Home' LOTL : March 2007 Contents 13
AUSTRALIA’S LEADING LESBIAN PLAYWRIGHT
has a new project she’s heavily invested in.
Parramatta Girls is a play that lifts the lid on
the Girls Training School, an institution where
‘delinquent’ girls were committed for ‘correction’
of their uncontrollable behaviour under a section
of the child welfare act that was “almost never
used against boys,” Alana told LOTL.
Unfortunately, this punishable delinquency was
concentrated on girls from Aboriginal communities
and housing commission estates. Alana saw
material for a theatrical narrative and the
opportunity to represent the voices of people who
had not been heard on the Australian mainstage.
“It immediately struck me that surviving such
an institution must involve an incredible story of
triumph and courage. These were women with
guts, attitude and humour and they were crying
out to have their story heard. Both my mother and
my grandmother have passed away and I think I
just wanted to hang out for a few years with some
feisty, tough and bloody funny older women.”
Researching Parramatta Girls took four years
during which Alana spoke to more than 35 women,
attended the 2004 Senate ‘Forgotten Australians’
enquiry hearings, and undertook general research
about ‘children in care’.
She also needed to “reach right down inside
myself and confront all those demons that plague
us all, not just as women, but as humans – the
times when I’ve given in to pettiness, malice,
self-interest, despair and also the times when I’ve
been saved by kindness, generosity, friendship
and a spirit of community.
“Mostly I’ve just listened and listened and listened
until I could boil it all down into an entertaining,
moving and shameful portrait of the lives of poor,
black and ‘delinquent’ Australian children in the
second half of the 20th Century and the adults
that they became.” The resulting play features
eight “powerful, stroppy, funny women on stage
triumphing over the horror that is thrown at them
and laughing, crying and celebrating as they do.”
Fresh from the first week of rehearsals Alana,
the author of Run Rabbit Run, Southern Belle
and Savage Grace, reflects on her career as a
“When I was first starting out as a writer, I was at
a children’s’ book festival and I met a wonderful
children’s author called Jean Chapman. I asked
her what advice she would give to a young writer
and she said to me, “Just keep going”. It’s the
best advice anyone has ever given me and I offer
it to your readers as a suitable mantra.” For details
on Parramatta Girls turn to page 24.
– Merryn Johns
IT’S NO SURPRISE that local women’s music
promoter Amanda Easton should have big plans
for International Women’s Day. The flame-haired
founder of live girl gig Pop Tarts on Monday nights
at The Empire Hotel, Annandale will launch her
new album Chanteuse on March 8 at Newtown’s
Vanguard with special guests Evelyn Duprai, Tania
Murray, Yolanda Thomas, Kylie Memory, Snez and
“Since International Women’s Day inspires women
around the world to achieve their full potential, I
thought it would be a great occasion to hold a
showcase of some of the best local female artists.
And I couldn’t think of a better way to launch my
new album,” Amanda said.
The foxy redhead describes her new album as
theatrical pop, featuring chilled electronic beats
and electric guitars as well as jazz elements
including upright bass and trumpets.
In an era where Sydney’s live music scene struggles
to be heard against the jangle of poker machines,
Pop Tarts is in its sixth year.
“I originally started Pop Tarts because I wanted a
place to play,” Amanda told LOTL. “Then I realised
there were a whole lot of us, particularly girls, in
the same boat.”
As well as being Pop Tarts’ promoter, Amanda is
a session and backing singer, and has appeared
twice at the ARIA Awards backed Powderfinger
and Candice Alley. She has also toured Australia
with Richard Clapton and Wendy Matthews.
Tickets for the Chanteuse launch and IWD
party on March 8, at 8:30pm, are available from
thevanguard.com.au and Moshtix. More info at
amandaeaston.com. We have free CDs to give
away. To win visit lotl.com Free Stuff.
– Stacy Merkin
IF YOU SPEND ANY TIME out on the Perth
scene, you’re likely to intersect eventually with the
pint-sized powerhouse that is Western Australia’s
own singer/songwriter Nat Ripepi. With her CD
Universe already on the market, and another one
on the way, Nat cuts a familiar figure in Perth’s gay
and lesbian community.
Over the past few months, Nat has played to
delighted audiences at events such as the City
of Perth’s Pride Fairday, Homophonix’s Cover
Up, and the women-only Christmas LICK party at
the Court Hotel—but her renown is by no means
localised. Living and working in the UK for three
years, she performed to the community overseas
in places like the women’s tent at Brighton Pride,
the Lesbian Art Festival in Dublin, and released a
live EP available in the UK only.
Now back again in her native Perth, her song, ‘I
Will Not Fall’, co-written with Emily Baker, was
recently selected from amongst 1,800 entrants
as a finalist for the 2006 West Australian Music
Industry Association’s (WAM) Song of the Year
Awards in the ‘Love’ category.
If you haven’t had the chance yet to take in
her soulful acoustic sound, then check out her
regular Sunday evening gig at the Swinging Pig
on Chalgrove Avenue, Rockingham. Lesbians
living east of the Nullabor will have the opportunity
to catch up with Nat as she tours the eastern
states in May and June with gigs booked in
Sydney, Newcastle and Adelaide. For details, visit
her websites at natripepi.com or myspace.com/
natripepi and take a moment to acquaint yourself
with this talented Western Australian songsmith.
– Tessa Millesse
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