We had a short, sharp, almost SOLD OUT joyful season of queer theatre in Western Sydney!
After years of steady development, Let Me Know When You Get Home, a queer, coming of age Western Sydney play, had its world premiere at Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta. Audience members came in despite the driving rain to support the work.
Reviews for the work have been supportive and positive. Harriet Cunningham wrote for the SMH, “Its miraculously happy ending might make the curmudgeons among us roll their eyes but I, for one, was cheering.” The most important reviews, however, have come from the main audience for the work – young, queer people from Western Sydney. The response after every show was teary, grateful, joyful.
Our audience engagement strategy focused on making sure the show was as accessible as possible to young, LGBTQI+ Westies. The first step was finding it a home in Western Sydney, at Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta. Next, we worked with a Fairfield-based young person (and artist in her own right!), Gemma Navarrete, who drove the audience and community engagement strategy. It felt important that at every step of the process we were working with the audience in mind, including giving working opportunities to more young people.
We sent out discount codes to specific organisations that worked with Western Sydney youth to ensure the price point was more accessible. Lastly, we held a donation drive to send folks to the theatre for the first time, with an emphasis on reaching out to LGBTQI+, First Nations, CALD (especially Filipino), youth and low-income folks. We reached our goal in RECORD TIME, thanks to your donations, and were able to offer tickets to people from different organisations across Western Sydney. This included CPAC Youth, Miller Technology High School, Flagcom, The Western, and AllOut Blacktown, an LGBTQI+ off-shoot of Blacktown Youth Services Association.
We asked some of the folks who received donated tickets about their experience with the show. Here are some of the comments they’ve shared.
“As a young queer person who grew up in Western Sydney, watching this truly felt like experiencing key moments in my own journey with the benefit of hindsight. ” Young person from Blacktown’s AllOut.
“…I think it provided a lot of closure as someone who’s journey with their queerness was very similar, and could potentially herald the same feeling for others like myself.” Young person from The Western.
“LMWYGH illustrates a uniquely poignant and hopeful picture of growing up queer in Western Sydney. it could so easily have fallen into the trap of only representing the difficult parts of this experience – but instead, it meaningfully acknowledges these struggles, while also instilling a sense of hope. It is an incredible piece of art, and my favourite piece of queer media to date.” Young person from Blacktown’s AllOut.
This theatre show represented a lot of firsts, including many firsts for its key, queer Filipino/Filipinx artists. This was the directorial debut of Valerie Berry, the acting debut of Gloria Demillo and of course, the playwriting debut for CuriousWorks’ own Miranda Aguilar. Congratulations!
Of course, this season is just the beginning! We can’t wait to see where this show, and these artists, go next!
Thank you to everyone who came out to support the work. Thank you to our presenting partner, Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta, as well as the organisations who made this work possible – Blacktown City Arts Council, APT (previously Playwriting Australia), Q Theatre, PYT Fairfield, Sydney Fringe, and the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body.
All photos (aside from the one above of the supportive CuriousWorks cohort at the first show) were taken by Noni Carroll.
To learn more about the process behind Let Me Know When You Get Home, click here.