Black Brass

Mararo Wangai

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.

Expertly acted and sung with passion, the synchronicity of these performers is outstanding.”

Stages Whispers

With this work, Wangai comes to the fore and takes his rightful place as one of the city’s essential creative voices and most gifted performers. Black Brass is music to our ears.”


The music was certainly the star of the show (…) and  Selimane’s BB King-esque performance is a true experience.”

The West Australian

Audience Engagment

Black Brass offers a powerful new work and a model for attracting Culturally Diverse audiences, enabling venues and presenters to connect with their local communities of colour, especially those from an African background, to curate the pre and post-show experiences.
Through both the performance and surrounding community engagement, Black Brass is a community ‘take-over’ and celebration event providing multiple access points for the presenting venues and touring artists to meaningfully engage with local artists, sector and audience for a genuine season of storytelling, listening and sharing. This will open up opportunities for local artists to get involved.


Writer, Performer & Creator
Mararo Wangai

Director & Co-creator
Matt Edgerton

Afeif Ismail

Script Editors
Sisonke Mismang and Zainab Syed

Musician and Composer
Mahamudo Selimane

Set and Costume Designer
Zoe Atkinson

Lighting Designer
Lucy Birkinshaw

Sound Designer
Tim Collins

Creative Producer
Zainab Syed

Production Manager
Ben Nelson

Stage Manager
Rose Liggins

Community Engagement Coordinator
Imara Mandred

Foyer installation
Cecile Lucas, Imara Mandred, Alex Desebrock and Daisy Sanders

Produced by
Performing Lines WA

Co-created by
Mararo Wangai and Matt Edgerton

Information for Presenters

After a highly-acclaimed premiere season at Perth Festival in March 2021, we are now seeking interest from national and international presenters.

70min, no interval

Performed in English with songs in Swahili, Lingala and French
Recommended for ages 15yrs+
Contains coarse language, loud sounds and cigarette smoking.

Full-length documentation video available on request

>>Download the Infosheet
>>Download the Tech Specs
>>Download the Marketing Pack


Jen Leys Producer
Jeremy Smith Senior Producer

Presentation History

Perth Festival
Perth, WA
View full Presentation History

Full Presentation History for Black Brass

Perth Festival
Perth, WA
Belvoir, Sydney Festival
Sydney, NSW
Albany Entertainment Centre
Albany, WA
Queens Park Theatre
Geraldton, WA

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.

Photos by Christophe Canato.

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

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