An Australian actress who starred in the hit film Rabbit-Proof Fence has died – while on tour at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Actress Ningali Lawford-Wolf, 52, had been performing in the production The Secret River and died on Sunday.
Ms Lawford-Wolf regularly appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and her production company, Sydney Theatre Company, paid tribute to the late actress and said they were “devastated”.
The company also called her “one of Australian theatre’s greatest treasures”.
Two shows in Edinburgh were cancelled last week after Ms Lawford-Wolf fell ill, before one of her cast mates filled her role as narrator for the show’s remaining four performances.
Ms Lawford-Wolf was born was in Wangkatjungka, an Aboriginal community in Kimberley, Western Australia.
She trained as a dancer at the Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre, then continued to perform professionally with Bangarra Dance Theatre in Sydney, building an impressive stage and screen career.
She is well known for her appearance in the 2002 film Rabbit-Proof Fence, as well as Bran Nue Dae and Last Cab to Darwin, and the television shows The Circuit, 3 Acts of Murder, Little J & Big Cuz and last year’s Mystery Road.
A statement from the production company read: “Sydney Theatre Company is absolutely devastated to confirm the passing away of Ningali Lawford-Wolf in Edinburgh, Scotland on Sunday 11th August, while she was touring with STC and performing in The Secret River.
“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.
“Ningali was a wonderful mother to Jaden, Rosie, Alexander, William, and Florence, and loving grandmother to Zavia and Mia.
“Ningali’s family as well as the cast and crew of The Secret River are understandably very distressed by this news.
“All of us at STC offer our condolences to Ningali’s family and friends, and ask that their privacy is respected at this time.”
Ningali had previously broken into the Edinburgh circuit when she won a Scotsman Fringe First Award in 1995 for her one-woman show.
She had also starred as the narrator in the stage adaptation of Kate Grenville’s novel The Secret River for the last four years.
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