[Pictured: Cast and crew from ‘Where the Streets Had a Name’ production, Monkey Baa Theatre Adaptation]
“We do not have the luxury to despair, so we live.”‘Where the Streets Had a Name’, Monkey Baa Theatre AdaptationA priority project of the Sydney Community Foundation Inspiring Your Giving 2017, supported a group of migrant and refugee high school students, parents and teachers from Western Sydney to attend a performance of ‘Where the Streets Had a Name’ (link is external) at Monkey Baa Theatre in Sydney’s Darling Quarter this month.
A Sydney Community Foundation grant also supported the development of the production last year.
About ‘Where the Streets Had a Name’ performanceA story of family and friendship, the production, based on the novel ‘Where the Streets Had a Name’ (link is external), weaves a compassionate story of loss, and hope.The play tells a moving story of a young Palestinian girl, Hayaat, on a mission. When her beloved Sitty Zeynab (Grandmother) falls ill, Hayaat resolves to retrieve a handful of soil from their homeland in the hope it will help heal her. First Hayaat and her friend, Samy, must find a way to pass the impenetrable wall that divides the West Bank.
Workshop for Migrant and Refugee TeensA special feature of the project, also funded by Sydney Community Foundation, was an in-school workshop held prior exploring the process of adaptation, production and the play’s themes. Facilitated by Monkey Baa Theatre Education Manager, Saskia Ilott, the workshop helped students to build empathy and empowered participants to reflect on their own and their communities experiences.‘For some of the students, this is the first time they have seen a play. We help prepare them by discussing what theatre is and how the actors perform in the space,’ said Saskia Ilott.‘This story is about a family and a journey, so we use drama exercises where students navigate their way from one side of the room to the other, overcoming challenges along the way,’ said Saskia.“This story is about a family and a journey, so we use drama exercises where students navigate their way from one side of the room to the other, overcoming challenges along the way.”
Q&A with Author, Director and CastAfter the show, students stayed for a Q&A session with production director, Eva Di Cesare, Actors, and special guest, Randa Abdel-Fattah, author of the novel. Audience members were invited to ask questions of the panel.A young Palestinian woman from the audience thanked the panel for bringing this beautiful story to the stage. Quite overcome by emotion, members of the panel and audience took a moment to wipe their tears. Composing herself, the young woman asked of director, Eva Di Cesare, ‘What drew you to adapting this story to a play for young people?’Eva Di Cesare responded saying to the young audience; ‘You are the people that will bring peace to this world. I have faith in young people.’‘You are the people that will bring peace to this world. I have faith in young people.’Sydney Community Foundation would like to thank our supporters for making this opportunity possible for these young people.
Supporting Youth Priority ProjectsIf you are interested in supporting priority projects for youth in need, please consider supporting our RISE program which is having great success re-engaging disadvantaged students with their education.Read more and watch recent Lateline coverage of the RISE program here.