08 Jul, 2011 Last updated: 30 Nov, 2014

Sarajevo Suite, opening in Dandenong on July 14, tells three womens stories of the siege of Sarajevo.

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How would it be to live in a city under siege? To suddenly fear for your life? For four years. An Arts About Us production, opening at the Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre in Dandenong on 14 July, explores these questions.

In Sarajevo Suite, three women - two Bosnian and one Serbian tell their stories of the siege of Sarajevo. They share the small details of their lives, and their great losses. Their stories are vivid and strikingly simple, woven with poetry and music.

Sarajevo Suite brings the experiences of women survivors of war to Australian audiences. We heard about the war in Bosnia on the news, distantly, briefly. The media attention ends, but the trauma remains for the people who lived through the war. Sarajevo Suite tells part of that story. Exquisite performances from three women actors from diverse European backgrounds in a poetic new work of documentary style theatre.

It is part of La Mama’s Arts About Us project, ‘Theatre for Our Diverse Community’. Arts About Us is a VicHealth program that encourages dialogue about the impacts of race-based discrimination and the benefits of cultural diversity.

VicHealth’s Acting CEO Associate Professor John Fitzgerald said: “Arts About Us projects such as Sarajevo Suite provide a powerful platform for celebrating cultural diversity and strengthening cultural understanding.”

The writer of Sarajevo Suite, Helen Lucas, is a teacher, writer and traveler. She has published eight books, including two collections of poetry and short stories. Her community work with refugees and her travels influences all of her work. This personal experience comes through in the depth of this beautifully rich text.

Director Bagryana Popov is a theatre maker, director and choreographer. Much of Bagryana’s work has investigated themes of displacement, identity, power and who has a voice in society. Recent works include Progress and Melancholy (at fortyfivedownstairs), which received three Green Room Awards and Subclass 26A - a physical theatre work about refugees in detention.

Her PhD investigates the experience under the totalitarian regime in Bulgaria, and she has recently presented the performance component of her research in Sofia, including a dance solo, He Is Not Here, performed by Simon Ellis, and her short film Returning.

Sarajevo Suite

Written by Helen Lucas
directed by Bagryana Popov
performed by Donna Dimovski, Olena Fedorova, Anneli Bjorasen
lighting by Richard Vabre • music by Ernie Gruner
music and sound design by Elissa Goodrich • design consultant: Adrienne Chisholm

Walker St Gallery and Arts Centre
cnr. Robinson and Walker Streets, Dandenong
Thursday 14th July, 8pm.
Duration: 75 mins approx.

Bookings: 9347 6142 / www.lamama.com.au Information: Caitlin at [email protected] / 9347 6948

For media enquires please contact Natalie Filmer on 0418 586 141 or at [email protected]