By
Barbara Down
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20 March, 2015

The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe

'The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe (photo by Lisa Tomasetti)
On the 5-7 March, a remarkably touching, sometimes harrowing, yet inspiring production took place at London’s Southbank Centre. The cast told their personal stories as refugees finding new life in Australia.

At first you are struck by the vibrancy and passion for life of the women in 'The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe' – but in between the moments of hilarity and music, interspersed with lessons on human rights and geography, you witness the horror that has led to four of those women becoming refugees. You embark on a journey with the four of them, hearing each of their stories, from the painful and frightening experiences in their own countries to their arrival in Australia. Despite the horrors that they had been through, the show leaves you with a sense of hope and forgiveness.

The post-show discussion revealed that performing in the play has brought about healing through sharing their stories – very similar to the way the Initiatives of Change's peace circles work. In fact two of the cast are involved with Creators of Peace in Sydney. Rosemary Kariuki (originally from Kenya) shared how her children in Australia had attended a showing of the play in Sydney and that was the first time that they learned that their mother had given birth to a child in Kenya (who died aged one) as a result of being raped by her relatives. She was anxious as to how they would react to this information, but they were glad to know and are even more protective of their mother as a result of this. Yarri Bangara (originally from Sierre Leone) said how much attending an international conference held by Creators of Peace in Sydney in 2009 had started her life on a new track. Kate Monkhouse, who is a facilitator for Creators of Peace, plus Heinrich Pick and Barbara Down (who both work on the Initiatives of Change website) attended the show and are pictured below with Rosemary and Yarri.

An additional performance also took place in Nottingham on 3 March, 2015.

Photo of the cast by Lisa Tomasetti

Report by Barbara Down

Barbara, Rosemary and Heinrich
Barbara, Yarri and Kate

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