The Art House presents

My Urrwai by Ghenoa Gela

20 Aug 2019 Showing at The Art House Studio

Info Cast & Creatives Gallery Reviews


Ghenoa Gela - little sister, daughter, granddaughter, comic, teacher, fighter, gold medallist, air guitarist, charmer, TV star, Torres Strait mainlander, walking political statement – has made a show.

This is your invitation into the complex political, social, colonial and cultural expectations she navigates every day.

Ghenoa is a recipient of both the renowned Keir Choreographic Award and the Deadly Funny Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award. Laughter and deep reflection go hand in hand in this unique and intimate story told through movement and words.

“My Urrwai is exquisitely simple storytelling of immense meaning and purpose; engaging, entertaining and enlightening” – Sydney Arts Guide




My Urrwai is produced by Performing Lines, in association with ILBIJERRI Theatre, the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts its arts funding and advocacy body, and the New South Wales Government through Create NSW. Originally co-produced by Belvoir and Performing Lines in association with ILBIJERRI Theatre and Sydney Festival.

Cast & Creatives

Ghenoa Gela | Creator & Performer

Koedal (Crocodile) and Waumer (Frigate Bird) woman Ghenoa Gela is a strong Torres Strait Islander from Rockhampton, Central Queensland. Her background is in Torres Strait Islander dancing and since receiving a Diploma in Careers in Dance, she has been a Sydney based Independent Performing Artist working across several mediums including Dance, Circus, Television and Stage.

Her one-woman show, My Urrwai, premieres as part of the 2018 Sydney Festival at Belvoir St Theatre Downstairs.

Some of her other credits include: Mura Buai – Everyone, Everyone, Choreographer/Co-Director with Artistic Director Danielle Micich; Nothing to Lose (Force Majeure), additional choreography with Kate Champion; #GenuaGela, Performer/Choreographer/Director (Nula Nura Residency, Performance Space); Move it Mob Style, Choreographer & In-Studio Host; Top 100, So You Think You Can Dance Australia 2014; Dance Site, Booraloola NT, Facilitator; The Piper, (My Darling Patricia), Edinburgh Fringe 2015; Fragments of Malungoka – Women of the Sea (Keir Choreographic Award – winner 2016).

Ghenoa also facilitates dance workshops in urban, regional and remote communities. She has worked in programs such as Young, Black & Deadly, ARMTour and Vibe Alive. Ghenoa has also conducted dance workshops at the inaugural Boomerang Festival, as well as facilitated dance workshops for both regional and remote festivals. One of her highlights was helping to facilitate a program that helped an Aboriginal community to embrace new ways of creating new songs and dances for the future of their community.

Ghenoa has just returned from Edinburgh Fringe, where she performed with award winning show, Hot Brown Honey and is now looking forward to her next big adventure which will take her to Noumea with Broom based dance, theatre company Marrugeku for the first creative development of their new work.

Ghenoa’s arts practice is inspired by her family stories and her passion to share her Torres Strait Islander culture. She aspires to inspire.

Creator/Performer Ghenoa Gela
Director Rachael Maza
Dramaturg Kate Champion
Composer Ania Reynolds
Lighting Designer Niklas Pajanti
Set & Costume Designer Michael Hankin
Produced by Performing Lines in association with ILBIJERRI Theatre
Originally co-produced by Belvoir and Performing Lines in association with ILBIJERRI Theatre and Sydney Festival


The Sydney Morning Herald | Joyce Morgan | 23 January 2018 


“Gela is a dancer, but she is also a vivid storyteller with a forceful dramatic presence.”

“ …there are certainly many comic moments... But this is far more than a light-weight coming-of-age tale.”

“Her ability to make you share her joys, sorrows and anger is strong…you feel what it is like in her shoes.”

“In just an hour, Gela covers a lot of ground – from the impact of Christianity on island life, to a critique of arts funding and training – as she navigates her way between traditional and contemporary worlds.”

Audrey Journal | Jason Blake | 24 January 2018

“Ghenoa Gela invites her audience to take a walk in her shoes in this spellbinding biographical monologue.”

“Many in the audience were momentarily stunned by the reality check.”

“Employing her skills as a dancer, comedian, choreographer and actor, Gela charms her crowd with vivid storytelling, self-deprecating humour and wide-open expressivity under a sky of shifting colours”

“…you can’t help but root for her”

Timeout Sydney | Cassie Tongue | 23 January 2018 

“It’s irresistible and with her bright smile, conversational delivery and an excess of charm, you might fall in love with her.”

“…she dances with great intention and great ease, like her body feels best in motion.”
“My Urrwai is an absorbing, swiftly-moving, well-judged performance piece that sparks with intelligence”

“it reminds us that we are not passive – that we have work to do and voices to use to intervene when people are unfairly targeted.”

“Gela … crosses oceans and genres and discusses bigger ideas: the impact of Christianity on Torres Strait Islander culture; the different life experiences for mainland-born TSI peoples and those who live on the islands; discrimination at school and in the arts; casual racism; the way many white Australians assume Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are all one. It isn’t overwhelming, but we’re left with a lot to think about.”


The Art House Studio


Tue 20 Aug 2019 - 11AM

Tue 20 Aug 2019 - 8PM

Important Information

Show duration: 1 hour


Adult: $25.00
Child: $20.00
Family (4): $75

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