Belvoir has announced Yuin actor, writer, theatre-maker Jorjia Gillis as its 2020 Balnaves Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellow. As part of the $25,000 paid residency, Gillis will work at Belvoir as a resident artist to develop a new work for the stage.

Jorjia Gillis Jorjia Gillis. Photo © Luke Currie-Richardson

“I’m excited and honoured to be the 2020 Balnaves Fellowship recipient. Fifteen-year-old Jorjia would be very proud right now,” said Gillis, who is a proud Saltwater woman of the Budawang tribe of the Yuin nation from the South Coast of NSW. “I look to all the storytellers who have come before me and who have paved the way, previous recipients like Leah Purcell who have mentored and inspired me as an artist.”

Gillis’ new play, billed as a “sentimental comedy about family, community and moving forward by stepping back into the past”, tells the story of Cassandra, who – about to make history as the first Aboriginal female Artistic Director of a major theatre company – is called back to her hometown on the coast with some pressing family news.