Touring as part of the 2023 Arts & Education Program
Identity | Intercultural Conversation | Reflection
Facing Up promotes understanding of our shared history with First Nations people through truth telling theatre. Its focus is on the Federal Government’s attitude towards and treatment of Australia’s Indigenous people from Federation to the present.
Facing Up presents a series of monologues depicting statements made by all thirty Australian prime ministers over time, followed by a powerful statement about the Aboriginal protest movement at the time narrated by Indigenous actors.
Addressing highly topical and socially relevant community concerns, Facing Up explores the highlights and lowlights of First Nations’ protest and struggle since 1901, including the movement of people into missions, the 1967 referendum, Mabo, Maralinga and the Uluru Statement.
Facing Up is a unique collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers and actors.
The piece is propelled by a dialogue between non-Indigenous actor Andre Prenc, who recites the words of 30 Australian Prime Ministers, and Indigenous actors and musicians, Trudy Edgeley and Zerene Jaadwa, who concurrently present an elaboration of Indigenous protest. Through their powerful responses to history, Trudy and Zerene give voice to First Nations people whose lives were devastated by institutional racism and discrimination.
Facing Up takes the audience on a powerful journey through prime ministerial statements: Alfred Deakin praising the genocide of Indigenous people as something to be “thankful for”; Andrew Fisher passing the Northern Territory Aboriginal Ordinance Act where children can be removed by force and Billy Hughes declaring that Indigenous people “cannot marry non-Aboriginal people”. In contrast to these moments of darkness, the hope for change emerges albeit more recently in Paul Keating’s ’Redfern Speech’ and Kevin Rudd’s ‘Sorry Speech’.
From its first performance Facing Up has created powerful responses in audiences. Much of the history told in this brief snapshot is new to many as it can be difficult to address. To hear and see the journey unfolding is very moving. It stimulates discussion about racism, colonisation, legalities, human rights, culture, relationship to land and country, the role of the prime minister in Australia, democratic rights, and many more.
All design and directorial decisions of Facing Up involved cultural considerations and consultations. Facing Up is a work that all Australians should see; it tells an important history from two very different standpoints. It seeks to galvanise community spirit and solidarity by building social understanding about our shared history through an accessible format.
Please note: Councils, Venues and Community Presenters are welcome to book through the Arts & Education program. Contact the team at [email protected] to confirm the program fee.