WAY FORWARD: Goonellabah actor and storyteller Crystal Bock and, below, a still from the indigenous musical film The Sapphires.
WAY FORWARD: Goonellabah actor and storyteller Crystal Bock and, below, a still from the indigenous musical film The Sapphires. Jacklyn Wagner

Sparkling Sapphires

IN THE wake of indigenous musical film The Sapphires hitting the big time at the AACTA Awards in Sydney, one local indigenous actor is over the moon to see this story shared and revered.

Crystal Bock, 27, of Goonellabah, said she's pleased to see indigenous theatre and film growing and reaching this level of acknowledgement after The Sapphires won 11 AACTA Awards.

The musical won five awards in technical categories and another six at the main event, including best film, best director (Wayne Blair), best lead actress (Deborah Mailman), best lead actor (Irishman Chris O'Dowd) and best supporting actress (Jessica Mauboy).

"The success of The Sapphires is such a wonderful recognition for indigenous stories and history," Ms Bock said. "Theatre and performance with indigenous stories - it's the same as storytelling, which has continued on in indigenous culture since the beginning.

"It's continuing the indigenous culture of history and culture in modernsociety."

Ms Bock, whose mother is an Aboriginal woman of the Wonarua peoples from the Hunter Valley, and whose grandmother was part of the Stolen Generations, has lived in the Lismore area her whole life, and said, while watching The Sapphires, she was identifying with character Kay, who is fair-skinned like herself.

She said she recognised the flack Kay received from other people, especially from other indigenous people, in what Ms Bock calls "internalised racism".

Ms Bock's love for performing began when she was studying at Lismore High School, before she went on to study at the Actors Conservatory in Brisbane for six months, then falling pregnant with her son, Elliot, now five.

Ms Bock is performing in the production of The Vagina Monologues with Lismore Theatre Company, which begins showing on February 14. She said she would "absolutely" like to be involved in more indigenous productions in the future, and was excited by talks about the possibility of an indigenous theatre company starting up in Lismore.

Ms Bock encourages any other young indigenous girls and boys who aspire to be part of indigenous theatre and film.

"Follow your heart and stay true to what you want to do," she said.



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