A unique adaptation of a classic tale of love, jealousy, betrayal and revenge showcases First Nations languages.

First Nations male actor holds hands with a female actor on stage during a performance. Sheer curtains surround them and the stage is lit in purple lights.

Queensland Theatre and Cairns Indigenous Art Fair's production of Othello has pushed the boundaries of Shakespeare and celebrated First Nations culture.

The production premiered as part of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and Brisbane Festival in 2022, featuring Kala Lagaw Ya, Yumplatok and Shakespearean English.

Partly funded through our Indigenous Language and the Arts (ILA) program, the play is a Winner of the Partnership category in the 2023 Queensland Reconciliation Awards.

This creative version of the play was set between Cairns and the Torres Strait during World War II, when over 800 Torres Strait Islanders were enlisted to defend their country.

Exploring the cultural impact of the conflict on Far North Queensland, it featured exceptional performances from Jimi Bani and Jason Klarwein.

It included many untold stories from Australia's military history such as the story of Jimi Bani's Grandfather, the late Solomon Gela, who fought in the battle on Horn Island.

Protecting First Nations art is pivotal to Australia's National Cultural Policy—Revive: a place for every story, a story for every place.

Photos: Paul Furse.