Life On The Job


Indigenous Famous or Historic People

Entertainer: Sean Choolburra 

Sean Choolburra

Sean Choolburra is a warm and charismatic Aboriginal performer and is carving his niche as Australia's only Aboriginal comedian, proving himself a popular and versatile indigenous performer. He is a didgeridoo player, singer, dancer, actor, songwriter, and now one of the fastest rising comedians in the land.

As a comedian, Sean draws on his life experiences as an Aboriginal and blends his skills as a performer into the show to give audiences a blend of hilarious black fella yarns and didge playing. As a comic, Sean draws on his life experiences as an Aboriginal from a small country town trying to adjust to the bright lights of Sydney. He blends his skills as a performer into his routine, to give audiences a blend of hilarious black fella yarns, didgeridoo playing and dancing. Sean Choolburra's Aboriginal heritage is central to his comedy routines and his shows blend music, dance and monologue to create something truly hilarious.

Sean also led one of the first indigenous tours ever to Japan with Ngaru in 1994 and he was the star and co-writer of Australia's first full-length laser movie "Reef Dreaming", which played for three years in Cockle Bay at Darling Harbour in Sydney, on a screen of jet propelled water with laser images through it. "Reef Dreaming" was watched by an estimated million locals and tourists.

Sean with wall

Sean was also the first Aboriginal performer involved in dance fusion work with other cultures. He performed with Flamenco, Indian and Native American artists and made a name for himself as the lead performer in "Flamenco Dreaming", a show that mesmerised audiences to sell-out houses for two years. He also played a leading role in the 2002 Sydney Festival indigenous production of "Crying Baby", and many other successful productions including To India with Love, Gammon Ol Yarns, Sing Awake the Lands and Spirits of the Soil. He also toured in 2004 with Descendance to the UK representing Australia at the World Destinations Fair.

Charismatic and cheeky, Sean Choolburra's talents demand attention. (Source: ICMI)

Introduction

Sean was born in Townsville in North Queensland and has a background from three Aboriginal tribes, “Girrma” from Tully (Father’s side) “Kalkadoon” from Mount Isa (Mother’s side) and “Kuku-Yalanji” from Cook town (Grandfather’s side). (Source: Descendance)

Sean Choolburra was born and raised in Townsville and his ancestors are Gu-Gu-
Yalanji, Kalkadoon, Kandju and Bwgcolman from around Townsville and Palm Island.

Map of Queensland and Palm Island

Sean tells Nikita in the Yarramundi Kids video [below] that both his parents were born in Palm Island which you can see in the inset map.

Sean trained and toured internationally with the Bangarra Dance Company and was the creator and leader of the Naroo Dancers. (Source: Nexus)

Sean is one of 12 children to Carmel Choolburra. (Source: Message Stick)


Education:

Sean went to school in Townsville - at a Christian School which he talks about in the Yarramundi Kids session.


 

Did You Know?

Sean Choolburra
(Source: ISSUU)

Work Experience:

When I first moved to Sydney (from Townsville) in 1990 to study, I was staying at the Tony Mundine Hostel in Leichhardt and every morning and afternoon I’d walk past the old Sydney Comedy Store (which was then on Parramatta Rd).

I’d just turned 21 but ever since I was a 10-year-old I had been told I should be a comedian by a friend of mine, another little kid.

Well, I’d go and do my classes at the dance school (National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association Dance College [NAISDA Dance College]). Then, after three years of that, I was asked to join Bangarra, then I scored a job at the Art Gallery Of NSW as an artist in residence [for 3 years], then I hooked up with a schools company, just driving my little car around and doing shows in school across Australia. (Source: Daily Telegraph)

NAISDA
NAISDA

Bangarra
Bangarra



I remember (being in Sydney) and going to the Comedy Store, which by then was in (its current location) in Moore Park, and I saw an open mic night, and thought to myself, “Wow, I could really do this,” because I had already been on stage, I was already a performer. So I watched how they did it and the next week I put my name down. Then (professional comic) Chris Radburn suggested I should do the Triple J Raw Comedy competition.

I was 33 years old and I ended up winning the NSW final. It was funny because every heat I would win, but I was still touring across the country so I would have to drive my car all the away to an airport, to get on a plane and fly all the way back to Sydney, then fly all the way back again. And I just kept at it. (Source: Daily Telegraph)

 

YouTube: Melbourne Comedy Festival 2008

https://youtu.be/69gVziw3hbw

 

YouTube: Sean Choolburra Live and Deadly

https://youtu.be/KnRzJyGYExc

 

 

Experiences & Opportunities

After winning through to the National Raw Comedy Final at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2002, Sean Choolburra has become a mainstay on the Australian comedy circuit. Originally from Townsville Sean Choolburra had already become a respected dancer and had previously worked with the Bangarra Dance Company. He has performed at several major international festivals, including a special performance for the Dalai Lama.

Sean was the founder and leader of Sydney’s first independent traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dance Company, the Ngaru Dancers, which he formed in 1993. Sean is also a former NAISDA graduate and has danced with the internationally renowned indigenous contemporary dance troupe Bangarra.

Sean also led one of the first indigenous tours ever to Japan with Ngaru in 1994 and he was the star and co-writer of Australia’s first full-length laser movie “Reef Dreaming”, which played for three years in Cockle Bay at Darling Harbour in Sydney, on a screen of jet propelled water with laser images through it. “Reef Dreaming” was watched by an estimated million locals and tourists.

Sean was also the first Aboriginal performer involved in dance fusion work with other cultures. He performed with Flamenco, Indian and Native American artists and made a name for himself as the lead performer in “Flamenco Dreaming”, a show that mesmerised audiences to sell-out houses for two years. He also played a leading role in the 2002 Sydney Festival indigenous production of “Crying Baby”, and many other successful productions including To India with Love, Gammon Ol Yarns, Sing Awake the Lands and Spirits of the Soil. He also toured in 2004 with Descendance to the UK representing Australia at the World Destinations Fair. (Source: The Entertainers)

Did You Know?

Descendance

The Descendance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dance Theatre was born from the mighty Ngaru Dance Company, Sydney’s first professional independent traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dance troupe established in 1993, Ngaru meaning “shake a leg”, a dance style prevalent in the Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland. Ngaru had been one of the longest running professional Indigenous dance troupes in Australia before changing their name to “Descendance” in the year 2000 to account for the many artists from diverse tribes living in Sydney and joining the company.

The motto being, “One people fighting a common cause”. (Source: Descendance)


Links

The Sit Down Comedy Club

Sit Down Comedy Club

Message Stick

Message Stick

ABC Mid West & Wheatbelt (audio file)

ABC MidWest

NITV: Express Yourself 12 April 2015

NITV Express Yourself

Daily Telegraph

Daily Telegraph

 


Activities

Would I Lie to You? A Comedy Show

 MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability

 

TeacherTeacher

You only need to watch one episode to get an idea of the show. Also, print out the following Would I Lie to You card - one for each student.

Would I lie to you?

Students

1. Look at an episode of "Would I Lie to You?" - there are numerous examples on YouTube.

2. Create 5 statements on cards about yourself – some lies, some truths.

3. Form groups of 3

4. With the Teacher as the facilitator, have two groups [teams] play the game!

 

Submit an activity

 

 

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