Inside Crack #2 – Tok Thok

article written by: Cassandra Ramsay

TOK THOK

An interview with Suzanne Millar: Director, Devisor and Co-Producer

With the ‘boat people’ issue being continually presented as rhetoric through Australian political frameworks and media sensationalism, it’s easy to think of the masses becoming more and more desensitised to the very real and very human experience of what it means to be a refugee.

bAKEHOUSE Theatre Company are creating a work that reignites that perspective of the conversation with their work tok thoc, a multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-art production with a diverse ensemble of 21.

Under the direction of Suzanne Millar, writer John Harrison and dramaturg Dino Dimitriadis performers from Sudan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Malaysia, Singapore, Chin, Sri Lanka, and indigenous participants from the Northern Territory are devising a work that reflects their own experiences and speaks in their own voices – although not necessarily in the same language.

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“Their stories are unthinkable, unimaginable in their difficulties and heroism” says director Suzanne. “They should be heard.”

The impressive ensemble ranges in age from 13 to over 60. Although Suzanne has worked with all the cast in one way or another, the performers all range in terms of training and experience – for some it will be their first time on stage.

It’s no surprise that Suzanne would tackle such an ambitious project. “My conversations spring out of ‘why can’t we do that?’” she states.

“All the cast are extraordinarily talented. In what other place might these people work together? How incredibly fortunate I am to be working with them!”

Passionate about the role of theatre in supporting marginalised groups, Suzanne has worked with organisations such as Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation, South Sudan Educates Girls, The Refugee Art Project (Villawood Detention Centre) and Jesuit Refugee Service.

Coming to Crack Theatre Festival for the first time, Suzanne reflects that “theatre can become competitive, but Crack has placed itself outside the usual benchmarks of success of audience numbers and reviews. And that makes me feel confident about bring along vulnerable people in a vulnerable work.”