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Miranda Tapsell: Top End Girl

‘The Territory has never left me. It's the place I go to when I want to feel whole again.’

Actor, writer and producer Miranda Tapsell is a beloved figure of Australian screen culture. She’s a familiar face on television – with credits on Love Child, Get Krack!n, Play School, Newton’s Law, Cleverman and Wolf Creek, among others – and she starred in the globally successful film The Sapphires.

With her close friend, comedian and playwright Nakkiah Lui, she helmed the BuzzFeed podcast Pretty for an Aboriginal. Last year, she starred in the box office hit Top End Wedding – which she also wrote and produced. The film draws together comedy, romance and Country, and challenges perceptions and on-screen representations of First Nations people, especially women. She made the film while planning her own wedding.

Tapsell’s latest project is Top End Girl, a thoughtful memoir chronicling the process of making Top End Wedding, and the stories and ideas that animate it. In conversation with Lui, she joins us to talk about her lifelong passion for storytelling, community and culture.

This live-stream comes to you from the traditional lands of the Kulin Nation. The Wheeler Centre acknowledges their elders past, present and emerging. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to the elders of all lands this broadcast reaches.

Miranda Tapsell: Top End Girl

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Portrait of Miranda Tapsell

Miranda Tapsell

Miranda Tapsell was born in Darwin and her people are the Larrakia. She grew up in Kakadu National Park and began performing at the age of seven. At 16, she won the Bell Shakespeare Company regional performance scholarship. After finishing school, she was accepted to study at NIDA full-time, and since graduating has built a stellar career on stage, screen and television.

After a starring role the world-renowned film The Sapphires, Miranda received two Logie Awards for her role in Love Child. A career highlight saw Miranda cast as the new host of the perennial favourite children's series, Play School. Recently, she has had roles on Channel 9's Doctor Doctor, ABC's comedy Get Krackin', legal drama Newton's Law for ABCTV, Foxtel's Secret City as well as ABCTV's Cleverman and Stan's Wolf Creek.

She wrote, produced and starred in the box office hit Top End Wedding and has her own podcast on BuzzFeed, Pretty for an Aboriginal, with Nakkiah Lui, which rocks the traditional perceptions of Indigenous Australia and challenges rigid mindsets of what women of colour can and cannot do. Top End Girl is her literary debut.

Portrait of Nakkiah Lui

Nakkiah Lui

Nakkiah Lui is a writer/actor and Gamillaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman. She is a co-writer and star of ABC's Black Comedy. She has been an artist in residence at Griffin Theatre Company (2013) and was playwright in residence at Belvoir Theatre from 2012–14. In 2012, Nakkiah was the first recipient of The Dreaming Award from The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Arts Board of the Australia Council. The same year, Nakkiah was also the inaugural recipient of the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright Award. In 2014, Nakkiah was the recipient of the Malcolm Robertson Prize and a Green Room Award for Best Independent Production. Most recently Nakkiah won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award 2018, Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting for Black is the New White. 


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