VCE Literature

Theatre Excursion

Matriarch – Sandy Greenwood


On the 14th of February, the Year 11 and 12 Literature classes visited St Albans Community Centre and watched Sandy Greenwood’s powerful, one-woman show “Matriarch”, followed by an ‘In Conversation’ which was hosted by Jacqueline Watkins.


Sandy Greenwood used spoken word, dance, music and multimedia to bring together the stories of four generations of Gumbaynggirr women in her family, from the 1940s to the present day. Greenwood herself said that the play is about “honouring [her] matriarchs; the strong and graceful women of [her] direct lineage; [she] is her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother”.


She used both a contemporary and traditional lens to give the audience an insight into the traditional ways of life of Indigenous people and to explore the intergenerational trauma that has haunted her family as a result of the deeply traumatic and violent experiences that her relatives suffered, specifically the long-lasting effects that the stolen generation has had on her and her family.


She described the difficulties of growing up “as a fair-skinned, black woman who looks white but was raised black” and how she has “always existed between two worlds”. She demonstrates - through her heart wrenching yet sometimes humorous play - how her family’s traditions, experiences, memories and trauma has shaped her identity and the woman that she is today.


During the Q and A, we had an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Sandra Greenwood’s life and experiences, Indigenous history and tradition.


Overall, this was a truly wonderful and insightful experience for all of the students, teachers and other people who attended.


Alexandra M, Year 11