Play puts Woomera under the spotlight

Issue 

BY LISA MACDONALD

SYDNEY — The immigration detention centre at Woomera in South Australia has been at the centre of the public controversy surrounding the mandatory detention of asylum seekers since it was opened in 1999. The brutal conditions inside Woomera and its isolated location have made this prison the focus of protests for refugees' rights.

Now Woomera detention centre is the subject of a play. Written and produced by 21-year-old Joshua Wakely and presented by the New Mercury Theatre in association with the Tamarama Rock Surfers, Woomera tells the story of Justin, a young prison guard recently arrived at the detention centre.

Justin, played by Wakely, must choose between repeating the mistakes of those around him or forging his own path. The detainees, his fellow guards and the memory of his dead father all influence his search for truth.

The cast also features Craig Menaud, Hillary Manning, Susannah Hardy and Ben Barrack. Woomera is directed by Alex Broun, a local activist for refugees' rights.

Woomera will be performed at the Old Fitzroy Hotel Theatre, corner of Cathedral and Dowling streets, Woolloomooloo, from October 4 to October 26. Performances will be at 8pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays, and 5pm on Sundays. A special "survivors" performance will be held on October 6 for former detainees, protesters and employees of Woomera.

Tickets are $24/$18 concession, or $30 for the "beer and laksa show". A percentage of the proceeds from Woomera will be donated to the Refugee Action Coalition. Book by phone at 9294 4296 or visit at <http://www.lastminute.com> or <http://www.oldfitzroy.com.au>.

From Green Left Weekly, October 2, 2002.

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