Play Explores Child Refugee Experience

Play Explores Child Refugee Experience

On Thursday 8th and Friday 9th of September (2011), 18 teenagers from South Western Sydney will come together to share their experiences as refugee children. Tree of Life by Treehouse Theatre is a montage of true stories, and a sharing of the joys, sorrows, terrors, relief, and humour of the refugee experience.

The Tree of Life explores the human experience of refugee children, as trauma survivors, asylum seekers, resettled refugees and Australians.

These 18 adolecent refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have developed and will perform this work to redefine their refugee experience from pain and suffering, to survival and triumph.

Tree of Life is based upon a trauma recovery program, however it has been expanded to integrate the teaching of English language, cultural competency and performance skills with trauma recovery to equip these young people to become the best Australians they can be.

School counsellor Catherine Maguire‐Donvito and drama teacher Ruth Hartcher‐O’Brien are the artistic directors of Treehouse Theatre, initiated in 2010. The Tree of Life performance is part of Treehouse Theatre’s ongoing project that assists young refugees to honour their past and build resilience for the future.

“Drama provides wonderful opportunities for healing and building resilience”, said psychologist Ms Maguire‐Donvito. “It provides the skills and the confidence to become contributing members of our multicultural Australian community.”

After Tree of Life performances at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre last year, the intake of young people who have shared their stories this year are hopeful of similar success. The Tree of Life performance will be brought to the public at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (8, 9 September) and Ensemble Theatre (26 September).

“I am amazed at the stories these young people tell. The performance will stir your heart, open your mind, and leave you feeling absolutely inspired!” said drama teacher, Ms Hartcher‐O’Brien.

Tree of Life is generously supported by Miller Technology High School & Intensive English Centre, Liverpool City Council, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, The Ensemble Theatre and The Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS).

For further information about Tree of Life performances and the Treehouse Threatre project, and

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