‘While the theatre stands up for the despised, Australian culture and decency are not yet dead.’ — Thomas Keneally
The first of its kind, this timely anthology brings together six contemporary Australian plays that offer a range of narratives and perspectives on asylum seekers. A vexed issue within the Australian community—particularly among politicians, who often use asylum seekers to further their own ends—this collection contributes to Australia’s ongoing discourse on unauthorised asylum seekers, immigration detention, border control and the right to belong.
This eclectic collection includes CMI (A Certain Maritime Incident) by version 1.0, a smart, ironic verbatim work that deals with the Children Overboard Affair and the SIEV X disaster; The Rainbow Dark by Victoria Carless, a surreal domestic satire about immigration detention; The Pacific Solution by Ben Eltham, which takes armchair cricket commentary as a point of departure for a farce about the Howard government’s excision of migration territory; Halal-el-Mashakel by Linda Jaivin, which looks at the friendship between two detained asylum seekers; Journey of Asylum – Waiting devised by Catherine Simmonds, a series of vignettes based upon the personal experiences of asylum seekers and refugees living in Melbourne; and Nothing But Nothing by Towfiq Al-Qady, an autobiographical play about childhood and war.
With a main Introduction as well as separate introductions to each play by editor and drama lecturer Dr Emma Cox, Staging Asylum recognises the crucial role that theatre has played—and continues to play—in one of Australia’s most hotly debated and urgent contemporary issues.