Created and performed by the Geelong Edge Ensemble, Western Edge Youth Arts presents the premier of Six Hours in Geelong this October.
A story of loss, loathing, love, and racism, Six Hours in Geelong is a fast and funny musical ride, through a cultural kaleidoscope into the soul of a changing city. A true story about a group of young people, who witness an Islamophobic incident on the Melbourne to Geelong train, which leads them to question their identity, friendships and sense of belonging.
The Geelong Edge Ensemble, are a company of eleven young emerging artists from Middle Eastern, Pacifika and African backgrounds, who have drawn on personal experience and diverse stories to create theatre that fearlessly examines the complex cultural landscapes they inhabit.
Among the eleven young artists is dancer, actor, musician, and arts in education facilitator Craig Gunguta – a creative powerhouse who believes he is here for a reason. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Craig moved to Geelong by himself in 2014, when he was 17 years old. In Zimbabwe he was involved in making Zimdancehall music. And since moving to Australia, he has continued to develop his creative practice, working across a range of disciplines.
Theatre was a new thing that he got into pretty soon after coming to Australia. He was in year 10 at North Geelong Secondary College when a group from Western Edge Youth Arts came and did an interactive performance at the school, and some of his friends were doing WEYA’s after-school workshop program, and suggested he come along.
“Everyone was like Craig, gotta join in, gotta join in! My friend Chang was really keen and I wasn’t, but then I started to be the one to say ‘are you coming?’. I got really interested in acting,” Craig explains.
Three years later, Craig is working for Western Edge Youth Arts as a facilitator, supporting younger participants in a similar open access theatre program in Wyndham, as they find their voice and their confidence in front of an audience. In Six Hours In Geelong, Craig plays a character called Zondo.
“My character’s name is actually taken from one of my best friends who is in Zimbabwe at the moment,” he explains. “He went to the same school as me in Zimbabwe. There was always an alpha male at the school and he was it. Then he passed on the tradition to me. People liked you as that person, but at the same time they feared you. He was sort of a mentor for me. That’s why I named the character that, ‘cos the character really reminds me of him.
“Most of the stuff in this story [Six Hours In Geelong] is something that really happened to somebody and something that really happened in the world. When we were writing this we were channelling energies of things we’d experienced and trying to express that. Trying to express how the world is and ways to make it better.”
Six Hours in Geelong features rap, spoken word, and contemporary and traditional dance and song from a range of cultures and subcultures thriving in Geelong. Acclaimed surf coast composer Callum Watson is collaborating with the cast on original musical elements, and film maker Hoang Tran Nguyen is creating multimedia elements.
Along with Craig, the Geelong Edge Ensemble is comprised of Obi Jamshadi, Sila Toprak, Shinaya Tuari, Eto Masoka Claudine, Irene Bakulikira, Alain Bakulikira and Alphonse Mulashe.
When & Where: Drama Theatre, GPAC – October 27, 1pm and 7pm
Tickets: $5.50 concession, $10 full
Bookings via www.gpac.org.au or call Box Office on 03 5225 1200
Supported by the State Government Community Resilience Initiative and contributing to the ‘Victorian and Proud Of It’ campaign.