Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Ningali Lawford-Wolf, star of EIF show The Secret River, dies in Edinburgh

Ningali Lawford-Wolf in The Secret River. Photo: Ryan Buchanan. Used with permission from Ningali Lawford-Wolf's family
by -

The Australian actor Ningali Lawford-Wolf, who starred in The Secret River at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, has died aged 52 in Scotland.

A statement released on behalf of Lawford-Wolf’s family and Sydney Theatre Company, which is producing The Secret River, confirmed that she had died while in Edinburgh.

The Secret River review at King’s Theatre, Edinburgh – ‘raw, powerful storytelling of early British colonisers in Australia’

“Ningali was an incredibly talented performer as well as a wonderfully caring and thoughtful person. We’ve lost one of Australian theatre’s greatest treasures,” it said.

Several performances of The Secret River were cancelled last week when Lawford-Wolf was taken ill and the company’s statement confirmed that she had died on August 11.

Lawford-Wolf was involved in the creation of The Secret River, an adaptation of Kate Grenville’s 2005 novel that was developed in collaboration with Aboriginal artists and is performed in Dharug as well as in English.

The show is due to play 20 performances at the National Theatre in London from August 22. These will go ahead as planned, the NT confirmed.

Lawford-Wolf’s work won her several awards in her native Australia and beyond, including a Green Room award in 1996 and a Fringe First in 1995 for her one-woman show Ningali. She also starred in films including 2002’s Rabbit-Proof Fence and Last Cab to Darwin in 2015.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.