Western Edge Youth Arts (WEYA) presents an explosive new adaptation of Romeo and Juliet created and performed by the newly formed St Albans Edge on 8 December at The Bowery Theatre.
St Albans Edge is a free community youth theatre project, directed by WEYA Associate Director Penny Harpham, and facilitated by WEYA emerging artists, Rex Pelman, Michael Logo and Amarachi Okorom.
Over the year, twelve teenage girls from diverse backgrounds and different high schools collaborated to create Grace for Race; an investigation into racism, outdated stereotypes, girlhood and the new season of teen cult classic, Riverdale.
"Culture is a huge part of this play, and as a young African female who also grew up in a Western country, it warms my heart to see a group of younger African-Australian girls get a chance to speak and be heard,” Amarachi Okorom says.
Amarachi is also conscious of creating a safe space where these young women can comfortably be themselves, and share their experiences as first and second generation migrants and as young adults in Australia; and says she sees that translate beautifully in the work that comes through each week.
The play explores culture in the binary, African Capulets and Islander Montagues, then unpacks the stereotypes and pressures placed onto these complex cultural demographics; while in the eye of the storm, two women become friends against all odds.
This coming of age performance offers lived experiences from a Grade 11 Sudanese woman in the midst of the APEX media frenzy; a Samoan daughter balancing family responsibilities and her studies; a Liberian student obsessed with Nicki Minaj; a twelve year old Nigerian girl wanting revenge for culture wars started generations ago.
The ensemble will also be preparing traditional food with their families, and invite Brimbank communities to come along and share their traditions and customs; leading the way in celebrating multiculturalism and social cohesion.
“There is an unbridled and overwhelming power that comes with a group of teenage girls and the unadulterated and irrepressible joy they bring. They share a vision for the future that is hopeful and loving; leading the way one Ariana Grande song at a time, maybe this is the medicine we all need,” Penny said.
St Albans Edge is proudly supported by Brimbank City Council and the Victorian government. This production was also supported by the Brimbank Community Charitable Fund, a charitable fund account of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, and first presented at the Bowery Theatre.
Date: Saturday, 8 December
Time: 7.00 PM – 8.00 PM
Location: The Bowery Theatre, 1 Princess St, St Albans
Tickets: Free tickets www.bowerystacc.com.au, limited seats available