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Byron Shire
June 1, 2023

War Crimes: creating identity

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Byron Bay High School are excited to be bringing their powerful production of Angela Betzien’s War Crimes to the stage. Photo Marie Rosenberger.

Year 11 drama students from Byron Bay High School (BBHS) are excited to be bringing their powerful production of Angela Betzien’s War Crimes to the stage next week, and warmly invite the Byron Shire community to attend one of their three evening performances.

War Crimes gives voices to five tough, poor teenage girls from Cummergunja, a forgotten coastal town with limited opportunities. They each fight their own personal battles, railing against authority and each other within a culture of masculinity and racism. We witness their individual struggles to develop a sense of identity and agency, in a community where tensions are high and powerlessness breeds hatred for ‘the other’.

The play presents important messages about youth culture, friendship, empathy, compassion, racism, belonging and identity, and draws important parallels between conflict, violence and oppression in a world at war and in the lives of small town teenagers.

Under the guidance of drama teacher Simone Museth, the students have taken on technical, design, direction and acting roles with professionalism, talent and skill – some even learned their lines in Arabic! The play has been largely directed and designed by students themselves, and their creative efforts are sure to impress.

Contemporary Australian playwright Angela Betzien claims that the play was written with the ‘intention of stirring up some big questions about our national history, identity and future… and ‘what is sacred to us as a nation’.

The play will have audience thinking deeply about questions such as ‘Who calls Australia home?’ and ‘What is worth fighting for?’

Tickets for this gripping drama are selling fast and seating is limited. Performances are held on 26,  28 and 29June at 7pm in the BBHS Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $10 adult, $5 concession and $25 Family of four.

CONTENT WARNING: The school wishes to advise that the themes of sexual assault, racism and teenage drinking, along with sexual references and coarse language, make it unsuitable for some viewers. Mature audience 15+ is strongly recommended.

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