Sparkling Sapphires to hit Sale

The Sapphires will land at The Wedge next week. Photos: Hit Productions

For Kuungkari woman Lorinda May Merrypor, her appearance in a certain musical stage-play is the culmination of a want held since childhood.

She vividly recalls sitting at home in her younger years, watching First Nations artist Jessica Mauboy auditioning for Australian Idol.

“It was really one of those moments that made me realise my dream of being a performer and a singer was kind of a possibility,” Ms Merrypor told the Gippsland Times.

A few years later, Mauboy landed the role of Julie in Wayne Blair’s The Sapphires, which also drew Ms Merrypor’s interest: “I remember when the film came out being absolutely obsessed with it; heading down to the lounge room and watching it with my cat on repeat.”

Today, Ms Merrypor is touring the country, playing on-stage the very character made famous by the one-time Australian Idol contestant and runner-up.

She first joined the production in 2019, and since then has travelled right around Australia, bringing The Sapphires and her talents to multiple venues.

What’s more, she has formed a strong connection with her fellow First Nations performers – Jade Lomas-Ronan, Kaninna Langford and Chelsea Hawke – who she considers her sisters.

“Though the cast changed over the years – in fact, I’m the only original performer from the beginning of 2019 that’s still here (with the tour) – you become sisters so quickly,” Ms Merrypor said

“I’m just so grateful to Tony Briggs for writing this show, and giving me the opportunity to meet these amazing women and become so close with them.

“And it’s so fun – we get to see so much of the country together, so we’re kind of bonded for life!”

Local theatregoers will get to see that sisterly bond for themselves when The Sapphires lands at The Wedge next Wednesday.

The production tells of four women from an Aboriginal mission in Cummeragunja who form an all-girl group that takes the music world by storm with their covers of popular Motown songs.

“You’re going to have a good time just with the soundtrack, but then the story itself is so heart-warming, so moving, and really inspiring,” Ms Merrypor said.

Yet The Sapphires also deals with more sombre issues, such as Australia’s involvement in Vietnam and issues of racial injustice.

With NAIDOC Week having just concluded, the latter’s themes have added significance to Ms Merrypor.

“I think it is amazing that as a country, we take the time to really talk about this stuff, acknowledge it and educate each other throughout this time,” she said.

“The theme this year (for NAIDOC Week), ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’ I think is really fitting, especially for this time in society that we’re in.

“The issues are being spoken about a lot louder at the moment, and it’s really important that everyone, whether they’re black or white, gets together and stands up and shows up for talking about these issues.”

Overall though, the story is an uplifting one, filled with sparkles, sequins and soul music.

“I think everyone will have a great time,” Ms Merrypor promised.

The Sapphires will be showing at The Wedge on Wednesday, July 20 from 8pm.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the box-office on 5143 3200 or visiting