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World Youth Refugees and Asylum Seekers

‘I Was There’: young refugees who experienced the fall of Kabul to perform

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fall of Kabul

Treehouse Theatre, a not-for-profit organisation with a drama focussed trauma recovery program for young refugees in Western Sydney, will perform at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. In its latest production ‘I Was There’, newly arrived refugees who experienced the fall of Kabul in August 2021, will take to the stage to perform their own stories of trauma, escape and triumph.

The performances will celebrate Refugee Week with 5 shows over two days, Thursday 23 June and Friday 24 June. Featuring refugee students from Holroyd High School, situated in South West Sydney, audiences will witness stories of the refugee experience from the survivors themselves: a powerful fusion of spoken word, movement, sound, light and projected imagery.

Since 2010, through a combination of therapeutic storytelling and performance, Treehouse Theatre has supported over 350 refugee students from war zones around the world to share their stories and recover from their refugee past. Many of these students are now adults making positive contributions to Australia in a variety of trades and professions. Audiences of over 30,000 have laughed, cried, and shared in their triumph.

In its latest production ‘I Was There’, newly arrived refugees who experienced the fall of Kabul in August 2021, will take to the stage to perform their own stories of trauma, escape and triumph.

Catherine Maguire-Donvito, Co-Founder, Creative Producer & Supervising Psychologist at Treehouse Theatre says, “By inviting students to perform their own stories verbatim, we provide a safe and playful space for young people to heal and process their grief and trauma. The creation of a coherent narrative of a traumatic event, rehearsing it and then performing it, allows young people to reflect on their refugee past without becoming overwhelmed by it. Our program facilitates post traumatic growth whereby young refugees become survivors of trauma rather than victims. In bearing witness to this process,  audiences “fall in love” with our students and leave the theatre feeling that they have experienced something truly remarkable.

Many people will have seen the chaos around the evacuation of people from Kabul through the media but Treehouse’s latest production, “I Was There!”, will give first-hand stories from the young people who were there. Mohammad, a student who will be participating in the show, will recount his terrifying journey escaping Kabul, with desperate crowds around the airport, families wading through the sewage to get to the right gate…. Now safe in Sydney, Mohammad says that by taking part in Treehouse, he has “learned to laugh on the inside, not just on the outside.”

Event details

Time: Duration of 90 minutes per show;

  • Thursday 23 June | 10AM & 12:30PM
  • Friday 24 June | 10am 12:30PM & 7PM

Location: Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre

Cost: From $20. Details here.

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