Moya Dodd was and is a leading voice for reform in sport, waging from the inside an assault on the all-male citadel of sport management. A former Matilda player, she was one of the first three women appointed to the to the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA). She fought for women’s football, the right for Muslim women to play and watch football and against homophobia and racism; championing the rights of the LGBTQI community within football.

So it is a vastly impressive resume of a football “mover and shaker”. Softly-spoken, Moya Dodd takes us on a journey through the lives of three generations of ancestors, creating an understanding of a family pattern which encouraged Dodd to take on the world so fearlessly.

Dodd’s story has been shaped by William Yang and Annette Shun Wah, who used Dodd’s extensive family photograph album to support the narrative – which was needed. Dodd’s presentation skills are not strong and the dual projection and accompanying music by Gareth Chin help to engage the audience. It is not that this biographic narrative is not interesting, it just that it seems for the most part of this 70 minutes that Dodd is uncomfortable telling this backstory.

It is an extraordinary story but as I listened I felt that the real lesson lay in choosing one’s parents. Jeff and Marjorie Dodd were unconventional in their life choices, quietly refusing to live within the social norms of their respective cultures and defying the social norms of their times. For Dodd and her siblings, growing up in such an environment, everything was possible. Life was to be embraced and faced fearlessly.

The Backstories is series of compelling life stories created by CAAP (Contemporary Asian Australian performances) as theatrical events and the sharing of the experiences and family who shaped Dodd’s life is indeed fascinating. However, I hesitate to see it as theatrical. Inspiring and motivational – yes. Theatrical? Maybe not so much.

Kate Stratford – Theatre Now & On The Town

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