The Migration Project
The Migration Project was an exploration of the voices of new arrivals and old arrivals in our country. Where do we come from? Where are, we going? What does it mean to be a new Australian? What does it mean to be an Australian. The migration project explores the voices and experiences of new arrival to discover what makes us Australian.
The draw card of “Boat people “, “refugees “and “Asylum Seekers” have dominated and continue to dominate of the public and political arena of Australia. An environment often fueled by inaccurate reporting by the media has lead to rumors, politics, misconceptions and fear.
The migration project investigated the migration and rich history and culture of Australia and an exploration of culture, language and politics. The starting point of this project was from the present moment, where we continue to encounter fears and prejudices towards “Boat people” and “Refugees” to a journey to the before the first wave of Migration. By looking back at the past of early migration and the associated racism and political policy we made a link to the current political landscape that is the current political minefield of Asylum seekers.
Working in collaboration with The Migration Museum this project was culturally and linguistically rich, and it sourced participants from diverse multicultural backgrounds as part of the research and resourcing of material for the project.
Primarily the participants were sought from William Light and Woodville High School and workshops were conducted on the school campus and involved their classroom teachers. Both schools had students from 40 cultural backgrounds.
Drawing from these workshops there was a development of a theatrical piece that utilised a multimedia approach along with live performance to give a voice to the migrant, asylum seeker and/or refugee from the unique perspective of the young new and old Australian. This project allowed participants to explore the diverse experiences and at times harsh reality of what it means to be a refugee and/or migrant. It gave these young Australians a voice.
By utilising many forms of multimedia, performance techniques and interviews it told the story of the migrant. This will include the highs and the lows in the hope to provide greater understanding, compassion and enlightenment to a wider audience that might only be exposed to a migrant on the television screen covering yet another boat arrival. The beginnings of the show involved breaking up the audience into groups and forcing them into a migration zone or process whereby they were asked the question “What makes you Australian” people were hassled and moved into lines dependent on hair colour and random factors that had really no relevance. Following this the audience were then grouped and the performer told them a story about themselves and what made them an Australia. This was to provide a human face to the performer rather than a race, skin colour or background. The live performance that followed involved the willing participants, interviews from the school students not in the performance were also included and each performer gave their unique story of migration which were both tragic, heartbreaking and of course at times light hearted. It gave the migrant and non-migrant a voice, allowed them to tell their story and promote understanding, tolerance and break down the stereotype of the average migrant and/or refugee. Alirio Zavarce as writer, performer and director drew from a unique perspective that he himself is a migrant.