Saari Frochot-Chauhan, Elliot Gale

The play, The Belly Dancer, is an exciting cultural event which has been supported by The Capital’s performance subsidy for both its development and production phases.

Tripwire Theatre, which is producing the play, was also awarded the inaugural Performing Arts Power-Up Grant from the Ulumbarra Foundation and is a recipient of the City of Greater Bendigo’s Community Grants program.

The funds have enabled a thorough development process for a new, one-hour, one act play which has been almost two years in the making.

Written by Megan Riedl and Jacob Honeychurch, the play centres around the relationship between a young girl, Sophie, who is fascinated by belly dancing and her older neighbour, Rubina, who teaches her to dance.

“Bellydancing becomes a metaphor for power and a symbol of the control that Sophie has of her own body,” Ms Riedl said.

“Both Jacob and I witnessed domestic violence when we were young, so we had an understanding of the issue.

“The play draws parallels between personal violence which is conducted by a perpetrator and the public violence that both Jacob and myself witnessed when in 2015, Bendigo was the epicentre of anti-Muslim protests.”    

Tripwire consulted closely with Annie North Inc and members of the local Islamic Community to develop the themes in the script.

The play will be directed by Alise Amarant, owner of Bendigo drama school Props Theatre.

The cast of three are Saari Frochot-Chauhan, the owner of local dance studio Z Fit Studios; Elliot Gale, a Maryborough-based graduate from Federation University Arts Academy and Iranian-born Melbourne-based actor Marjan Maleki.

The performance season includes two shows with a panel Q&A, aimed at groups from community or business who wish to promote conversation within their organisations about domestic violence and diversity.

Tickets are on sale now online or from The Capital box office.

– Dianne Dempsey