not aged this piece as it’s just as relevant today. It’s being performed at The Curators Theatre at Milton’s Christ Church, by the Lost Child Ensemble, right under the wing of Suncorp Stadium. The team has fought pandemics, fires, and floods to put this performance together. It runs for 60 minutes with a 15-minute Q&A with the cast and crew at the end.

Five young children find an abandoned orphanage, and the spirits stuck inside possess them as vessels to tell their long-lost stories in hopes of finally being free. Throughout the play, four children are under the ever-watching eye of the Black Skirt, Emily Greenant (Lisa Hickey), cycling through the stories of different spirits who had suffered in her charge.

The talented Mikeal Bobart, Shahnee Hunter, Malika Savoury, and Vivien Whittle play the four children. Choosing anyone as a stand-out performer is nearly impossible as they all put on incredible performances.

The soundscape is unnerving, with children’s songs and bird calls mixed with reverse clips of children playing. It sets the scene perfectly and sits comfortably with the gothic quality of the Church.

Bill Haycock and Peter Goodwin worked incredibly well together on the set and sound, but one cannot give enough praise to Helen Strube for bringing it all together in the end. Props must also be given to the church for hosting such a harsh critique of institutional abuse in Australia’s history.

If you have the time for a Gothic fairytale, Children of the Black Skirt cannot be recommended highly enough.

With the production running for just one more week, be sure to get tickets for any one of the following sessions at The Curators Theatre:-

  • Wed 19 July, Matinee 12.30 pm
  • Wed 19 July, Evening 7.30 pm
  • Thurs 20 July, Matinee 12.30 pm
  • Thurs 20 July Evening 7.30 pm
  • Fri 21 July Matinee 12.30 pm
  • Fri 21 July Evening 7.30 pm
  • Sat 22 July, Matinee 12.30 pm
  • Sun 23 July Twilight 5.30 pm
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