‘Facing Up’ – a unique collaboration between Indigenous and non-indigenous writers and actors that scrutinises the Federal Governments’ attitude towards and treatment of Australia’s indigenous people from Federation to the present day.
Written and directed by Lynden Nichols and performed at the famous Avenue of Prime Ministers in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, the piece is built around a dialogue between non-Indigenous actor Marty van de Wouw, who portrays 30 Australian Prime Ministers, and Indigenous actors and musicians, Trudy Edgely and Zerene Jaadwa, who concurrently present an elaboration of Indigenous protest. Through this dialogue, ‘Facing Up’ highlights the institutionalised racism and discrimination faced by Australia’s First Nations people since Federation in 1901.
‘Facing Up’ takes the audience on a powerful journey through prime ministerial statements: Alfred Deakin praising the mass genocide of Indigenous people as something to be ‘thankful for’; Andrew Fisher passing the Northern Territory Aboriginal Ordinance Act where ‘children can be removed by force’ and Billy Hughes’ declaring that Indigenous people ‘cannot drink alcohol or marry non-Aboriginal people’. In contrast to these moments of darkness, the hope for change emerges albeit more recently in Paul Keating’s “Redfern Speech” and Kevin Rudd’s “Sorry Speech”.
The performance of ‘Facing Up’ will be followed by a Q&A with the cast and director chaired by Ballarat indigenous musician and educator, Deb Clarke.