Australian Defence Force members took to the stage last night in an Australian first, performing a new play with Sydney Theatre Company that reflects their personal experiences on Defence operations and the challenges they faced coming home.
The play, entitled The Long Way Home, is sponsored by Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley, and is a collaboration between the ADF and Sydney Theatre Company (STC).
“The Long Way Home tells the deeply moving story of Australian servicemen and women, the challenges they face and the sacrifices they and their families make. It is deeply emotive and a powerful reminder of the trauma of war,” General Hurley said.
Thirteen Army personnel, including 11 who have been wounded, injured or became ill in service performed in The Long Way Home alongside four professional actors.
During August and September 2013, these brave men and women openly shared their stories with Australian playwright, Daniel Keene at the STC. They are now taking those stories to the stage as part of a new program to support their rehabilitation and recovery.
“These servicemen and women have had the courage to share their stories with us. The Long Way Home is part of a program to assist their rehabilitation—their long journey—and it speaks for many who have shared similar experiences,” General Hurley said.
“I am very proud of the tremendous commitment they have given to this project. Their performances are incredibly moving. I am also very grateful to STC for the support they have provided our people and their professional skill in creating and staging The Long Way Home.”
Among the 1000 attendees at the official opening of The Long Way Home was the Governor General, the Honourable Quentin Bryce, AC, CVO; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, the Honourable Darren Chester; Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, AC, DSC; Chairman of the Board of STC Mr David Gonski; Patrons of The Long Way Home Corporal Ben Roberts Smith, VC, MG and acclaimed actor Jack Thompson, AM; along with senior parliamentarians and notable members of the arts and defence communities.
The Long Way Home is part of the official Centenary of Anzac program and provides an opportunity to honour the service and sacrifice of all those who have worn our nation’s uniform.
The Long Way Home will run until 15 February at Sydney Theatre in Walsh Bay before touring to Darwin, Brisbane, Wollongong, Townsville, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth until April 2014.
For more information, visit: www.sydneytheatre.com.au/longwayhometour.
Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/grid.fwx?ArchiveID=5003&Search=S20140221
Brigadier Alison Creagh, Director General ADF Theatre Project 0408 585 890