Black Birds

Black Birds

 Emele Ugavule & Ayeesha Ash in Black Birds. Photo: Joshua Bentley

Emele Ugavule & Ayeesha Ash in Black Birds. Photo: Joshua Bentley

“This is theatre designed to provoke and to create empathy. And it succeeds.” - TimeOut, Sydney

Sometimes it’s easier to choose your own adventure.
Black Birds is a performance about home, belonging and most importantly hair. It may not be about everyone’s hair, but everyone is certainly welcome.

Emele Ugavule and Ayeesha Ash have a few things in common; names that seem difficult to pronounce, hair and the colour of their skin. The list could continue but nothing unites them more than their experiences as brown gals with Afros. Is their hair so big because it’s full of secrets? Find out as they discuss, explore and offer a vision for what it means to be a woman of colour in modern day Australia.

Adding spice to the traditional theatrical form and reimagining the rule book, this show blends music, movement, spoken word and real stories to create an intimate, unexpected and at times irreverent performance experience.


Written, Directed and Performed by Emele Ugavule and Ayeesha Ash

Dramaturg Sopa Enari
Choreographer Sarah Vai
Set and Costume Design Tyler Hawkins

Sound Design Ben Pierpoint
Lighting Designer Amber Silk

Production Manager Geoff & Ben Turner Producer Company Q



Black Birds was developed and produced through The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre's Q Lab residency & the Q Theatre.

“The show, which previewed as part of WITS’ Festival Fatale in 2016 with a conversational air and a quick laugh, has evolved – and in many ways hardened – into a stronger, more confronting work. That’s not to say it isn’t funny. It sparks with wit, but that wit is now a weapon and a source of strength.”
TimeOut, Sydney
— TimeOut, Sydney
“The show isn’t so much a play, or a talk, or anything like theatre goers are used to. Instead, it’s a mixture of music and stories, dancing and poetry. It’s frenetic, it’s fast-paced — it’s life.”
— Concrete Playground