Theatre, Performance art
 (Photograph: Alex Wisser)
Photograph: Alex WisserRhonda Dixon Grovenor in Tribunal
 (Photograph: Supplied)
Photograph: Supplied

This show puts the government's response to refugees on trial in a theatrical 'people's court' presided over by Aboriginal elder Aunty Rhonda Dixon Grovenor

Sometimes national issues seem too complex and murky for us to really understand. Enter Tribunal, a verbatim theatre project that plans to start a conversation by holding one right before your eyes.

Indigenous elders meet refugees, artists and human rights lawyers onstage to form an Australian Truth and Reconciliation Council. It’s a cultural exchange where community leaders tackle gut-punch topics like colonisation, refugees in detention and institutional racism – by telling true stories about those who are and have been dispossessed and oppressed by the Australian government. It’s a reckoning with our past and our present, as well as a call to arms for our future.

Fairfield’s Powerhouse Youth Theatre, with their cast of activists, new Australians and community, tell provocative and heartbreaking stories. For the most part, these aren’t performers: these are real people. Don’t expect melodrama or a play-like script. Expect anger, tears, and surprising pockets of hope and joy.

Tribunal has had successful seasons before at Sydney Festival and Griffin Theatre, but even if you've seen this powerful work it's worth revisiting as no two performances are the same. There are different guests at each performance and the discussions evolve in different ways. Tribunal will be on at the Sydney Opera House for three powerful performances from July 6-7 and if you attend the performances on Saturday, July 7 you'll be greeted by Parents’ Cafe – serving free Iraqi tea, coffee and sweets before and after the show.


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