Moulin Rouge! The Musical to use its platform on January 26

The producers of Moulin Rouge! The Musical will dedicate its evening performance on January 26 to highlighting the work of two Aboriginal community controlled organisations in solidarity with Indigenous people.

There was considerable discussion within the company about whether to perform on January 26 – a day that is traumatic and painful for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical decided to go ahead and use the show’s platform to make an economic contribution, raise awareness of the human rights issues still facing many Indigenous people and to celebrate the love and support these two Aboriginal community controlled organisations bring to so many Indigenous lives.

Global Creatures and the show’s production partners will donate profits from the performance to The Westerman Jilya Institute and Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company.

Both organisations make a tangible and meaningful difference in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids, families and communities by improving mental health outcomes and maintaining and strengthening cultural connections.

This special performance will conclude with the organisation’s representatives and Associate Director Bobbi Henry joining the show’s producer Carmen Pavlovic and the cast on stage to raise awareness of the work they do.

The Indigenous represenatives will include Kungarakan Warramungu woman Merinda Dickson, Chief Operating Officer of The Westerman Jilya Institute Nyaki-Nyaki Maaman, Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Maitland Schnaars, Wadjuk woman Yirra Yaakin.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical producer Carmen Pavlovic said the company accepted the invitation of the Uluru Statement of the Heart and declared its support for enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Australian Constitution earlier this year.

“Irrespective of the outcome on October 14th, our commitment to supporting Aboriginal people does not stop after the referendum,” she said.

“We continue to walk with Indigenous people and to support reconciliation in this country. We felt very strongly about that.

PHOTO: Michelle Grace-Hunder

“We are honoured to partner with two important and greatly respected organisations, The Westerman Jilya Institute and Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, who are doing invaluable work for Aboriginal people and communities.”

The Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health Aboriginal Corporation was founded in December 2019 by Nyamal woman, Dr Tracy Westerman AM, who has worked for two decades to reduce the burden of mental illness and suicide in Aboriginal communities.

The Westerman Jilya Institute delivers support and mentoring to a network of Indigenous psychology students throughout Australia to support improved access to mental health services nationally that are both clinically and culturally appropriate, and which provide measurable outcomes for high-risk communities.

The Institute’s Merinda Dickson said they do not celebrate Australia Day. Instead, observing it as a day of mourning and an opportunity advocate for change. 

“While changing the date may not magically undo all of the historical impact, nor prevent the continued injustices for our Aboriginal Australians, it does demonstrate a willingness to acknowledge and value all the pain and suffering, and without this we cannot heal,” she said.

“We are so pleased to be joined by allies such as Global Creatures who walk with us on the path to healing.”

Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company develops contemporary Aboriginal productions with positive cultural messages to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities and audiences regionally, nationally and internationally.

Yirra Yaakin also offers a program of activities and events that encourage self-determination for Aboriginal people with the aim to empower Australia’s First Peoples, preserve their culture, and provide enlightenment to non-Indigenous people regarding Aboriginal culture and history.

Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company’s Maitland Schnaars said the special performance is a generous gesture from the producers, Global Creatures, The Regent Theatre, Ticketek and the whole team behind Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

“We all know that the invitation from the Uluru Statement of the Heart is still open,” she said.

“As Aboriginal people and theatre makers we are reminded that we never walk alone, and that the future is much brighter than the past. Only the arts can make society look at itself and think, reflect, and change for the better.”

Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Global Creatures thanks its production partners: The Regent Theatre, Ticketek, ACMN, Antix Management, Justin Sparrow Accounting, KLR Consulting, Martin Production, The Peach & Pineapple Co., Production Resource Group, Simple Motion and Theatre Safe Australia for also donating to The Westerman Jilya Institute and Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical will close its acclaimed Australian run on Sunday February 4, 2024.

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