The Arts

Celebrating arts & culture


Aaron Fa’Aoso (The Straits)
Aaron Fa’Aoso played the smouldering, eldest son Noel Montebello in popular SBS series The Straits, which aired in 2012. The Straits was a 10-part crime series based on the fictional Montebello clan, a family of modern-day smugglers. Aaron was raised in far north Queensland and came up with the idea for the series after enjoying The Sopranos and Underbelly. The Straits was filmed on location and features some beautiful scenery. Prior to The Straits, Aaron played the tough islander cop Sonny Koa in the award-winning TV series East West 101, which ran for three seasons on SBS. He began his television career in 2006, when he played Eddie Gaibui on RAN, a six-part drama, which also aired on SBS. Aaron is also a talented director and producer in his own right. Before deciding to become an actor, he was a health worker in the Torres Strait and also an aspiring rugby league player.

Jimi Bani (Mabo)
Jimi Bani says being cast to play Uncle Eddie Mabo in the 2012 ABC television drama, Mabo, was a “great honour and privilege” but also a role that came with great responsibility. Jimi’s other credits include the SBS series RAN (Remote Area Nurse) and most recently the role of Marou Montebello in the ABC drama The Straits. Jimi is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). He played the lead role in Jandamarra for the Black Swan Theatre Company in WA, Romeo and Juliet for the Sydney Theatre Company, Yibiyung for Company B Belvoir in association with the Malthouse Theatre Company in Melbourne, and Krakouer! for the Deckchair Theatre in Perth. He has also performed in The Sapphires, for both the Black Swan Theatre Company and Company B. Jimi has received acclaim for his performances, including a Helpmann Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Yibiyung and a WA Equity Foundation Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance in Jandamarra.

Charles Passi (Mabo)
Charles Passi is a Meriam Man of the Duareb Clan and is the Narbit (or first born male) of sole remaining Mabo plantiff Dave Passi. Charles appears in the film Mabo as Benny Mabo (father of Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo). Along with eldest daughter Gail Mabo, Charles was also a cultural consultant on the film – assisting the production with knowledge and guidance as well as sourcing many of the extras, singers, dancers and actual personal items to dress the Mabo home. He has also appeared in The Straits and SBS drama Remote Area Nurse. Charles lives on Thursday Island where he plays a leading role in the community.

Leon Burchill (Krakouer!)
Leon Burchill is probably best known for his role in the comedy, The Stone Bros but he is also a fine actor on the stage. Recently he appeared as Jim in Krakouer! the critically acclaimed and hugely entertaining Deckchair Theatre production about the lives of AFL legends Jim and Phil Krakouer that went on a National Tour in 2011, supported by Country Arts WA and Playing Australia. The play, by Reg Cribb, is about Mount Barker’s most famous sons – Jim and Phil Krakouer – who took the Australian football world by storm in the early 1980s. Leon is a Kuku Yalanji man from Mossman, QLD and a graduate of NIDA.

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