Theatre translates student stories

A group of international students are telling their unknown stories at a theatre program at Library at The Dock on October 24.

In an authentic storytelling performance on stage, the international students will show the audience who they really are beyond the common stereotypes.

Behind the “international student” tag, the She’ll Be Right cast includes a doctor working where drug dealers rule, an engineer now cleaning toilets, a good girl taking off her mask, a teacher passionate to share her language, a banker questioning real value and a volunteer translating for Syrian refugees.

Part of the Act of Translation program, a diverse group of Melbourne’s international students worked over the past few months through creative workshops that explored their studying and living experiences and shared stories with each other.

Through the workshops they devised the She’ll Be Right theatre performance featuring real-life individuals and the stories that they would tell their friends – but not their parents!

Artistic director Catherine Simmonds said the program aimed to open up a conversation between international students and the local community.

“It’s about building a culture in the city where international students feel welcomed and comfortable to share their ideas and feelings and explore their issues,” she said.

“Theatre is a language, learning to express yourself through physical movement, translating your emotion through action and speaking up without having to be correct.”

“The students can build the connection and create in-depth conversation to express themselves,” Ms Simmonds said.

Ms Simmonds described the program as “created by, with and for students”.

Program manager and participant Feifei Liao said Act of Translation could build a bridge of understanding between students who come from different cultures.

“It’s about us having the connection to the community,” she said.

“The program is also very reflecting for the students, who can also gain more understanding of their own experiences through sharing with others.”

Act of Translation and She’ll Be Right is a collaboration between Study Melbourne, the City of Melbourne, RMIT University, the Australian Federation of International Students and Ms Simmonds.

Free tickets to the performance can be booked on Eventbrite.