Outlander writer joins Aussie drama project

Miniseries by Secret River producers, about the women of the Victorian goldfields era, attracts US writer.

US writer producer, Anne Kenney, will adapt The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, a miniseries project in development by Ruby Entertainment (The Secret River, Kath & Kim).

Kenney’s career has included LA Law, ER, Switched at Birth and Outlander.

The miniseries about the women of the Victorian goldfields era, is based on a book of the same name by Dr. Clare Wright.

“I was intrigued by Clare Wright’s Rebels and wanted to be a part of any television adaptation, from the moment I heard about it,” Kenney says, “so I am absolutely delighted we were able to make this happen. ‘Rebels’ is an historic piece filled with adventure, ambition, intrigue and grit with a group of amazing, previously-unheralded women at the forefront. What could be better than that?”

Mark Ruse said, “We are incredibly excited to have Anne on board. Our vision for ‘Forgotten Rebels’ is as a truly international production for what is truly an international story full of modern day relevance. Our characters and our heroines are all newly arrived from all over the world and their stories are packed full drama, love and pain, as they throw caution to the wind, abandoning the trappings of the old world, and push towards a new way of being and a new nation forged ultimately in the stain of their blood.”

No network is yet attached to the project.

The Series is based on Dr Clare Wright’s Stella Prize winning book of the same name, which tells the stories of the bold women adventurers who flocked to the Australian gold fields from all around the world in the early 1850s. Called ‘coming to see the elephant’ — a circus metaphor — it was like coming to the most exciting place on the planet, throwing off the ties of class, convention, stiff dresses and gender roles to make their fortunes. But reality on arrival was a jolting shock. The Series will follow the thrilling and compelling true stories of eight women from both sides of the Stockade in the lead up to the dramatic rebellion and subsequent bloodbath at Eureka as the English redcoats quashed the uprising. Women not only defiantly sewed the Eureka flag, but were also leaders in the popular movement towards democracy. The tragic deaths at Eureka paved the way for the birth of a new nation.

Mark Ruse (“Kath and Kim”, “The Games”, “Bed of Roses”) and Stephen Luby (“The Secret River”, “Crackerjack”) will produce; Anne Kenney will write and executive produce and author Clare Wright will join the creative team as a co-producer. The series follows on from Ruby’s acclaimed, “The Secret River” which won a Logie for ‘Best Mini-Series’, an AWGIE and eight nominations for AACTA awards.

Also announcing that it too will come on board as an investor in the development of the Series, is La Trobe University, where author Clare Wright is Associate Professor of History. The investment is the first of two projects funded by the University’s new Strategic Innovation Fund, to help translate an output of the University’s research.

“Our investment in helping translate Clare’s book into a TV mini-series speaks volumes to the potential impact, opportunity and value that can be leveraged from research coming out of La Trobe,” Professor Nugent, La Trobe’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research said.

Author Clare Wright (‘Utopia Girls: How Women Won the Vote ABC)’ and ‘The War That Changed Us (ABC)’) is looking forward to working with Anne and Ruby: “With a writer of the profile and calibre of Anne Kenney coming on board, I’m confident the pilot will lead to a TV series. Most importantly, this will result in the incredible stories of the unbiddable women of Ballarat reaching huge national – and potentially international – audiences.”

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