the fact that I am not originally from here.. That I am not part of the problem here either. Some other people might think so but.. Just trying to create work. That’s about it. Having a job. Having an acting job for that matter. Why I am still living here is because of my kids I am here watching them grow up. I’ve been here about nine years now.. In this flat. Came to Sydney in ninety-three. That’s the first play I did. Gunjies. Here. But that is where I met the kids Mum. I think when I was doing Gunjies & she came & saw the show. She was studying to be a teacher. Anyway when I got the next job down in Q theatre I was catching a train to Redfern station & I saw her there & I asked her for a light & then I met her at an after party.. The rest is history.. I suppose what makes me happy is helping other people & also passing on knowledge & celebrations. I wish I had a visitors book for everyone who has been through here. Probably fill up about three. Acting friends. Friends in the community. Had family here. I suppose caring & sharing are the words. I started out in the community theatre in Brisbane in nineteen-eighty-eight & was the first person to receive a twelve month traineeship as an Aboriginal theatre worker for community theatre company. I lasted about two weeks & I took off & about six or eight weeks later the boss.. The old co-ordinator she came & tracked me down in a garage in Inala & said you better get back here & finish this traineeship off. I finished the traineeship & they employed me for another two years & then I became freelance after that. Started just doing my own shows in schools & that. But then started getting acting jobs & trying to help people record their history. That was said to me by a famous person. Aboriginal lady by the name of Kath Walker. Oodgeroo Noonuccal rest in peace. She looked me in the eye one day at the second National Black Playwrights Conference & said what are you doing Billy McPherson? & I looked at her in that little ladys eyes & I’m thinking. Well I suppose I gotta be doing acting there for a while shouldn’t I? Haha! & that was the beginning & also the end & beginning. There’s never an ending. When there is an ending there is another beginning. So. I’ve been in the game for a while now & I been working on new plays & old plays & new work & activations. All that good stuff & in the community you know? I am also a volunteer driver for the Weave driving program for getting young kids their licenses. My kids got their license there. Those moments with those dear friends in the acting game were special. Your first time on stage your first time in the rehearsal room first time trying to learn how to play the didge. Next year is fifty years of Black Theatre in Australia especially in Redfern. We should do a show. It’s just too hard if you don’t have a theatre company. You fellas want to do a ten-hander of something like that you need every actor in every state & territory. You just go off your strengths. Try to be positive & not to be negative. So you gotta do what you’ve been taught to do & keep your hands up & throw a couple punches back. I am a big believer in fate. It is what it is. That’s the journey we chose. But we are trying to stay on track. Sometimes we fall off the tracks but that is our journey. Especially for Indigenous or Aboriginal people personally speaking. I just think of my old people all the time. How they were brought up & we are trying to make that life better for our kids which is what they were trying to do. But they were under the Act & they were restricted from doing things. We were the Flora & Fauna. For a couple years there. But even that cross over there you didn’t even know what was going on. It was like suddenly we are going to school. But we still lived on the fringe of those towns. Come help with the film yeah right-o you don’t even ask if you’re going to get paid or not. Just the joy of that. Gives me satisfaction. That film didn’t work or that play didn’t work but at least you are having a go & not part of the problem or part of the cause. That’s stuff you can really dedicate yourself to in terms of work or social issues. You can go down to Canberra & stay at the tent embassy for the rest of your life or you can study & get a job. Just help the people.
Bill is an actor & performer, but above all else a community focused storyteller. He lives in Redfern.