Noel Tovey

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Noel Tovey AM (born 25 December 1934) is an Australian dancer, actor, mentor, director and choreographer. He was the artistic director for the indigenous welcoming ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.


Born in Melbourne, the son of an Aboriginal/ New Zealand mother and father of Scottish-African descent, Tovey endured sexual abuse, neglect and poverty throughout his childhood and adolescence. Despite this hardship he went on to become successful in the theatre in both Australia and London, including appearing in the world premiere of Oh! Calcutta!. He taught at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and co-founded the London Theatre for Children before returning to Australia in 1990.

He played the lead role in Skipping on Stars based on the life of indigenous tightwire walker Con Colleano, performed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Flying Fruit Fly Circus.

He was a close friend of Australian comedian Mary Hardy and is the mentor to New York-based Aboriginal dancer, emerging choreographer Ian RT Colless.

In 2004, Hodder Headline Australia published his autobiography Little Black Bastard ISBN 0-7336-1798-0.

Personal life[edit]

Tovey is openly gay and has spoken out for the rights of LGBT elders.[1] In June 2010 Tovey was recognised for his contribution to the LGBT community by becoming the 2010 recipient of the {also} Foundation For All of Us Lifetime Achievement Award. In January 2015, Tovey was made a member of the Order of Australia.[2]

In his public life Noel has made much of his heritage, where in his private life he has stated he is guided by the maxim "blood isn't thicker than water", and has chosen to sever ties with all of his family and extended family.

Noel married Barbara Hickling and they had a daughter Felicity in 1961 deceased

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Noonan, Andie (2009-01-21), [Tovey was imprisoned for homosexual acts in Pentridge gaol in 1951 and raped by two of the guards "Senior gays to fight change"] Check |url= value (help), Sydney Star Observer 
  2. ^ [1]