A companion piece to the 2017 critically acclaimed production of The Village, La Boite Theatre Company presents the world premiere of The Neighbourhood in the Roundhouse Theatre from 8 – 29 February 2020.
This uplifting, unflinching and deeply personal work features seven local story-tellers, with tales that span migrant and refugee experiences across generations, investigating the very notion of creating, fostering and discovering community.
Continuing the ongoing partnership between La Boite and Multicultural Australia, these local artists tell their honest and authentic stories using a range of styles and art forms to transport audiences across countries, borders and oceans in search of a home.
La Boite CEO and Artistic Director Todd MacDonald said The Neighbourhood was a vital piece of storytelling that examined the ideas of belonging, diversity and community. “The talent, the resilience, the passion and skills in this group of storytellers and artists is some of the best I’ve ever worked with and I’m beyond excited about this show,” said Mr MacDonald.
“La Boite is, and always will be, an advocate of change for the better, a voice that challenges perceptions and champions inclusivity and diversity; with a firm eye to the future and a hope to make change in society for the better.”
The storytellers include Aurora Liddle-Christie, a Jamaican and Australian First Nations multidisciplinary artist who uses spoken word, performance, singing and songwriting; Indian-born LGBTIQ+ activist and spoken word and body-movement artist, Naavi Karan; and award-winning poet Anisa Nandaula who left Uganda at eight years old.
Nima Doostkhah, born in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, tells his story through acting, dance and photography while fellow Iranian refugee and former political prisoner Cieavash Arean harnesses the power of music. Actor Amer Joseph Thabet recounts his move from Syria to Australia and multi-instrumentalist Dr Matt Hsu draws on his diverse global upbringing to explore the grey areas between cultures.
The storytellers’ deep community roots resonated with co-creator Aleea Monsour, a theatre-maker and director who has lived in the same Brisbane neighbourhood all her life. “For me, community is support and joy, it is a feeling of power through coming together. It is food, shared meals, music and storytelling,” said Ms Monsour. “This show brings to life an essential and untold story of ‘neighbourhoods’ here in Australia, right now, through live music, spoken word, and personal storytelling.”
Fellow co-creator and Empire Theatres Youth Arts Director Ari Palani said the artists involved in the production represented the vibrancy of perspectives in the chorus of Australia’s diverse narrative. “Our artists come from every stage of the migration and resettlement journey, from escape through to the birth of new generations within Australia and they are not defined by their status or the words used to describe them,” said Mr Palani.
Co-Creators: Todd MacDonald, Aleea Monsour, Ari Palani Storytellers: Aurora Liddle-Christie, Nima Doostkhah, Cieavash Arean, Amer Joseph Thabet, Matt Hsu, Anisa Nandaula, Naavi Karan Set & Costume Designer: Adam Gardnir Lighting Designer: Ben Hughes Sound Designer & Composer: Brady Watkins Assistant Creative: Ngoc Phan Stage Manager: Pip Loth Assistant Stage Manager: Jamie Ng
Roundhouse Theatre – La Boite Theatre Company, Musk Avenue, Kelvin Grove (Brisbane)
Season: 12 – 29 February 2020 (previews: 8 – 11 February)
Information and Bookings: www.laboite.com.au
Image: The Storytellers of The Neighbourhood – courtesy of La Boite Theatre Company