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Is That You, Ruthie? and Bittersweet Journey by Ruth Hegarty optioned for screen and stage by Oombarra Productions
Posted 12.01.2024

Is That You, Ruthie? and Bittersweet Journey by Ruth Hegarty optioned for screen and stage by Oombarra Productions

Oombarra Productions has licensed the film and stage rights to Dr Ruth Hegarty’s David Unaipon award-winning novel, Is That You, Ruthie?, and the film rights to Hegarty’s Bittersweet Journey, from UQP, in a deal brokered by Erin Sandiford and Louise McCall. The stage adaptation of Is That You, Ruthie?, written and directed by award-winning playwright and director, Leah Purcell AM, and starring Melodie Reynolds-Diarra and Chenoa Deemal, played at Queensland Performing Arts Centre in December 2023 (see here).

QPAC’s synopsis reads, “The adaptation of Dr Ruth Hegarty’s David Unaipon award-winning novel Is That You, Ruthie? for the stage by Leah Purcell shares a personal and profound chapter of Australia’s truth-telling history. We witness a relationship forever altered by the dormitory system’s cruel legacy. Though they tried to rebuild what was lost, the bond between mother and daughter would never be the same.”

Said Leah Purcell:

“Embarking on the extraordinary journey of bringing Dr Ruth Hegarty’s 94-year life story to the stage is an unparalleled privilege and a pivotal moment in my career as a writer/ director. Navigating the intricate details and assuming the responsibility of conveying her narrative with the utmost respect is a professional milestone. This venture echoes the intensity of my earlier work on Box The Pony, marking an unparalleled commitment to ensuring the authenticity and resonance of this production.”

Said Aunty Ruth Hegarty:

“To have Leah take that story and adapt and translate it to stage has given it new life and sounds beyond my imagination. I am a storyteller but she is a creative artist and together we have built something that will hopefully resonate and educate the wider community about the rules and regulations that dictated every aspect of mine and my mother’s life under the ‘Act’.”

UQP Publishing Director Madonna Duffy says,

‘UQP has had 'Is That You, Ruthie?' continuously in print since its first publication in 1999 and we are pleased to be bringing it to new audiences in our First Nations Classics series in June 2024 with an introduction by Dr Jackie Huggins.'