“Barrumbi Kids”, a 10-episode live action series, will screen on NITV later this year.
Ahead of its premiere, the broadcaster has revealed the young actors who will be making their debut on the show, as well as the seasoned supporting cast.
The show tells the story of two children, Tomias and Dahlia, best friends who are growing up in a remote Northern Territory community, living in both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures.
Tomias will be played by 12-year-old Nick Bonson, while Caitlin Hordern (14) takes on the role of Dahlia.
Sherona Tiati, Zeallion Andrew and Ronon Bonson will also make their debut in “Barrumbi Kids”.
Supporting the young actors is Justine Clarke (“Play School”), Jacob Junior Nayinggul (“High Ground”), Frances Djulibing (“Ten Canoes”), Adrienne Pickering (“Rake”), Christopher Sommers (“The Water Diviner”), Sophie Emberson-Bain (“Aquaman”), Finn Treacy (“Ten Pound Poms”), Serene Yunupingu (“Mystery Road: Origin”), Penelope Thomas, Stephen Mahy and Scott Hall.
The series was filmed in Beswick (Wugularr), Barunga, Katherine and Bitter Springs on the lands of the Jawoyn, Dogoman, Wardaman and Mangarrayi peoples.
Marissa McDowell, acting head of commissions NITV, noted the importance of representation and telling these stories on screen.
“We are thrilled to be working with talented, up-and-coming actors like Nick and Caitlin, as well as big names like Justine Clarke to bring “Barrumbi Kids” to life,” she said.
“NITV creates ground-breaking children’s programming that explores diversity and celebrates the stories and culture of our mob to share with all Australians.
“Just like the wildly celebrated animated series “Little J and Big Cuz”, “Barrumbi Kids” plays an integral part in creating more representation on screen and giving Aboriginal kids a national platform to see their own faces and hear their own voices – something that is so important for our mob.”
She also acknowledged Kyas Hepworth, the former head of NITV commissions, who helped bring the flagship series to screens.
The show was co-produced by Danielle MacLean (“True Colours” and “Redfern Now”) of Tamarind Tree Pictures, Monica O’Brien (“Muster Dogs” and “Drop Dead Weird”) of Ambience Entertainment and Julia Morris (“Finding Maawirrangga” and “Around the World in 80 Dishes with Manu Feildel”).
The producers said: “‘Barrumbi Kids’ has been many years in the making with elders past and present, Djilpin Arts and Beswick community members. Creating this series with our First Nations partners, Esther Bulumbara, Frankie Lane, Revonna Lane and Scott Hall has been an incredible experience. Their contribution to story and cultural guidance allowed us to authentically bring to life the stories of the fun and mischief experienced while growing up on Country. Their children and grandchildren will watch this series and yell out with big smiles of pride and joy – ‘Hey that’s me, that’s my family and my culture’.”
The show had major production investment from Screen Australia in association with NITV, Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF), Screen Territory and Screen Queensland.
The story is based on the popular book series by Territory author Leonie Norrington.