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Noel Tovey

Aboriginal Australian actor, dancer, singer, director, choreographer and writer, Noel Tovey (b. 1934), was in a children’s home and foster care as a child. Noel was the 3rd of 5 children born into an impoverished family living in the inner-city suburb of Carlton, Melbourne. His mother, Winifred Ann Tovey, was Aboriginal and his father, Frederick Morton, was of African-Canadian-French-Creole heritage. When Noel was 6, their parents abandoned their children and the Welfare Authorities put them into the Royal Park Depot, and from there Noel was taken in by Arthur Challenger and his mother, who lived in Burren Junction, more than 600km north-west of Sydney. n 1954 Noel danced in Paint Your Wagon, which toured in Adelaide and Sydney. Later, Noel Tovey trained at the national Theatre Ballet School. Then in 1961, he was in London working as the principal dancer for the Sadler’s Wells Company. He also made his debut as a singer and choreographer in London, directing and choreographing numerous productions across Europe. While in London, Noel and his partner set up what became one of the top galleries in London, L’Odeon. Noel didn’t return to Australian until 1990. He set up a performing arts course and continued his work as a director. Little Black Bastard, Noel Tovel’s autobiography, was published in 2004 to critical acclaim. The one man play based on the book was also well received in Australia, at the Edinburgh Festival in 2010 and the London Origins Festival in 2011. Noel Tovey has served on the NSW Arts Council, the 2000 Olympic Arts Festival and the AIDS Trust of Australia, amongst others. He set up the Novel Tovey Scholarship Fund to assist those from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend the Flying Fruit Fly Circus, a leading youth arts company.

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