Stolen (play)

Stolen (play)

"Stolen" is a play by Australian playwright Jane Harrison. It is based upon the lives of five indigenous people who dealt with the issues for forceful removal by the Australian government.


"Stolen" tells the story of five Aboriginal children, who go by the names of Sandy, Ruby, Jimmy, Anne, and Shirley.

Sandy has spent his entire life on the run, never having a set home to live in. "Stolen" tracks his quest for a place to be, a place where he doesn’t have keep hiding from the government (even though they are no longer after him), and a place he can call home.

Ruby was forced to work as a domestic from a young age, and was sent insane by the constant pressure forced upon her by her white masters. She spends a lot of her time mumbling to herself, whilst her family desperately try to help her.

Jimmy was separated from his mother at a very young age, and she spent her entire life looking for him. He spent a lot of time in prison, and on the day he finally got out, he was told about his mother’s search. As he went to meet her, she died, and he committed suicide in anger.

Anne was removed from her family and placed in a Caucasian family’s home. She was materially happy in this home, a lot happier then many of the other characters, but when her indigenous family tried to meet her, she was caught in crossfire between her two “families”.

Shirley was removed from her parents, and had her children removed from her. She only felt relief, safety, and comfort when her granddaughter was born, and not removed.

Writing style

The play is split between the stories of the five characters, both as children and as adults. It leaps backwards and forwards through time without warning, and changes location quite dramatically. In one scene, the five children may be in a schoolyard, and in the next scene, one adult may be alone in their room. Because of these elements, which aren’t found in many plays, Stolen is a favourite on high school syllabi.

Original cast and crew

Stolen was performed at The C.U.B. Malthouse, Melbourne, on 21 October 1998, with the following cast and crew:

* Anne - Tammy Anderson
* Ruby - Kylie Belling
* Jimmy - Tony Briggs
* Shirley - Pauline Whyman
* Sandy - Stan Yarramunua

* Director - Wesley Enoch
* Designer - Richard Roberts
* Lighting Designer - Matt Scott
* Composer - David Chesworth

All of the other parts in the play (mainly offstage voices) were played by one of the five actors/actresses mentioned above.


"Stolen" toured extensively throughout Australia. On top of its seven years in Melbourne (starting in 1998), it was also performed in Sydney, Adelaide, regional Victoria, Tasmania, the UK, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. Furthermore, readings were performed in Canada and New York.J. Harrison (2000) "Stolen". Strawberry Hills (NSW): Currency Press (Author’s biography on 1st page) ] .


"Stolen" won (along with "Aliwa!" by Dallas Wimmar) the Kate Challis RAKA award in 1998, on the back of largely successful first season

"Stolen" was studied on the VCE English syllabus, and the New South Wales HSC syllabus. Many other schools throughout Australia have also placed "Stolen" on their English curriculum.


See also

*Stolen Generations

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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