Giving forgotten female heroes their voice back
A haunting yet inspirational production coming to Hobart next month aims to give a group of brave women back their voices, and their rightful place in history.
Written by acclaimed playwright and social historian Cate Whittaker, ‘Forgotten – the Female Convict Rebellion’ comes to Hobart’s Playhouse Theatre straight from its second sell-out season at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta.
This riveting play relives one of the few female rebellions in world history, which occurred at the Parramatta Female Convict Factory Penitentiary in 1827.
When convict women began to die of starvation and their pleas fell on deaf ears, the women took matters into their own hands and went on strike.
Thrown into the penitentiary, they overcame their different backgrounds and prejudices to band together and take a stand against authority, with 220 women braving lead shot and bayonets to break out and tell the colony their story.
‘Forgotten’ shows the appalling treatment and unbelievable courage of these women, whose deeds were lost to history when Factory records were deliberately destroyed.
“These courageous women are no ‘stain on our society’,” Whittaker says.
“The shame sits with the British Government, who removed them from children, families and friends in one of the cruellest pieces of social engineering in history to populate a colony.
“For Ireland it smacks of genocide, with twice the Irish Catholic women transported to English, yet England’s population was double Ireland’s.”
Whittaker, at 74, is passionate at giving wrongly maligned women their rightful place in history and in the theatre. Her play ‘Jane Franklin and the Rajah Quilt’ will be in Hobart this November.
Performed by young drama graduates under the guidance of director Madeleine Diggins, Lost Voices presents ‘Forgotten’ at Hobart’s Playhouse Theatre from 14-16 July. Tickets are available via www.playhouse.org.au
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