Black Brass

Mararo Wangai
4–7 March
Perth Festival
Perth, WA

My hope is to challenge contemporary notions of resilience; that one must ‘overcome’ in a big or dramatic way. By reaching out to people on the fringes of society and bringing to light their narratives, I hope to create a work that speaks to the whole rather than the few.
Mararo Wangai

A stirring deliberation on the choices we make and how they shape our lives, Black Brass is a theatrical feast; playful yet mysterious. Written and performed by Mararo Wangai, joined live onstage by musician Mahamudo Selimane, this intimate and soulful experience celebrates stories of resilience – private victories rather than public actions.

Arriving to clean a music studio late at night, Sleeper encounters a stranger who speaks only in music. The man is fascinating and oddly familiar. Slowly the pair are drawn into each other’s orbit, as each man tries to reconcile a past that refuses to let go and a present that is unwilling to accept. Through flashback narrative and music, moments of darkness are tempered by soulful songs as the pair hurtles towards a pivotal decision that must be made come sunrise.

Black Brass draws inspiration from interviews conducted with Perth’s Zimbabwean, Sudanese, South African, Central Congo, Mauritius, Nigerian, Congolese and Kenyan communities on the theme of resilience. Through its story it gives voice to the marginalised, offering a window into the lives and voices not often heard in the theatre.

In the wake of Black Lives Matter, and the public discussion around representation – around opportunity and freedom, Black Brass gives voice to the marginalized. Offering an intimate and nuanced window into the lives of many groups within and beyond Perth who must tap into huge reserves of resilience every day to stay afloat and to keep moving forward. We do not hear much about these voices, about the energy required to get through each day. They only seem to be given space after extreme incidents occur – white supremacist rallies, police brutality, election propaganda, etc. In highlighting one journey, Black Brass celebrates those that continue to walk this fine line between a present that struggles to accept and a past that refuses to let go. And in doing so, makes space for voices whose stories are equal parts vulnerable, resilient and worthy.


Writer and Performer
Mararo Wangai

Matt Edgerton

Afeif Ismail and Matt Edgerton

Musician and Composer
Mahamudo Selimane

Set and Costume Designer
Zoe Atkinson

Lighting Designer
Lucy Birkinshaw

Sound Designer
Tim Collins

Production Manager
Ben Nelson

Stage Manager
Rose Liggins

Community Engagement Coordinator
Imara Mandred

Produced by
Performing Lines WA

Concept by Mararo Wangai
Script developed with support from Afeif Ismail and Matt Edgerton

Current dates & tickets

4–7 March
Perth Festival
Perth, WA
Book now

Information for Presenters

This work will premiere at the 2021 Perth Festival.

Dates & Times: Wed – Sat 7.30pm | Sun 6pm
Post-show Q&A on Thu 25 Feb

Venue: Studio Underground, 174 – 176 William Street, Perth / Yandilup

Duration: 60 mins | Latecomers not admitted.


  • Audio-described performance Sat 27 Feb 7.30pm
  • Tactile tour available before the show on Sat 27 Feb 7.30pm
  • Auslan interpreted performance Thu 25 Feb 7.30pm

Performed in English with songs in Swahili, Lingala and French
Contains coarse language and loud sounds.

Zainab Syed Producer

Project Partners & Acknowledgements

Produced by Performing Lines WA, Black Brass creative development was supported by the WA Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Lotterywest and Fremantle Arts Centre.

The world­ premiere of the work was co-commissioned and presented by Perth Festival.

In everything we do, we acknowledge that we live on Aboriginal land and constantly learn from the wisdom of our First Peoples.

Where we are and the history that precedes us informs how we work and how we move forward.