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What Does it Mean to Call a Place “Home”?

The latest work by Urban Theatre Projects brings strong messages of identity and country to Sydney

What Does it Mean to Call a Place “Home”?

It is not often that one faces questions of existentialism in a car park. However, it is in the setting of the Colo Lane car park in Blacktown in Sydney’s inner west, that Urban Theatre Projects (UTP) presents their latest work, Home Country. Making its world premiere at Sydney Festival in January, Home Country is an epic story that shares perspectives on place and identity.

In choosing the location, UTP Artistic Director, Rosie Dennis said that she was drawn to the openness of the space, “I wanted a closing scene that connected the audience with Sydney’s east and west, and that also connected with the sky. A space with no walls.”

This powerful new work explores the meaning of ‘home’ in a narrative that weaves new work by writers Andrea James, Peter Polites and Gaele Sobott.

Audience members are greeted by the effervescent ‘Uncle Cheeky’ (played by Billy McPherson), an Aboriginal elder welcoming everyone to country, and the start of the show. They are then guided through various levels of the car park as the stories unfold, arriving on the car park’s rooftop for the finale, and a communal feast.

Home Country is the story of urban Sydney told in three interweaving chapters form the perspectives of an Aboriginal man, a post-war Greek migrant and a recently arrived immigrant to Australia. All the stories are made to question ideas of identity, place and home – questions which Director Rosie Dennis says are pertinent today, “I think this is a really important discussion at the moment, locally and globally. Right now in the world, we need powerful, brave storytelling to help shift these social and political conversations.”

Home Country will be performed as part of the Sydney Festival from 11 – 22 January. More information can be found on the Sydney Festival website here

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