Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Theatre production to tackle violence against women

Joint Media Release with:

    Minister for the Arts

    Member for Parramatta

The Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, and Member for Parramatta, Julie Owens, today met with the African-Australian performers who are bringing their experiences of overcoming violence in their lives to the stage with the help of around $140,000 from the Australian Government.

Ms Collins said the production, Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe, is a unique way of raising community awareness of the impacts of violence against women.

“This show is one way we can support change in community attitudes about gender equality and violence against women,” Ms Collins said

It supports our aims under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022, which is underpinned by the belief that involving all governments and the wider community is necessary to reduce violence.

“The production will feature the personal stories of four African women-a young poet and rapper, an ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency, a former child soldier who is now a mother of four, and a community leader who works for the police force.

“The women will perform the stories of their lives-how they drew on their resilience to overcome the violence in their lives to study, raise families, build careers and give back to their communities

“Their stories are truly inspiring, but what is even more inspiring is that these women want to contribute to their communities by raising awareness of this serious issue.

“Theatre has the extraordinary power to convey important messages in an accessible way, and this theatre production will engage with the African and broader community to raise awareness that violence against women is never acceptable.”

The Minister for Arts, Simon Crean, said $100,000 of the Australian Government funding for this production was provided through the Australia Council’s Community Partnerships grant program.

“Community engagement with arts and culture is vital, and these grants provide funding for community projects that engage a broad range of participants in their activities,” Mr Crean said.

Ms Owens said a series of post-show forums will be held in collaboration with African Women Australia to discuss the issues raised in the show.

“A digital resource pack will also be produced, including a documentary about the experience of the women involved in the production, the filmed show, and resources on how to seek help and assistance,” Ms Owens said.

“The pack is intended for use by front line workers in the health, justice, community and education sectors, including aid workers in developing countries.

“One in four Australian women is born overseas and we are working hard to ensure the voices of women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are heard.”