Liverpool Performing Arts Ensemble is humbled to announce our latest production Alana Valentine’s Parramatta Girls. A play that sheds light on the dark past of Western Sydney. It is a challenging and confronting play of real stories of female inmates of the Girls Training School in Paramatta. The story revolves around the fortieth anniversary reunion of eight former Parramatta girls. They share what happened to them in the hope they can receive some closure and heal past wounds.
According to Director Nicoleta Marangou who said she didn’t know about this Western Sydney’s hidden history that kept a secret unbeknown to Australians saying “I was shocked this happened, and happened for so long, everyone I talk to seems to not know about this sad past either and it has made me very driven to tell their story.”
Parramatta Girls is a highly sensitive topic, the production has tried very hard to honour all women who have suffered at the hands of this institution both indigenous and non-indigenous, and we have done our best to also honour the girls who have past and the women who are still with us today.
This play has impacted all the cast in many ways. Allison Brown who is playing Judi in the play said “I knew from the first rehearsal that this story would have a huge impact on me. Being given the opportunity to work with these exceptional ladies and to tell the horrific truths of Parramatta Girls has been an experience I will never forget.” While Christina Donoghue who is playing Marlene says “Born in Parramatta myself, it’s shameful to think that this tragedy had happened just down the road, and it went almost unseen. I love that this play shatters the silence that enables abusers”
For the whole production it was extremely humbling to get a message from a former Parramatta girl Maree Giles who praises Liverpool Performing Arts Ensemble saying “So important to Australian history and students studying social work, psychology, paediatrics, law. Important for everyone to know the truth. Important we learn from what happens when the state allows abuse to continue in institutions where the protection and safety of vulnerable children should be a priority. Let no child walk this path again.”
This play isn’t here just to serve as a reminder of what happened, but to stop history from repeating itself. Ironically the sad reality is this particular institution may be officially closed, but the broken system is still so current today. For Nicoleta Marangou “all we have to do is look at Don dale centre in Northern Territory. According to the royal commission, it is not fit to house juveniles and should be closed immediately yet it still reminds open today.”
This play is more relevant than ever to be told, and it is important we hear the voices of the past to change the experiences of the present and future.
Parramatta Girls has an all-female cast of 8, including Allison Brown, Britt Yates, Christina Donoghue, Deirdre Campbell, Karen Breeden, Madelaine Jurd, Nicki James and Thalia Skopellos.
Director Nicoleta Marangou said she is humbled to debut as a director for this incredible story. She said, “What an honour to direct, such an important story!
There will be seven shows of Parramatta Girls between Wednesday, September 4 through to Sunday September 7 only at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.
Producer: John Brown
Director: Nicoleta Marangou
Allison Brown as Judi
Britt Yates as Melanie
Christina Donoghue as Marlene
Deirdre Campbell as Gayle
Karen Breeden as Coral
Madelaine Jurd as Maree
Nicki James as Lynette
Thalia Skopellos as Kerry