The 2000s - Racism and Intolerance

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In 2001 the climax of The Diary of Anne Frank had many in the audience reaching for their tissues. Directed by Pete Nettell, its original music was composed by Sarah de Jong. The Diary of Anne Frank had another sell-out season in 2015.

Local writer Cameron Sharp’s Reffo Bingo about the plight of refugees in Australia was given a moved reading in 2003.

Dorothy Hewett’s The Man from Mukinupin (directed by Mary-Anne Gifford in 2007) was considered radical and confronting when commissioned in 1979. A musical celebration of rural life set during the First World War in a mythical Western Australian wheat-belt town, its daytime comfortable middle-class sequences contrast with excluded or disadvantaged night-time characters on the fringes. A repressed collective memory is the massacre of the local Aboriginal population.

Part of the Spare Room guest company season in 2011 was the world premiere of A Quiet Night in Rangoon by Sydney writer Katie Pollock who had spent time in Bangkok and was aware of Burmese refugees. During the Saffron Revolution trying to overthrow the repressive military junta, a journalist becomes embroiled in the real events happening around her, a minefield of political engagement. The cast included four Asian actors.

Another Spare Room production was Lucky, a physical theatre piece by Ferenc Alexander Zavarosa about a refugee who pays a human trafficker to take him to Australia to join his brother.

To Kill a Mockingbird was a box office hit in 2014. In 2016 Marat/Sade was staged with an ethnically diverse cast trapped inside a cage. The production drew parallels with asylum seekers in offshore detention.


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