Credit where credit's due

14 April 2017

Shannon Atherton on how the issues facing us in society have been tackled with skill, respect and consideration


I am incredibly overwhelmed by the range of talent on offer at NSDF. I have seen some performances that I can’t stop thinking about and some that I will remember for ever. However, the most important thing I know I will take away from this experience is the sheer intelligence and maturity of everyone involved.

It’s time to stand up to those who insist on putting us down; we cannot listen to one more ignorant voice insisting that drama is a soft subject. Because from what I’ve seen, throughout my educational career and especially during this week, our community of students are among some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I have ever had the fortune to meet. And this couldn’t be clearer in the work being produced.

Some of the most complex and delicate issues facing our generation, and society in general, have been tackled with the utmost respect and consideration, and I am impressed – though not surprised – by how well each piece explored their chosen themes. From he she they’s bold challenge of the distinctions between gender, to Swallow’s expert examination of mental health, one very clear thing is that we are all incredibly aware of what we must face and our responsibility to bring about change.

What’s more, our consciousness of the world around us doesn’t end when we leave the rehearsal space. In discussion it has been blatantly obvious that each of us has a voice, an opinion and a desire to be heard. I think if we all had the chance to say what we wanted to on the topic of "integrated and gender-blind casting", we would likely be in the room for 24 hours if not more.

I feel inspired and privileged to be part of a family that is so vocal about the problems that face us and so determined to work towards a solution. Anyone who still believes that drama is in any way a "cop out" or an easy option needs to open their eyes to the NSDF, a prime example of the fact that we are doing all we can to achieve equality. We are the generation who will build a better future the only way we know how to – through theatre.


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Photo credit: Aenne Pallasca