First Seen Program – Barren Ground by Helen Machalias

The Street, Canberra
Friday 4 September 2020 at 5pm
Online performance, limited places
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Canberra-based writer Helen Machalias returns to The Street for the third and final FIRST SEEN: new works-in-progress in 2020, her new play, Barren Ground.

Machalias’s story explores timeless themes of dislocation, forgiveness and redemption and the plot, character and dialogue draw on  elements of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Barbie speaks with Helen Machalias about Barren Ground

The play is a contemporary exploration of the asylum seeker experience in Australia, and presents life in the Christmas Island detention centre between 2010 and its closure in 2018. The work includes media reports of and first-hand accounts of refugees.

Christmas Island was again in the news in 2020 when it was reopened as a quarantine site for returning travellers during the COVID-19 pandemic and to detain the Biloela family.

FIRST SEEN in 2020 has required everyone to work online and remotely, creating a virtual workshop floor from the varied spaces of the artists working on each project. First Seen is still very much about ‘liveness’ and creativity and shared experience. ‘

The Street invites audience to be part of the creative development process and give your feedback at the work-in-progress showing.

Picture of Helen Machalias and Rebecca Clode by Shelly Higgs