Telling their stories, through their words

Churches of Christ Care recently partnered with Digi Youth Arts, a not-for-profit organisation that brokers opportunities for Indigenous young people to tell their stories through their words in their performance of original play, Dislocated.

The collaboration brought together a group of 11 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people for a storytelling project.

To ignite the inspiration in the young people, they took part in information sessions before heading off on two camps and exposed to cultural education through attending the iconic Bangarra Dance Theatre and a back-of-house tour of the Queensland Museum.

It all culminated in a three night performance at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

The young people worked with Churches of Christ Care and Digi Youth Arts staff to tell their stories over the course of the project.

Alethea Beetson, Artistic Director of Digi Youth Arts, then wrote the play “Dislocated” based on the young people’s stories. She used metaphor to imagine a futuristic world, and told the stories of loss, separation and hope against this backdrop.

The end result was a starkly beautiful play acted by the young people, which left the audience musing on the multilayered levels of meaning.

“When I asked some of the young people what their biggest fears for the future were, a number of them echoed: that history will repeat itself. Now, more than ever, we need to listen to our young people. They hold the key to a better world and the work they created with Dislocated is proof of that. They teach us more than we can ever teach them,” Alethea said.

A core group of Churches of Christ Care staff worked with the young people and Digi Youth Arts to produce and present the play. By the end of the run of shows, both staff and young people described the cast as a “second family”.

The young people gave remarkable performances, earning reviews from theatre goers including:

“…the production drove home the importance of keeping families connected wherever possible and it was fantastic to see the young people convey this message with such professionalism and maturity beyond their years.”

“It was funny and just plain entertaining.  I have been thinking about individual young people and some of the individual scenes and lines all morning.”

“I was amazed how fearless all the children and young people appeared during the moving and heartfelt performance. It was a pleasure to attend the opening night and definitely gave me some moments of reflection for practice.”

“The political message was well depicted in the play and the humour was well balanced. I loved every second of it and by the end I was left wanting more. ”

“Still talking about the messages and it shared. The reality of ‘boundaries’ and ‘fences’ were really brought home by seeing young people in leading roles. Because of their performances and the story they told, we could see how unjust the society was/is and hoped that we can do something to make sure that society changes. Each of the performances were great and we loved all the movement in the background from the actors behind the fence as well.”

Following the opening night performance the young people were presented with a certificate by Chief Executive Officer Dean Phelan and Chief Operating Officer David Swain to commend them for their performance.
Churches of Christ Care plans to work with Digi Youth Arts in the future to provide opportunities for our young people in the arts. We will also be providing opportunities for this group of staff and young people to remain connected with each other.

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Posted December 16, 2016 in Networking blog