Two years ago, audiences were profoundly moved and inspired by The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe. Now they are back for a return season before travelling overseas. Writer, facilitator and director Ros Horin worked for three years with Yarrie Bangura, Aminata Conteh-Biger, Yordanos Haile-Michael and Rosemary Kariuki-Fyfe to bring their individual stories of flight as refugees from civil war, kidnap, killing and repeated rape to the stage. Yarrie escaped civil war in Sierra Leone and grew up in a camp in Guinea. She discovered poetry as a way of confronting the horrors of her past and is currently doing a university degree. Aminata fled from Sierra Leone and is now a UN Refugee Agency ambassador. Big Mama Rosemary fled domestic violence in Kenya and has become a community leader. Yordi (Yordanis) escaped a decade of life as a child soldier in the Eritrean army and is now the mother of four children while discovering her dreams. It is a joyful and insightful play despite its grim subject.
With the support of African performers The Baulkham HIlls African Ladies Troupe conveys the strength and resilience of the four women in the face of terrible privation. In telling their stories, they are reconstructing their own lives while enriching the lives of others. In her review for The Guardian, Vicky Frost wrote that she wished she could have seen the show with then leaders Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd “because the four remarkable women at the centre of this verbatim play have more to say about Australia’s responsibilities when it comes to refugees than politicians with their lowest-common-denominator posturing.”
Now The Baulkham HIlls African Ladies Troupe is back by popular demand at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, from February 18 to 21. The brief season precedes an international tour to the UK – Nottingham Playhouse and the Women of the World Festival at London’s Southbank Centre. Click here for bookings and information.
The play is jointly produced by Racing Pulse, Riverside and Belvoir and toured by Performing Lines. It was developed with STARTTS (NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors).
(NB – Exactly a year since the first post on this blog, February 3, 2014, and we’ve just gone over 5000 views – or about 2500 visitors! Yesterday included two from Sweden.)