STATEMENT BY THE FAMILY OF NINGALI LAWFORD-WOLF

On behalf of Ningali Lawford Wolf’s family, we respectfully ask all of community to support the decision for Sydney Theatre Company and the cast members in continuing to perform the production of The Secret River while on tour in the United Kingdom. 

Ningali absolutely loved to perform and it was her vibrant, deep and meaningful connection to her fellow actors and the audience that made her such an acclaimed actress. 

Ningali’s passion for her craft was only exceeded by the love of her family and her culture. Her ties and knowledge on a cultural level were immense and this gave her the ability to speak authoritatively and to walk in two worlds. 

Sydney Theatre Company in the time of our deepest sorrow has done everything in its power to help ease our suffering compassionately and respectfully. At the time of Ningali’s hospitalisation STC were more than prepared to cancel the show immediately and asked for our advice. 

Knowing Ningali as we do. We know with absolute certainty and with the blessing of her kids, that Ningali would have wanted more than anything for the show to continue in her absence. She was indeed one of the creators of The Secret River and to her it was vitally important that the story be told to remind us of the injustices of the past but also of the need for healing and mutual respect in the present and the future. 

We are now in the process of bringing Ningali home to rest in the Traditional Country of her ancestors. We want to thank everyone so much for the outpouring of love and sympathy that we have received. We will never forget it and we will never forget STC, Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary staff, in their willingness to do all they can to ease our pain in the most respectful and helpful way possible. 

Ningali spent her life building bridges of friendship and love between Indigenous and mainstream Australia. We acknowledge and respect the decision of the STC to tell The Secret River story to honour Ningali and her legacy.