The Village

May 15th, 2017 — May 19th, 2017


La Boite Studio & Parade Ground


La Boite & MDA Ltd


Todd MacDonald
Ayeesha Ash - Assistant Director
Silva A Sal - Assistant Director
Peter Sutherland - Stage Manager


Arwin Arwin
Ngoc Phan
Cieavash Arean
Joyce Joyce Jattu Taylor
Lili Sanchez
Muhammad Akram

Set Designer

Moe Assaad

Sound Designer

Wil Hughes

About The Village

A collaboration with refugee resettlement agency MDA Ltd, The Village immerses the audience in the real stories of refugees and people seeking asylum who have made Australia their home.

 The Village showcases the cultural diversity of Australia and honours the courage, strength and determination of the women, men and children who have made this country their new home.

The Village uses the verbatim stories of refugees and people seeking asylum to guide audiences on an experiential journey.

Witness how ordinary people have found themselves in extraordinary situations and persevered to tell their life-changing stories. Audiences will engage with these stories first hand through an interactive performance experience.

The Village has been created specifically with secondary students in mind, but everyone is welcome at The Village to enjoy this collaborative theatre project.

“It felt really real, authentic. Being immersed into it, you can appreciate the stories more and actually feel part of that journey.”- Teacher


Tell us your story

I have been led to the La Boite Theatre Company website through a search for Cieavash Arean, his art and it's Middle Eastern origins. An art form that has fascinated me for a number of years. I am an Australian of Anglo Celtic extraction and this keen interest in Middle Eastern art came as a complete accident in January 1973. However let me start at the beginning: In 1972 I was accepted for a position in Saudi Arabia working for the UN Civil Aviation Agency ICAO, teaching electronics to Saudi and Gulf State teenagers at Dhahran International Airport. I knew absolutely nothing about the Middle East or where Saudi Arabia was on the map except that it was somewhere near the place that everyone knew from the Pyramids, Egypt. I didn't realise that I was to be privileged to be among the few permitted to enter the epicentre of Islam. I don't think I knew what Islam was because I was astonished to see in the men's toilet in Bahrain Transit Lounge a huge Nubian man bedecked in the robe and headgear, lift his feet one by one into the hand basin performing ritual cleansing prior to prayer. At Dhahran Airport I was immediately taken by the exquisitely elegant airport building designed by a Japanese American architect Minoru Yamasaki in the Islamic style transported the 20th century. The Islamic style of architecture spoke to me then and now. I was aware of the conservative/severe nature of Saudi Islam but then I was not aware of the dark face of its Wahhabi roots. I was however fascinated by the clerics on TV reciting from the Quran. The language, although indecipherable was hypnotic. Entering Iran on holidays in 1974 seemed like returning to a place familiar to my being. Isfahan and Shiraz welcomed-Tehran was a city like many but it was there that I heard the music of Googoosh which after a musically forbidden Saudi was with its un-Western sound, most appealing and compelling. In Shiraz I rediscovered Omar Khayyam and discovered Hafez. In Isfahan I discovered in the cobalt blue patterned tiles and the cupolas within cupolas the fascination with the infinite Islam holds. Here in Persia outside the centre of the whirlpool of Islam in Saudi where the culture is totally contained in the language and religion alone diverse cultures mix and produce an exquisitely fantastic cultural kaleidoscope. Since my days in Saudi I have been a keen student of the Middle East; its politics and its place in the world. I have a Kurdish friend Kasim who as a PhD student in the 1980s worked with me at CSIRO and who taught me about the Kurds and their dream of a homeland. Kasim is now a professor at Erbil's Salahaddin University. From Kasim's story upon his return to Iraq I have some sense of what it is to be a outcast in one's own land and just how indomitable the human spirit is. Fast forward to about 2012 and a chance meeting at a neighbour's house in Gosford on NSW's Central Coast with Iranian musician and storyteller Cieavash Arean. He spoke of his journey from the nightmare of Abadan to Australia and gave me a copy of his group's CD Khezr where the words of Hafez are coupled exquisitely with the music of ancient Persia. Should Cieavash be still associated with the Theatre Group I would like to pass on my best wishes in this his new home and to thank him once again for the gift of Hafez's philosophy to English speakers; a man who despite living in the most troubled of times managed to retain and convey his humanity and positivity to the generations to follow. Today especially, the world needs the wisdom of Hafez so desperately. Sincerely - Frank Frank Scaysbrook 10 Canowie Crescent Buttaba NSW 2283 M; 0411 022 632

Frank Scaysbrook