NORPA announces Rhoda Roberts AO in a powerful storytelling of ‘My Cousin Frank’

Join creative powerhouse Rhoda Roberts AO as she shares tales of her cousin Francis “Frank” Roberts, whose fight in the boxing ring mirrored his fight for his family and his culture. These are yarns about the places we call home, our shared past, and aspirations for a new tomorrow. ‘My Cousin Frank’ sheds light on the rich history of the Northern Rivers and tells the story of the fighting Roberts family of Lismore and Australia’s first Aboriginal Olympian.

24 August – Starcourt Theatre, Lismore
30, 31 August – Byron Theatre, Byron Bay
Tickets on sale now at norpa.org.au

Francis ‘Frank’ Roberts spent his entire life fighting. A boxing champion, he was the first Aboriginal Olympian, and respected for his contribution to the ‘sweet science’ in Australia. Outside the ring, the man they called “Honest Frank” fought tirelessly for his family and culture.

Rhoda Roberts AO takes to the stage in August for an evening of personal storytelling as she shares tales of her first cousin Frank, a Widjabul Wia-bal and Githabul man from Cubawee (a self-managed Aboriginal settlement), and the irrepressible Roberts family of Lismore.

Directed by Kirk Page, Rhoda brings the fighting spirit of Frank and her mob to life on stage with My Cousin Frank as she recalls a family’s journey from the tumultuous era of dispersal and silence to navigating a world controlled by Government policy.

“These are important stories about the places we call home, our shared past, and aspirations for a better tomorrow,” says Rhoda Roberts. “The Roberts fighting family of Lismore story is set in a time where poverty, authoritarian control ruled, enforced by the Government’s Aborigines Protection Board policies. Through the richness of love and the Roberts work ethic, Frank rose above this and was the pinnacle of athletic achievement entering the new world of the Olympic Games. I am so proud to be telling an element of our family story.”

Powerful, enlightening and entertaining, My Cousin Frank is an unmissable experience with one of Australia’s greatest artistic and cultural leaders, Rhoda Roberts AO. This event has been made to develop the new NORPA production First Aboriginal Olympian, coming to the stage in 2025. Be part of the creative journey!

About Rhoda Roberts AO

Portrait of Rhoda Roberts by Kate Holmes Photographer

Rhoda Roberts AO is a Widjabul Wia-bal woman of the Bundjalung Nation. She is an award-winning producer, artistic director, journalist, broadcaster, actor and arts advisor who continues to make a vital contribution to the media, performing and Indigenous arts in Australia. Amongst her many achievements Rhoda co-founded Australia’s first national Aboriginal theatre company, was the first Aboriginal presenter on prime-time TV, founded and directed the Festival of Dreaming and was Head of First Nations Programming for the Sydney Opera House. She was awarded an Order of Australia in 2016 for distinguished service to the performing arts. Rhoda is NORPA’s Creative Director of First Nations, Creative Director of the Parrtjima Festival in Alice Springs and Director of the Boomerang Festival.

My Cousin Frank credits
Writer/performer – Rhoda Roberts AO | Director – Kirk Page
AV Design – Jahvis Loveday | Sound Design – Damian Robinson

NORPA presents My Cousin Frank
Written and performed by Rhoda Roberts
Directed by Kirk Page
Sat 24 August – 2pm & 7.30pm – Star Court Theatre, Lismore
Sat 30 & Sun 31 August – 2pm (sat only) & 7:30pm – Byron Theatre, Byron Bay
Tickets on sale now at www.norpa.org.au

My Cousin Frank is supported by Creative Australia and Create NSW. This project was also made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, which supports the arts in regional and remote Australia.