Westies project uses drama to explore issues which face young people from the
Arabic speaking community in Western Sydney on a day to day basis. Among these
issues are racism, the pursuit of multiculturalism and dealing with life in Australia
as second and third generation immigrants . The Westies project gives participants
an opportunity to use appropriate artforms to express themselves and address some
of the negative images which have been thrust upon this community, particularly
over the last 18 months.
project workshops will begin on April 22nd. The project will work around identified
themes as a way to access the participant's ideas eg. Car culture, sms phone messaging,
nightclubs, fashion, image and Hip Hop.
drama and creative writing workshops take place in April and May. The workshops
include Forum Theatre elements and result in the creation of the first draft of
a script. The writers continue to work on the script in July and August using
the website to feed back material to the participants and allowing the participants
to feedback their contributions to the writers. A completed second draft of the
script is presented in September. The filming of the script is done by television
professionals, camera operators and editors.
intensive video making workshop takes place in August, teaching participants the
technical aspects of video-making. This workshop gives them an insight into the
filming process and helps to prepare them for the gruelling shoot period.
A documentary which charts the progress of the writing/production process
is also completed in tandem with the drama. This documenary gives the audience
a chance to see the personal lives and everyday tribulations of the participants
in the project and sheds light on the sources for the creative work which evolves
in the drama, writing and filming stages of the project.
website is the communications hub for the project, enabling the interactive discussion
on the script development from those within the project and also further afield.
Drafts of the script are posted on the site for feedback as the project develops.
and participants in the project produce Web logs (known as Blogs) on the
Westies website which chronicle their experiences of the project and how it intersects
with what is happening in their life outside of the project.
participants in the Westies project are young people between the ages of 18 and
25 from the Sydney Arabic community. Participants may be employed, unemployed
or be full or part-time students. Experience of video-making, acting or writing
is not essential.
participants benefit through new skills in drama, communication and technical
knowledge. The community benefit through improved networks with arts and media
professionals and through validating the talents of its young people through their
participation in a successful, high quality arts project.
the end of the project an exit strategy is devised with the participants which
includes practical workshops and follow up interviews to advise them on how to
develop their new skills and to assist them in their arts careers.
of the artists involved in the project are Enda Murray, TJ Eckleberg, Claudia
Chidiac, Patrick Abboud, Melissa Cooper, Lamia Dabboussy, Monique Potts, Brian
Rapsey, and Cinzia Guaraldi. Artists bios can be found on the about
has received funding from the Australia Council , the NSW Ministry for the Arts
and Metro Screen.