By Jonty Ralphsmith
A Dandenong women’s organisation is using drama to promote inclusivity and condemn discrimination.
Wellsprings for Women – in conjunction with Living Learning Pakenham – will stage a theatrical performance in … that seeks to address institutionalised racism and celebrate diversity.
The project will double as an opportunity for culturally and linguistically diverse women to learn the English language in a manner contextualised to arts.
Robyn Erwin from Wellsprings for Women offered insight into the desired outcome of the project, but was reluctant to provide detail of the performance itself.
As the performers are yet to convene, there has been no discussion about what they would like to portray and Ms Erwin said it was important that the women involved drove the specifics.
“It’s not just visible forms of racism but the subtle forms of racism we don’t realise people feel everyday; just because they are black, when they go into a shop they may be questioned more or followed around so it impacts people,” Ms Erwin said
“The play will portray issues important in people’s lives.
“I think different people will get different things; people who have experienced racism themselves may be able to reflect and think about it in a different way or find some solace that they’re not alone; other people might think about how prevalent racism is in society and reflect on their own behaviour.
I think the important thing about the play at the end is that the women are exploring the issues for themselves to try to find a better life for themselves or deal with racism at a personal level.”
Wellsprings for Women also received funding for a series of animations addressing racial issues.
One depicted a bystander intervening when racially diverse people were being discriminated against on public transport; another showed two characters of different cultures marrying and people of different races harmoniously integrating.
“Often we make these assumptions subconsciously and we need to encourage people to think about their behaviour all the time and how they can be more welcoming to people from other cultures.”