In memorial: Ningali Lawford-Wolf, a powerhouse for the mob

12th March 2022

Please note, this article contains the name and photo of someone who has passed away. This photo has been approved for use by Mrs Lawford-Wolf’s family.

Beginning her life under the shade of a tree in Christmas Creek Station in far-north Kimberley, Wangkatjunka woman, Ningali Lawford-Wolf spent her last days commanding the stage halfway across the world.

A woman who embodied strength, power and beauty, Mrs Lawford-Wolf passed away on Sunday August 11 after falling ill whilst touring Sydney Theatre Company’s (STC) production of The Secret River in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The award-winning actress and Australian icon is most commonly known for her screen roles in Rabbit-Proof Fence, Bran Nue Daeand Last Cab to Darwin.

Mrs Lawford-Wolf began her career dancing with Sydney’s Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre and Bangarra Dance Theatre.

She was a powerful spirit on the stage, winning Greenroom’s Best Actress award for her one-woman show, Ningali in 1994.

Mrs Lawford-Wolf also received awards for her performances in productions such as Aliwa, Uncle Vanya and Jandamarra, and has worked with Sydney’s Belvoir St Theatre and Perth’s Black Swan State Theatre Company.

The actress’ relationship with The Secret River began in 2013 when she took on a key role working with Andrew Bovell and Neil Armfield to develop STC’s production.

In its return in 2016, Mrs Lawford-Wolf took the role of narrator – performing at Adelaide Festival in 2017 and Edinburgh International Festival this year.

STC remembers Mrs Lawford-Wolf as one of Australian theatre’s greatest treasures.

“Ningali was an incredible talented performer, as well as a wonderfully caring and thoughtful person,” STC said in a joint statement with Ms Lawford-Wolf’s family.