Discover the unexpected stories of Western Sydney in an intimate multi-lingual, multi-generational storytelling show, Who Speaks For Me?
Through personal narratives and photographs, Who Speaks For Me? explores the vagaries of language – the powerlessness of those who do not have it, the nuances lost in translation, and the sometimes hilarious consequences of misunderstanding it.
Who Speaks For Me? includes the story of Cambodian mother, Ly Heang Seang, who was so desperate to get her driver’s license that she sat for the written test a total of 31 times before succeeding. Throughout her story, Ly Heang Seang comes to rely on her son, Vanna, for communicating in English including facilitating meetings with his school principal and at a later stage, providing the words to assist Ly Heang Seang to triumph over workplace bullying.
The production also includes the story of Vietnamese refugee, Bà Quôc Viêt, who fled her homeland by boat with her daughter Sophie To. Famous in Vietnam and parts of south-east Asia for her cooking expertise, Bà Quôc Viêt never let a lack of English get in her way, especially when it came to communicating with her ‘favourite’ grandson William who was born profoundly deaf and learnt to speak only English.
And from western Sydney’s Bhutanese community, we hear the story of husband and wife Puspa Lal and Chandra Acharya who were forced to flee persecution in Bhutan for protesting a clampdown on the Nepali language and culture. After two decades in a refugee camp in Nepal, they arrived in Sydney as part of a major humanitarian program to settle 5000 Bhutanese refugees in Australia. Here, Puspa helps new migrants adjust to life in his new country and Chandra is learning English but relies on Puspa to speak for her.
These and other irresistible stories will be accompanied by rare photographs from private collections and will take the audience to the heart of the migrant’s journey.
Co-directed by master storyteller and photographer William Yang, and writer and producer Annette Shun Wah, Who Speaks For Me follows their critically acclaimed collaborations Stories Then & Now, Stories East & West and In Between Two.
Performance 4a is the only professional arts company dedicated to making exceptional contemporary Asian Australian work for all audiences. It strives to engender greater cultural diversity in Australian performing arts by producing cross-artform theatrical works of the highest quality. Who Speaks for Me? is the first collaboration between Performance 4a and the National Theatre of Parramatta, bringing to light the stories of Western Sydney often hidden because of language and culture, yet integral to the vibrancy of the region.
National Theatre of Parramatta and Performance 4a will present the world-premiere of Who Speaks For Me? from 12th to 15th October at Riverside Theatres.
Dates & Times:
Wednesday 12 October 7:30pm – PREVIEW
Thursday 13 October 7:30pm – OPENING NIGHT
Friday 14 October 7:30pm
Saturday 15 October 2pm & 7:30pm
Adult $37, Concession $32, 30 & Under $27, Child Under 16 $27
Who Speaks For Me? Artist Talk
Join the cast and co-directors William Yang and Annette Shun Wah, as they discuss the process of making Who Speaks For Me?
Dates & Times:
Saturday 15 October 4pm
Free, bookings essential